ANU Lunch Vox - Testing Times: Exploring Assessment

ANU Lunch Vox series

Satisfy your midday appetite for conversations about critical issues in education and join the Centre for Learning & Teaching (CLT) for the next session of ANU Lunch Vox – a webinar series that brings together a panel of local voices to dissect and debate the hot topics in teaching and learning.

This Lunch Vox session is titled: Testing Times: Exploring Assessment

We could start a conversation about ‘assessment’ by making reference to TEQSA’s (Tertiary Education Quality and Standard Agency) guide notes on Course Design (including Learning Outcomes and assessment). That line of thought would lead to a regulatory statement suggesting “insufficient diligence in selecting methods of assessment may result in invalid or otherwise unreliable assessment, to the extent that students may graduate who have not in fact achieved the learning outcomes of the course”. True as that might be, there may be better ways to approach the topic of Assessment in Testing Times. So let’s start again.

Our own first-semester survey of student wellbeing and remote learning (SWiRL) positioned ‘assessment’ as a critical factor in how students rate the quality of their learning experiences at ANU: getting remote assessment right is a signal teachers are adapting to the remote education context and gives the coursework student community confidence in the quality of their education. 

In the context of ‘extraordinary times’ we know students face situational challenges requiring their teacher’s reasonable adjustment of standard procedures. In the mix of accommodations, student feedback suggests that the wide variety of remote adaptations need to be implemented consistently if the integrity of assessment results is to be trusted – as fair and truthful. 

As recently as January 2020, members of the ANU education community were engaging in pre-COVID conversations about contemporary assessment practices. At that time, the Coffee Course discussion was mulling over the potential of formative assessment to redistribute the weighty-burden of end-of-term summative assessments. Their focus was ‘contemporary developments in ‘assessment for learning’; and some of the challenges and issues experienced by tertiary educators’.

Jump forward a year, it’s 2021, are the challenges essentially the same or fundamentally different? Do we really need to take extraordinary measures to meet extraordinary times? To answer this question, can we look to advances in assessment design that have taken place over recent decades? What do these recent developments have to offer in terms of adapting to changed teaching and learning environments? 

We know that learning experience should have a purposeful line of sight to learning outcomes. Through constructive alignment, that relationship is best expressed using assessment approaches that students consider meaningful and relevant. Has COVID-19 interrupted that line of sight; and if so, how should we respond?


Our panel members are drawn from different corners of the ANU community. They all have experience transitioning to remote learning in semester one, and have a wealth of anecdotes, reflections, and questions for us to ponder and deconstruct.

Associate Professor Roald Maliangkaij(ANU College of Asia & the Pacific)

Professor David Stern (ANU College of Asia & the Pacific)

Associate Professor Krisztina Valter (ANU College of Health & Medicine)

Dr Patrick L'Espoir Decosta (ANU College of Business and Economics)

Associate Professor Cate Frieman (ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences)



There will be opportunities for you to share your voice through a Q&A session with the panellists, after all, what’s a Lunch Vox without hearing from everyone? Reserve your seat at the table now.

We’ve prepared some prompts for anyone needing ideas to start with:

  1. How can we best support students with remote assessments?
  2. What are the biggest challenges to designing and administering assessments in remote/multimode environments?
  3. What assessment strategies signal a course is adapting well to remote learning & teaching?

Join the Conversation

Do you have some ideas to contribute to this topic? Why not add it to the Testing Times: Exploring Assessment padlet, so we can keep the conversation going in the ANU community.

Vox Pop

We encourage the ANU community to participate in the webinar by submitting a short video question on this month's topic (30 seconds max). Mobile phone videos or Zoom recordings are requested. Check these example videos for tips with mobile phones and with Zoom recording. Vox Poppers are requested to face the camera and introduce themselves before recording a question for the panel.

Send by 10am Wednesday 21 October to, or via ANU Cloudstor or WeTransfer. Submission of content does not guarantee inclusion during the live event. Your question may also be added to the monthly padlet board to continue the conversation.


Event schedule

The event will be held on Zoom and will run for around one hour.

12:15pm - Event starts
12:20pm - MC and Panellist introduction
12:25pm - Panellist chat (5 minutes each)
12:45pm - Discussion and open Q&A
1:15pm - Event ends

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