Why Graded Assessment for Undergraduates During the COVID-19 Lockdown? An Experience Introspection

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Authors:
Abdullatif Alshamsi, Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Alex Zahavich, Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Samar El-Farra, Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Email: [email protected]
Published: April 2, 2021
https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.9.2.04

Citation: Alshamsi, A., Zahavich, A., & El-Farra, S. (2021). Why Graded Assessment for Undergraduates During the COVID-19 Lockdown? An Experience Introspection, 9(2). https://doi.org/10.22492/ije.9.2.04


Abstract

This paper presents a retrospective evaluation of the Higher Colleges of Technology’s student assessments during the COVID-19 lockdown, reflecting the justified decision to deploy graded assessments during the lockdown for students to academically progress and/or graduate on time, while maintaining the quality and rigor of academic awards. The outcome-based evaluation of this paper is intended to provide lessons for any future situations of this significance and magnitude. While online education was the obvious response to the pandemic, the provision of assessments was not possible without risk. Taking a high-stakes decision that would affect the future of thousands of students, for years to come, involved complex steps of reasoning and justification. Addressing the role of graded assessment in supporting institutional accountability and transferability of students’ achievements, student efficacy and informed pedagogy alterations were the main objectives. To meet those objectives, the Higher Colleges of Technology was able to deploy an off-campus student assessment model that builds upon three pillars of adjustments (assessment development and deployment; technology infrastructure; and governance resilience) to support students’ learning, while mitigating vulnerabilities. The evaluation of student performance indicators and stakeholders’ satisfaction rates revealed a successful deployment of off-campus assessment while maintaining the traditional conventions pertaining to evaluation of assessments.

Keywords

COVID-19, formative, online assessment, summative