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10 Types of Alternative Assessments

While faculty continue to maneuver through the pandemic to ensure that students are retaining the content being taught, alternative assessment has become a staple in conversations as being a category of consideration for the classroom. Student learning can be demonstrated through many different but equitable assessment methods. In considering an alternative to an existing assessment, faculty may need to consider alternative assessment strategies with respect to end-of-semester formal exams and/or continuous assessments.

These strategies could be considered as an online alternative to assessments that would generally be carried out in class and/or through face-to-face interaction. They could also be used as an alternative to the end-of-semester exam subject to clear alignment of the assessment task to the module learning outcomes. has provided the most common examples of alternative assessment, those being: 


You have the opportunity to monitor the process or situation.

Teacher Observation in Student Assessment – QCAA


Essays can give freedom from rote answers and you can even get more creative than the 5 paragraph essay.

Article about using essays in second-language writing from Jans Massa, CUNY


Explore some success examples of interview assignments and assessments from faculty right here at Meredith College!

Performance tasks

Performance-based assessments typically consist of tasks designed to have students actively solve problems and apply knowledge. One purpose is to observe the strategies that students use to solve problems rather than merely seeing the right answer asked for on a test.

Sample performance task – York College

Exhibitions and demonstrations

“Exhibitions are public demonstrations of mastery that occur at culminating moments, such as at the conclusion of a unit of study, the transition from one level of schooling to the next, and graduation. Exhibitions require students to speak publicly, use evidence, present engaging visual displays, and otherwise demonstrate mastery to educators, peers, and others from outside the everyday school community. Some exhibitions might be considered extended performance tasks in that they require students to actively synthesize and apply course content in an original expression of individual achievement.” – Jill Davidson, Exhibitions: Connecting Classroom Assessment with Culminating Demonstrations of Mastery

Honors College Research Exhibition, George Mason University
Students hosted and attended an exhibition then used this as a stimulus for a reflection question and second assignment. Sha Tin College, Hong Kong


Brightspace has a built in ePortfolio tool that makes this assessment option easier.

The Meredith Dietetic Internship Course uses portfolios regularly and you can check out an example here.


Used to document students evolving learning process and understand of course material.

Journaling as an Assessment Option (article) – Alisa James, The College at Brockport: State University of New York

Benefits of Course Journaling – Zachary Nowak and Reed Knappe, Inside Higher Ed

Teacher-created tests

These are custom created assessments that fit your course and learning goals.

Teacher-Created Student Growth Assessments Used For Teacher Evaluation And The Effects On Teacher Efficacy – Perry A. Finch, National Louis University


Criteria that is more detailed that a single grade and can be applied across many types of submissions.

Student blog rubric – University of Wisconsin

student blog rubric example University of Wisconsin

Self- and peer-evaluation

Allow the students to provide feedback on their own work or that of their peers.

Peer assessment case studies and examples – McGill University

Regardless of the strategy chosen, always remember that the goal for alternative assessment focuses on your student’s progress throughout the duration of the course. Keeping this in mind will allow faculty to foster meaningful and joyful engagement in learning, promote mastery of new concepts and skills, and support healthy, balanced students.

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