First Stage Assessment in Online Higher Education


Assessment is a central feature of any higher education curriculum. Assessment broadens student learning, permits judgement about the standard of student work, and provides the means for certification. Yet not all assessment is, nor should be considered through the same lens. Well-designed first year assessment should facilitate first year students in the transition to higher education among other things. First-year assessment in higher education should be considered and managed discretely. With this said the distinctions between good first stage assessment, and good first stage assessment in an online environment are somewhat, but not entirely, analogous. In this way first stage assessment in an online higher education environment might be considered as – same, same but different. This paper draws on Nicol’s (2009) seminal work on first year assessment and Carless’ (2015) learning-orientated assessment, augmenting this for application in online higher education. This paper is firmly based on the literature, as well as informed by practice and is intended to provide academics and learning designers with a reference point so that the design and implementation of first year online assessment in higher education, can, as it should, influence student success.


Online Learning, First Stage Assessment, Higher Education


Learning in Higher Education


Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


  • Jay Cohen
    • Associate Professor - Online Learning Design, Department of Learning and Teaching, Charles Sturt University, Australia Australia