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CEE Assessment@JCU Assessment Methods

Assessment Methods

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Procedures:

  1. Every subject learning outcome must be assured through assessment.
  2. Assessment methods within each subject must be the same across study modes and campuses, and have equivalent subject learning outcomes, weightings, and workload.
  3. Assessment methods are purposeful and varied, and selected from written or oral, product/performance/presentation, or participation, or multi-method, or other, to reflect the subject learning outcomes, discipline and student needs, and levels of engagement.

Assessment methods list

Provides descriptions of each assessment method and this list is also a part of the JCU Subject Outline Template.

It is important to note that this list of assessment methods is not exhaustive and, while it has been provided to promote shared understanding, there may be some variation in definition according to discipline and/or context.


An abstract is a concise summary of a scholarly output, such as a research article, thesis, project report, review or conference proceeding. It outlines the content and scope of the research, its purpose and significance, methodology and findings, conclusions and/or intended results. An abstract typically comprises one paragraph of 300 words or less and appears at the beginning of a manuscript, acting as the point-of-entry for the reader.

Action plan

An action plan documents detailed action steps that must be taken in order to achieve one or more goals. Its purpose is to outline a series of specific tasks, how they will be undertaken, staff responsible for their completion, associated timelines and requisite resources and funding.

Annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical listing of the available research on a topic. For each source, there is the citation (i.e., the reference) followed by descriptive and evaluative detail (i.e., the annotation). The annotation provides a summary/synthesis of key themes and findings, and an evaluation of the quality of the source and its relevance and value in terms of the research question. An annotated bibliography may be a component of a larger research project or a stand-alone assignment.


A set of instructions which require a specific written response, including evidence-based recommendations. A creative brief/marketing brief outlines the strategy and goals of a project.

Briefing paper

A briefing paper succinctly outlines a particular issue and its background, usually for a committee, policy makers, government officials etc. It recommends improvements and proposes solutions based on evidence and concise argument. A briefing paper may be approximately four pages in length.

Business plan

A business plan is a written document that describes in detail how a business, usually a new one, is going to achieve its goals. A business plan lays out a written plan from a marketing, financial and operational viewpoint. Sometimes, a business plan is prepared for an established business that is moving in a new direction.

Case notes

Depending on the disciplinary context, a case note may be: (in law) a summary and analysis of the facts of a legal case, especially to illustrate or debate some aspect of law; (in clinical practice) a record of the condition or treatment of a patient or client receiving medical or health related attention; (in social work) a chronological record of interactions, observations and actions, relating to a particular client.

Case report

(in medicine) A case report is a detailed report of the demographic profile, symptoms, signs, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of an individual patient.

Case study analysis

A case study analysis involves students assessing the details of a realistic and often complex case, in order to try and understand what has happened and why, or to identify the major problems that exist and recommend solutions to these problems.

(in business) A case study is a description of an administrative situation, wherein students may be required to assume the role of the manager and engage in processes that include defining the issue(s), analysing the case data, generating alternative solutions, identifying decision criteria, evaluating alternatives, selecting the preferred solution, and developing an action/implementation plan.

Client report

The written presentation of results/performance to a specific audience.

Concept map

A concept map is a diagram that depicts the most important concepts and relationships relating to a particular focus/topic. The map encloses the concepts in circles or boxes and indicates relationships between them by connecting lines or arrows. Words on the lines/arrows, referred to as linking words or phrases (such as causes, requires, or contributes to) specify the relationship between the concepts. Concepts are represented in a hierarchical fashion, typically with the most inclusive/general concepts at the top of the map and the more specific concepts arranged hierarchically below.

Critical appraisal/review

A critical appraisal presents findings from a systematic process used to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a research article. The most important components of a critical appraisal are an evaluation of the appropriateness of the study design, in relation to the research question, and of the key methodological features of the design, so as to assess the usefulness and validity of the research findings.

A critical review is a type of essay wherein the quality of a research article, an artwork or some other type of work is evaluated.

(of a text) Students may be required to synthesise key themes of the text and evaluate the strength of the author’s arguments, interpretations, and conclusions, based on the evidence presented and with reference to other literature, identifying potential biases and/or limitations in scope.

(of an artwork) Students may be required to assess the quality of the work, identifying flaws/problems with the work, proposing alternative approaches, and/or defending the work against the critiques of others.

Critical incident analysis

Critical incident analysis involves focusing on an event, including analysing the circumstances surrounding it, the actions of those involved, responses to the event and the outcomes. The result should be a better understanding of how practice can be improved.


A dilemma is a situation in which the student must choose between courses of action and no matter what choice of action is taken, some ethical principle will be compromised or transgressed. [Ethical principles are standards that are used by members of a profession or group to determine the right course of action in a situation].


An eBook is a book consisting of text, images, or both, composed in or converted to digital format for display on a computer screen or handheld device. Students may be required to author or co-author an interactive eBook. An interactive eBook may use videos, three-dimensional diagrams, interactive infographics, animation, text mark-ups and/or quizzes.


An ePoster is intended to display information in an innovative way that is not possible with a traditional printed poster. Information is communicated by embedding multimedia content, along with static elements, such as titles, logos, and summaries. Examples of dynamic visual elements include videos, slideshows, animated charts, and graphs, scrolling text and three dimensional rotations of models.

Educational resource

An evidence-based report on written materials/resources needed for effective teaching in different situations and disciplines. It can also involve the development of a new resource or approach.


An essay is a short literary composition on a particular theme or subject, typically comprising an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction orients the reader to the author’s position or thesis and the essay’s key themes, scope, and organisational structure. In the body of the essay, the author’s argument or response is developed and substantiated by way of logical reasoning and reference to authoritative sources and/or research data. The conclusion provides a synthesis of the position taken and key supporting evidence and may outline implications of the findings, limitations of the essay’s scope and recommendations for future research or practice.

Examination (centrally administered)

An assessment of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, in a pre-determined, in a restricted time span under invigilated conditions. A centrally administered examination can use any Examination method as listed below and occurs in the official examination period at the end of the study period as published in the Academic calendars

Examination (on course)

An on course examination is an assessment of students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, which is administered by a College.

Examination methods:

Online Exam

  1. Online LearnJCU exam This is an online exam run in LearnJCU using the “test” tool. This exam has a single specified start time, a specified duration, and must be completed in a single attempt. Students will answer questions directly in the LearnJCU test response boxes and/or upload files to the LearnJCU test or submission portal/dropbox.

  2. Online Respondus exam This is an online exam run in LearnJCU using the “test” tool and Respondus Lockdown Browser. This exam has a single specified start time, a specified duration, and must be completed in a single attempt. Students will answer questions directly in the LearnJCU test response boxes.

  3. On-campus online Respondus exam This is an online exam run in LearnJCU using the “test” tool and Respondus Lockdown Browser, that is sat on-campus with in-person invigilation. This exam has a single specified start time, a specified duration, and must be completed in a single attempt. Students will answer questions directly in the LearnJCU test response boxes.

  4. Online Respondus exam with Monitor This is an online exam run in LearnJCU using the “test” tool and Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor. This exam has a single specified start time, a specified duration, and must be completed in a single attempt. Students will answer questions directly in the LearnJCU test response boxes.

  5. Online oral exam This is an online oral exam run in LearnJCU using Collaborate with individual students. This exam has a single specified start time for each student, a specified duration, and must be completed in a single attempt. Students will verbally respond to questions that are posed verbally or in writing.

Field notes

Field notes are recorded during or after students’ observations of a specific phenomenon during field work. Field notes may also include sketches, diagrams, and other drawings.

Field report

A field report consists of a description of what has been seen or observed in the field and an analysis of the observations in light of theoretical frameworks or principles.

(in science) A field report may present the purpose of field experiments, their location, methodologies, results, interpretations and conclusions.

(in social sciences) A field report may present observations of people, places and/or events and analyses of that observation data, in order to identify and categorize common themes, in relation to the research problem or question.

Job application

A job application usually includes submission of a cover letter, curriculum vitae/resume and response to selection criteria. A cover letter explains the applicant's credentials and interest in the position. A curriculum vitae outlines the applicant’s education, qualifications, and previous employment history. A selection criteria statement comprises succinct responses to each of the selection criteria i.e. how the applicant possesses the particular knowledge, attributes, qualifications, and experience needed to successfully carry out the job.


A journal is a record of occurrences, experiences and/or reflections kept on a regular basis.

Journal article

A journal article is written by scholars or professionals, who are experts in their fields, with the purpose of presenting new research or critiquing existing research. It is typically reviewed by independent peers, who evaluate the quality of the scholarship, reliability of findings, relevance to the field and/or appropriateness for the journal.

Lab/Practical report

A laboratory report is written in the format of the traditional scientific report. Depending on the type of laboratory task or scientific research investigation, the sections of the report may vary and include title, abstract, aims and hypotheses, introduction, materials and methods, results, discussion, references, and appendices.

Learning plan

The creation of an action plan which outlines learning and development activities. It can be applied to any discipline.

Lesson plan

The development of a plan which outlines what students/school children/professionals are expected to learn, how the learning will take place, and how that learning will be measured. It can be applied to any discipline.


A letter is a written or printed communication addressed to a person or organisation. A memorandum is a short note designating something to be remembered, especially something to be done or acted upon in the future. Depending on the disciplinary context, a memorandum may be: (in law) a short document outlining the terms of an agreement, especially as a draft leading to a formal, detailed contract; (in diplomacy) a brief, unsigned diplomatic communication, including a summary of the state of an issue and the reasons for decisions agreed upon; (in business) an informal message, especially one sent between two or more employees of the same company, concerning company business.

Literature review

A literature review is a critical assessment of a body of research, related to a particular research question/focus. All works included in the review are read, evaluated and analysed (as is the case for an annotated bibliography), and relationships between the literature are identified and articulated, with respect to the research question. A literature review may be incorporated into an article, thesis, research report or project report or may be a stand-alone assignment.

Log/log book

A log is an official documentation of activities or events in a systematic record (e.g. daily or hourly basis).


A manual is a small handbook that provides practical instructions on how to implement, do or use something.

Media article

A written media article usually requires students to produce non-fiction copy that is well-researched and objective. Media articles can also include press releases, and subjective texts such as advertorials and opinion pieces.

Medication calculation

A medication calculation examination requires students to undertake accurate and quick drug calculations, under invigilated conditions.


Minutes are permanent, formal, and detailed (although not a verbatim) record of resolutions adopted or business transacted at an official meeting. Once written up and approved at the next meeting, the minutes are accepted as a true representation of proceedings.

Peer assessment

Peer assessment is the evaluation of students' work by other students of equal status, against a predetermined set of criteria.

Peer review

Peer review is the evaluation of students' work by other students of equal status, against a predetermined set of criteria. Peer review may be undertaken in the context of group assessment. Typically, group members assess the performance of their peers in terms of their contribution to group processes and submitted work.


A research poster summarises research concisely and attractively in order to publicise it and generate discussion. It is usually a combination of text and tables, graphs, pictures and other presentation formats. At a conference, the researcher stands by the poster display while other participants view the poster and interact with the author.

Problem task

A problem task requires students to engage in processes wherein they identify or respond to a problem, collect relevant information and data, identify the cause, generate possible solutions, appraise the best solution, plan for implementation and, where possible, implement and evaluate.

Project plan

A project plan presents an overview of the project, its aims and objectives, stakeholders, scheduled activities, resources, timelines and opportunities for dissemination, reflection and evaluation. It may be a plan for a capstone or service learning project.

(in business) A project plan is a formal, approved document used to guide both project execution and project control. The key purposes of the project plan are to outline planning assumptions and decisions, facilitate communication among project stakeholders, and document approved scope, cost and schedule baselines.

Project report

A project report typically presents an overview of the project, its aims and objectives, activities, outcomes conclusions, reflections, and evaluation.


A research proposal is a concise and coherent summary of a proposed research project. It outlines the central research problem or question with reference to the existing evidence base, significance and limitations, research methodology and anticipated outcomes and impacts.

A research protocol is a predefined, written procedural method in the design and implementation of experiments. A protocol is written whenever it is desirable to standardise a laboratory method to ensure successful replication of results by others in the same laboratory or by other laboratories.

A clinical research protocol explains the purpose and function of a clinical study, as well as how to carry it out. It details the reason for the study, the number of participants, inclusion and exclusion criteria, details of the intervention or therapy that the participants will receive (e.g. frequency and dosages), what data will be gathered, steps for clinical caregivers to carry out, and the study endpoints.

A biosafety proposal outlines a formal plan to utilise techniques and equipment in order to maintain safe conditions in research, preventing personal, laboratory and environmental exposure to potentially infectious agents or biohazards.

An ethics proposal provides details relating to a research project, including background and significance, aims, methodology and data collection techniques, data retention and storage, funding sources, roles and expertise of investigators, research participants (e.g., recruitment, consent, confidentiality) and/or use of animals (e.g., housing, care and husbandry).

A grant proposal is a formal document submitted to a government department, corporation, foundation or trust, which proposes a research project and constitutes a request for funding. It outlines details relating to a research project, including aims, significance, methodology, research team, anticipated outcomes and impacts, budgetary requirements, timelines for deliverables and/or evaluation measures.

Reflection/reflective task

A reflection or reflective task typically requires students to describe and critically analyse professional experiences or practice, in light of theoretical literature or available evidence, with a view to enhancement of future practice.

Research report

A research report is a structured document designed so readers are able to readily extract information about the aims and significance, methodology, findings, and conclusions of a research project. It describes the research methodology in sufficient detail for it to be verified by others and presents the research questions, interpretations of results, conclusions, and recommendations, in the context of related work in the field.

Self-reflection task

Self-assessment or self-reflection can serve as a powerful meta-cognitive tool. It engages students in the learning process, developing their capacity to critically evaluate their own work, against a predetermined set of criteria.

Technical report

A technical report is used in industry to communicate technical information and research about technical concepts, as well as graphical depictions of designs and data. This information assists in decision making (e.g. in the purchase of equipment or finding solutions to technical problems). An important consideration when preparing technical reports is the audience and purpose of the report (e.g. to brief managers or to provide technical background information for lay people associated with the project). These factors determine the degree of technicality of the language and concepts involved. At university, technical report writing is frequently used in faculties of engineering and in the applied sciences.


A short test or quiz taken face-to-face or online. It can have yes/no answers, true/false questions, multiple choice, extended matching questions, key feature questions, problems/computational questions, and short or long (extended) answer questions.


A thesis or dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification, presenting the research purpose and significance, review of the literature, research methodology, results, discussion and conclusion.

Tutorial task

A tutorial preparation task requires students to undertake some orienting/preliminary activities, in order to most effectively engage in the active, hands-on, peer-to-peer and independent learning opportunities, within the tutorial program.


A workbook may contain exercises, problems, and practice material to clarify and reinforce knowledge and skills within a subject of study.


A debate is a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.

Elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is very short presentation of a product or a company, with the aim of providing clarity or attracting attention.

Guided discussion

A guided discussion may require students to facilitate engagement of their peers in an interactive process of sharing their understanding, perspectives, and experiences, related to achieving an instructional objective.


An interview is a formal meeting in which one or more persons question, consult or evaluate the interviewee. Students may be required to assume the role of interviewer or interviewee.

Oral defence

A method that is used to clarify and discuss an assessment item to facilitate understanding from an examiner/subject coordinator, or supervisor. An oral defence in a thesis is used to make recommendations as to progression/awards.

Oral exam - Online

This is an online oral exam run in LearnJCU using Collaborate with individual students. This exam has a single specified start time for each student, a specified duration, and must be completed in a single attempt. Students will verbally respond to questions that are posed verbally or in writing.

Presentation – in-class

An in-class presentation is the delivery of a formal address to an audience of peers. A Pecha Kucha (Japanese for ‘sound of conversation/chit-chat/chatter’) is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (6 minutes and 40 seconds in total). The images advance automatically while the student presents to the audience. This format keeps presentations concise and fast-paced.

A video presentation may require students to present to camera or capture real life movements and interactions complemented by an audio commentary. Students are able to capture video on mobile devices.

A narrated slideshow includes an audio recording synchronised to slide images. The narration can be directly recorded into PowerPoint. A digital story is similar to a narrated slideshow. It usually runs for a short duration (e.g. 3-5 minutes) and utilises a script (e.g., 300-400 words) that is complemented by still photographs (e.g., 10-15 images). The narration and still images enhance each other to convey meaning.


A podcast is a creative audio (or video = vodcast) digital broadcast which requires students to analyse storytelling and broadcasting techniques and then publish their own work online.


A viva voce is typically a defence of a thesis or another project conducted by an oral examination. (In healthcare sciences) A viva voce may require students to respond orally to questioning based on a specified case scenario.

    Clinical assessment

    A clinical assessment is an evaluation of a patient's physical condition and prognosis based on information gathered from physical and laboratory examinations and the patient's medical history.

    Clinical evaluation exercise (CEX)

    A clinical evaluation exercise is an exam format that involves a relatively long, pre-planned single patient encounter in a clinical setting. A clinician observes the student taking a history and performing a physical examination. The student presents the findings and decides on the diagnosis and the treatment plan. Additionally, a written patient report is produced. The examiner gives feedback.

    Clinical placement performance

    A clinical placement experience is undertaken in a clinical workplace or community context and affords students the opportunity to integrate theory with the practice of clinical work. Clinical placements are typically aligned with professional standards that are developed and assured over the duration a course. Both the academic supervisor and professional/industry supervisor may contribute to assessment of students’ performance throughout the clinical placement experience. The clinical placement performance assessment may comprise a variety of elements such as level of attainment of clinical and professional competencies, attainment of specific clinical placement hours, completion of reflective tasks and evaluations.

    Creative performance

    A creative performance is an enacted, real-time performance event of creative work in which there is the physical co-presence of performer and audience.

    Creative work

    A creative work is an original work – a tangible product of creative effort. A recorded or rendered creative work is an original work presented through a recording or rendering medium.

    Directly Observed Procedural Skills (DOPS)

    Directly Observed Procedural Skills (DOPS), also referred to as Direct Observation of Procedural Skills or clinical skill competency, is designed specifically to assess practical skills in a workplace setting. A student is observed and scored by an assessor while performing a routine practical procedure during normal clinical work. The assessor uses a standard DOPS form to score the technique. For any particular skill, the student has to pass one or a number of assessments to be signed off as competent at that skill.


    An exhibition is a curated or produced exhibition or event, which involves an organised presentation and display of a selection of items.

    Internship performance

    An internship is a carefully monitored work experience in which interns are afforded the opportunity to integrate theory with the practice of work. Interns work for a fixed period of time, usually three to six months. Intended learning outcomes and associated activities may be articulated in a work plan.

    Manufactured component

    A manufactured component is an individual part, with a view to manufacturing others to the same specifications.

    Mini-clinical evaluation exercise (mini-CEX)

    The mini-CEX is designed to assess students’ clinical competencies and facilitate feedback to drive learning. It involves an assessor/supervisor observing the student interact with a patient, in an unrehearsed clinical encounter. The assessor’s evaluation is typically recorded on a structured checklist, which enables immediate provision of feedback to the student. The mini-CEX is used for both formative and summative assessment purposes.


    (conceptual) A model is a representation of an event, theoretical position or phenomenon.

    (physical) A model is a three-dimensional representation of an object or proposed structure, typically on a smaller scale than the original.

    (in science) A model is a systematic description of an object or phenomenon that shares important characteristics with the object or phenomenon. Scientific models can be material, visual, mathematical or computational and are often used in the construction of scientific theories.

    Mooting/moot court

    A moot court involves law students taking part in simulated court proceedings, drafting memorials or memoranda and participating in oral argument.

    Multi-media production

    A multi/blended media production involves a narration or audio file that is enhanced by an integration of still images, slow moving images (‘slowmation’) and/or video (fast moving images).

    Multi-station Assessment Task (MSAT)

    A Multi-Station Assessment Task (MSAT) requires students to demonstrate core clinical competencies to examiners across a series of tasks.

    Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

    An Objective Structured Clinical Examination involves students moving around multiple mini-stations in sequence, completing a variety of tasks that test a range of skills. The student reads the scenario, then enters the station and undertakes the task. The task is of typically short duration.


    A portfolio is a collection of evidence of students’ learning and achievement. Evidence may include written samples, photos, videos, project artefacts, observations/assessments by mentors and peers, and personal reflections, regarding why particular artefacts were chosen and what was learnt. e-Portfolios can be maintained dynamically over time.

    Practical assessment/practical skills demonstration

    The practical assessment, or ‘Spot’ test, involves students moving around a series of stations consisting of, for example, a specimen, a labelled dissection or radiograph. The response to the station activity may be a one word answer or require some level of deduction or diagnostic skill.

    Professional placement performance

    A placement experience is undertaken in a workplace or community context and affords students the opportunity to integrate theory with the practice of work. Professional experience placements are typically aligned with professional standards that are developed and assured over the duration a course. Both the academic supervisor and professional/industry supervisor may contribute to assessment of students’ performance in placements/professional experience.


    A prototype is a first or preliminary version of a device or vehicle from which other forms are developed.

    (in software development) A prototype is a rudimentary working model of a product or information system, usually built for demonstration purposes or as part of the development process.


    A role play requires students to assume the attitudes, actions, and discourses of others, in adopted roles, in an effort to understand differing points of view or social interactions.

    Scenario-based learning activity

    A scenario-based learning activity involves students working through a real-world scenario or storyline, usually based around an ill-structured or complex problem, which they are required to solve. In the process, students are required to apply their knowledge and critical thinking and problem solving skills. Scenario-based learning is often non-linear and can provide numerous feedback opportunities to students, based on the decisions they make at each stage in the process. Scenario-based learning may be self-contained, in that completing the scenario is the entire task, or it may be the first part of a larger assessment item.

    Simulation activity

    A simulation activity is an action within a model or reproduction of a workplace or other real world environment.

    Software development/creation

    Software comprises the programs, programming languages and data, which direct the operations of a computer system.

    Website development/creation

    An assessment method where students develop/create webpages, websites, web apps., e-business services and social network services.

Class participation

Class participation involves demonstrating a grasp on a topic and its application through active participation in in-class activities; for example, debate or discussion.


Observations involve the active acquisition of information from a primary source through the senses or scientific tools and instruments. Observations may comprise data recorded during an experiment or assessment.

Online participation

A discussion forum is organised into topics by 'threads'. Students may be required to start a thread on a topic of their choosing or reply to a discussion taking place.

The Subject Outline is used to indicate if multiple methods are to be used for assessment, what these multiple methods are, and the weighting applied to each component.

A multi-method assessment, for example, could include a written method and an oral assessment method.

The approach to group work assessment must be clearly communicated to students in the Subject Outline.

Group work may be assessed by giving the same mark for each group member, or by the combination of a whole group mark and an individual component.

Students must be provided with plans for alternative individual assessment where a Subject Coordinator has agreed the group will be disbanded.

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Feedback on assessment

Learning, Teaching and Assessment Procedures:

  1. Feedback, in formative and summative forms, is clear, explanatory and diagnostic, and focusses on students improving their practice in order to achieve learning outcomes.
  2. Feedback on assessment items must be consistent with the criteria and scales published in the Subject Outline, and outlined in the rubric.
  3. Feedback on assessment items is provided in a timely manner that is relevant to the length of a study period.
  4. Feedback may be delivered face-to-face, in hard copy, electronically, through self-assessment, peer-review or part of a group review.