Advanced Assessment Techniques in CCLE

CCLE - Advanced Assessment Techniques using the Moodle Quiz Tool

A Tiered Approach 

UCLA language programs have begun to use a tiered approach to assessment, where assessment is considered more as a overall package than just a specific individual activity. By matching smaller “micro” assessments directly with a specific learning objective or outcome, students work can be assessed in a clear, formative manner. Later, these “micro” assessments are combined with other assignments to create a full summative assessment of the student.

The steps include:

  1. Determine the learning objectives that are to be assessed.

  2. Determine the category (or categories) that will support each objective.

  3. Create the questions that will be used to assess the learner for each category.

  4. Create an assessment wireframe using the Quiz tool. Assessment types can include:

    1. Individual formative assessments per learning objective (an ungraded activity)

    2. Grouped assessments as a median summative exercise (such as a quiz)

    3. Tiered summative assessments (such as a midterm or final)

For example, a beginning foreign language course often has some predetermined vocabulary.  In this schema, a category such as “lang-1-week-1-vocab” is created, and a number of questions (say 10) are added to it.

During the first week of instruction, a simple formative activity (using the Quiz tool) is created, where the students are provided 5 random questions for their practice. Since this is intended as a simple learning exercise, they are allowed unlimited attempts until they are satisfied with their understanding of the material. By viewing the grade distribution for this discrete activity, the instructor can quickly determine if the class’s progress on this objective is as expected, or if more explanation is warranted.

Repeated on a weekly basis, we would end up with multiple categories (e.g. lang-1-week-2-vocab, lang-1-week-3-vocab, etc.), each of which is not only useful as its own activity, but can be combined into a cumulative quiz or midterm. For that larger assessment, questions from each category are resurfaced in a randomized format, requiring no more content creation effort by the instructor.

These categories become a simple wireframe within CCLE; no further updating is needed for future use unless you want to change the structure itself. This is because all of the questions are already in the question bank; if you want to add, remove, or change questions you can do so without changing any of the activities or assessments you’ve already created.

Scalability and Future proofing

Content creation requires a lot of effort and can seem overwhelming.  However, this can be approached in a scalable fashion. Once the category structure is designed, you can start with a minimal number of questions in each and simply add as time and effort permits. Even just adding two questions per term, your question bank will build quickly over time.

Furthermore, by having your content and questions carefully organized into defined categories, transferring them (such as into a new tool or system) is much easier,  and they can be saved offline as well.

Using importation tools

No one is going to suggest that creating questions in Moodle (CCLE) is an easy process. However, we’ve been working hard to find ways to make the question creation process as easy and as fast as possible.

Humanities Technology has created a Google Spreadsheet plugin called (QB)2 that allows for the easy creation of quiz questions and for importing them into CCLE. This tool significantly reduces the time and effort needed to create questions in different categories. Documentation for (QB)2 is available, and instructors can also contact Humanities Technology for assistance by e-mailing