6. Define Your Assessment

Type of Assessment

In defining your assessment, one thing you should have in mind is the sort of assessment you are planning for. Here are three possibilities:

  • A formative assessment is used to provide ongoing feedback and guidance to your students as they are learning a concept. They may or may not be graded.
  • A summative assessment is used at the end of a unit or course to evaluate whether students achieved the desired objectives. These are usually graded.
  • A combination of both formative and summative assessments that balance the process and product of learning. This is usually scaffolded, meaning that students are guided to complete the assessment in steps and provided low stakes feedback along the way so that their final submission can respond to the feedback and capture their performance.

Your Assessment

It’s time to combine the previous things you have explored: the course learning objective(s) that you want the assessment to evaluate, the alternative assessments that caught your interest, and how GenAI may assist students in completing the task to define your assessment.

You can think of those three components in the following way:

  • The learning objective is the WHY (the goal);
  • The alternative assessment is the WHAT (the deliverable format);
  • The GenAI integration is the HOW (the task or data that must be integrated in the deliverable).

At this point, you want a general overview of the assessment – a description that is a couple of sentences. We will flesh out each component in later steps.

For example, consider a situation where your learning objective is for students to be able to tell apart what is science from other approaches to knowledge. The alternative assessment that caught your eye was a concept map because you want students to create links between concepts as they consider the characteristics of science knowledge. How might you integrate GenAI into this assignment? Here are a few options to consider:

  • Students give a GenAI chatbot the following prompt: “Give me a list of 25 words or concepts associated with scientific knowledge and process.” Students then must use the 25 words/concepts they are provided and arrange them into a coherent concept map that links concepts appropriately (to show their relationship).A student is working on a concept map
  • Students create a concept map of what science is and how science works. For each concept, students must add at least two examples. Students are invited to use a GenAI tool to research and evaluate examples. They are responsible for choosing illustrative ones that showcase the concept clearly and succinctly.
  • Students have to create a flowchart that another person could use to interrogate themselves as to whether a form of knowledge is scientific. The flowchart will ask Yes/No questions and, depending on the response, the flowchart helps the person identify the type of knowledge that they are starting with. Students can use ChatGPT or other GenAI tools to formulate the questions in their flowchart, but they are responsible for ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the whole flowchart.

Step 1: Divergent Thinking. Assembling those three components – learning objective(s), alternative assessment, and GenAI requires creativity. Begin your exercise by brainstorming as many assessment ideas as possible. Don’t shut down any ideas at this stage, just capture them, even if they are imperfect. If you are struggling, don’t forget that you can ask GenAI for help brainstorming ideas.

Step 2: Convergent Thinking. Once you have engaged in a good brainstorming session, you need to refine your list of ideas. Here are some criteria to use:

  • Review your list with an eye to the learning objective(s). In fact, consider the alignment of the learning objective(s), the alternative assessment, and the use of GenAi in this assessment. Some of your ideas will more directly align with your learning objective(s) than others. These are the ones you should continue to work with.
  • Consider the practicality of each idea. Perhaps they require tools, materials, or time that you do not have.
  • Review the ethics of using the GenAI for your idea. Does it require students to input personal information into the tool? Then maybe this isn’t the right activity. Does it teach students to cite sources appropriately? Then maybe this meets a digital literacy objective in addition to your target learning objective and is appropriate.


This is probably the hardest part of the process. If you want assistance, consider posting in the Forum: Brainstorming Sandbox. This is your sandbox to use how you see fit – consult your peers, brainstorm ideas, support one another. Your peers and your facilitators may have suggestions to help you.

If you need to consult them, remember the following resources:


Note: Images created using Bing Image Creator (August 2023)