Using Different e-Assessment Types

Alongside different question types, there are different forms of test for gauging student ability. Below we have outlined the various types of test that can be used in on screen tests. You can create and administer all of these test types in Surpass.

Types of Test  


Formative – A formative test is often used as an initial, practice test – it does not contribute to the final mark given for a subject, but serves to aid the student’s learning experience and comprehension of the subject by providing feedback. It should clearly lay out for the student what is good about their work and where the weaknesses are and how they can be worked upon. Effective formative feedback should help the student attain a stronger grade in a summative test. When creating a formative test in Surpass, you may wish to enable the feedback options in Test Creation.

Summative – A summative test will show the degree of a learner’s success in meeting the criteria (sometimes defined to the student in a rubric) and will contribute to the student’s final mark for that module or subject. This type of test is used to calculate and reward achievement. As a result, it is extremely important that summative tests are as valid and reliable as possible. When creating a summative test in Surpass, you will probably wish to use SecureClient lockdown mode.

Diagnostic – This test type aims to improve the learner’s experience and boost their accomplishment. It looks backwards by assessing where the student’s knowledge lies and which areas pose difficulties for them. It can be used before teaching to help the teacher understand which areas to focus on for particular students. You may find it useful to use tags and enable feedback options in Surpass so that the student can see the areas they are falling down on once they have completed a diagnostic test.

Dynamic – A dynamic test measures what the student knows and understands after being taught a new and unfamiliar subject. This can be useful to quickly get a sense of each student’s learning ability and speed, or to assess the general learning potential for students. It is often used before teaching to split students into classes appropriate to their abilities if needed. Please note that the meaning of dynamic tests here differs from the Dynamic Test option available in Test Creation.

Synoptic – Synoptic tests encourage students to combine aspects of their learning from different parts of a subject and to show what they know and understand of a topic or area. This enables students to show their ability to integrate and apply their knowledge and understanding with breadth and depth in the subject.

Criterion referenced – With this form of test, each student’s attainment is judged against set criteria. Usually, there will be no comparison with how other students have performed. You can attach this criteria, such as rubrics, in Surpass with the Attach Source Material button in Item Authoring.

Ipsative – This is a test taken so that the results can be compared with the student’s previous work, or their best work to date. Ipsative tests tend to correlate with effort to promote effort based attributions of success and to encourage and motivate the student to learn. When creating this test in Surpass, you may wish to include feedback pages so that the student can see at the end of the test how well they have performed on particular questions in comparison to their previous performance on that topic area.    


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