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Assessing more traditionnaly

The dictionary definition of tradition refers to the handing down of beliefs and customs, patterns of thought, action, or behaviour, from one generation to another. As far as evaluation is concerned, traditional processes remain dominant in the education landscape. When considering tradition as it relates to evaluation, the literature refers to practices that are primarily centered on teaching and rooted in a measurement approach. The traditional perspective on evaluation is normative, meaning that it essentially consists in interpreting a student’s results in comparison to a given group or an accepted threshold. It considers knowledge from a utilitarian point of view. Associated more with holding exams to assess the knowledge acquired (e.g., multiple-choice tests) and obtaining graded results, leading to a classification, this perspective favours the evaluation of knowledge that can be compartmentalized and is quantifiable. According to the Conseil supérieur de l’éducation du Québec, traditional evaluation practices serve, above all, to control situations and evaluative tasks.

In the context of our work here at OPIEVA, we understand tradition as assessment practices that correspond to the following characteristics:

1) Responsibility: The evaluations are designed and planned solely by the teacher, who is primarily responsible for them. The evaluative practices are consistent with the teacher’s beliefs about teaching and learning. They demonstrate the confidence they have in them, and the validity of the evaluation tools is never questioned. In this context, the student is entirely dependent on the teacher and experiences the assessment as a test.

2) The purposes of the evaluation: Traditionally, evaluation has essentially served to classify students and reward their efforts. The objectives and criteria, i.e., what the students must be able to do, are imprecise and not always communicated in advance. A traditional evaluation employs modalities that revolve around giving descriptive feedback along with the grade.

3) The purpose of the evaluation: Traditional evaluations are considered one-dimensional, in that their main purpose relates to the cognitive dimension of learning. They mainly focus on knowledge and the (visible) product of learning. Recognized as encouraging little student engagement, these practices use simple tasks and foster low-level cognitive abilities and so-called surface learning. The tasks and problems the students are given in an artificial academic context, i.e., detached from real-life situations.

4) Modalities: Factual observation and a concern for objectivity are at the heart of traditional evaluation modalities. Tests, objective assessments, and various quantitative processes are most commonly used, both individually and routinely. Everyone is subject to identical evaluation conditions, at distinct points of the learning process—most often at the end.

Bevitt (2015)
Conseil supérieur de l’éducation (2018)
Hétu (2019)
Marriott and Lau (2008)
Rey and Feyfant (2014)
Romainville, Goasdoué, and Vantourout (2013)
Scallon (2004)
Vial (2012)

Assessment in authentic situations

Authentic tasks refer to situations that mirror real life situations that students experience. They have not been artificially constructed for didactic or pedagogical purposes. A learning assessment is considered authentic when it presents the student with tasks that are realistic, meaningful, and motivating, and that help improve their understanding or enable them to solve problems that they may encounter in a future professional context using their knowledge, know-how, and interpersonal skills. In an authentic situation, the assessment tasks allow the teacher to measure complex performances that require cognitive investment from the student (e.g., applying knowledge to a real-life situation), which is something that an assessment tool such as a multiple-choice exam cannot provide.

Guy (2004)
Hivon (1993)
Nguyen, Blais (2007)
Tardif (2006)
Tardif (1993)
Wiggins (1998)

Assessment of a final production

The evaluation of final productions is related to the evaluation of all the learner has produced during his or her training. What is meant by product is the final observable result from the learner’s accomplishment of a complex task during a learning activity or a final evaluation. The product of an evaluation may take the form of a tangible and concrete production (for example, an argumentative text or a work of art) or of a unique performance (for example, a theatrical performance, an interview, or the management of an event). Regular evaluation of processes and discourse, as well as products, is recommended.

Côté (2014)

Assessment of the discourse

The discourse, in addition to the product and ans the process, constitute the one of the three dimensions on which the teacher’s professional judgement can be based to evaluate. In evaluating the discourse, the teacher is most interested in the learner’s remarks with regard to their learning. The teacher may question students, orally or in writing, on the learning they believe they have accomplished, but may also ask them to evaluate themselves (for example, on their strengths and weaknesses, and measures for improvement) or to situate themselves with respect to justifications, ideas, or solutions they have been offered when accomplishing the task. Thus, the learner’s remarks serve to show why and how he or she has taken certain decisions and to support, in a complementary fashion, the evaluation of the product or the process of his or her learning.

Côté (2014)

Assessment of the process

The process, in addition to the product and the discourse, constitute the principal dimensions on which the teacher’s professional judgement can be based at the time of evaluation. When evaluating the process, the teacher is interested in students’ learning process, their working methods, and their proposed attempts to find solutions, as well as in their errors.

Côté (2014)

Automation of digital tools

Automation consists in delegating the entire or partial execution of a task to a machine. In the context of a learning assessment, it entails using the automated features of digital tools at one or several stages of the evaluation process to reduce the teacher’s workload (e.g., creating teams, randomizing the order of questions on a test, correcting a multiple-choice exam).

Appiah and van Tonder (2018)
Larousse (n.d.)
Spivey and McMillan (2014)


Co-evaluation is defined as a process where a student and teacher engage in a dialogue in order to develop a shared understanding of what the student has learned. Interactions and negotiation are central elements of this process. They enable the student to explain what they understand in comparison with their teacher’s assessment in an effort to reach a consensus. As such, the evaluated becomes the evaluator. The evaluation responsibilities are shared and the student is asked to assess their own work. In this sense, co-evaluation and self-assessment go hand in hand, since the former is partly dependent on the student’s ability to self-assess. Co-evaluation therefore makes it possible to compare a student’s self-assessment against their perceptions of what they have or haven’t understood. By providing personalized feedback, co-evaluation also allows the student to feel heard, to have the opportunity to justify their work, and to develop a sense of fairness, equity, and a positive relationship with evaluation.

Allal (1999)
Dochy, Segers, and Sluijsmans (1999)
Durand and Chouinard (2012)
Quesada et al. (2019)

Collaboration in an assessment context

Merriam Webster defines collaboration as follows: “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavour.” Whether it applies to exchanging ideas and thoughts with peers, the concept of social interdependence, or leadership work, the definition of collaboration is still evolving. However, the literature includes a more generic definition of collaboration, made up of five distinct criteria, i.e., “(1) an evolutionary process (2) whereby two or more social entities (3) actively and reciprocally participate (4) in joint activities (5) aimed at achieving at least one common goal” (Raynault, 2018, p. 51). It differs from cooperation in that individual contributions are merged in the action without a priori role distribution. Collaboration is usually considered a form of teamwork.

In an educational context, collaboration is both a skill to be developed by students (knowing how to mobilize the principles of structuring team activities, interdependence, motivation, co-responsibility, etc.) and a means of teaching or evaluating (engaging students, promoting deep learning, tackling authentic tasks, stimulating exchange, etc.).

At OPIEVA, we assign three dimensions to collaboration based on Landry’s work (2010): instrumental, emotional, and power-based. The first involves structuring the work and actions required to complete the task. The second refers to the network of relationships (individual, interpersonal, and group-based) that lead to group cohesion and tension. The third is made up of strategies of influence (forms of discourse, member reactions, expression of agreement or disagreement) that arise in a group context to promote the emergence of leadership and the sharing of responsibilities.

In an evaluation context, this means assessing how the group is structured (task sharing, roles, decision-making methods), which relational dynamics are present (autonomy, individual engagement, emotional engagement), and how the standards relating to leadership and power are established (who decides, who take care, how things are done). Three types of collaboration can be useful: evaluation of the collaboration as an object, evaluation of requested student collaboration (e.g., a group assignment, project, or exam), and collaborative assessment (e.g., through peer assessment, co-assessment, or among colleagues).

Bedwell et al. (2012)
Chiocchio et al. (2012)
Dewey (1927)
Johnson, Johnson, and Smith (2007)
Laberge (2004)
Landry (2010)
Lewin (1947)
Marks, Mathieu, and Zaccaro (2001)
Piquet (2009)
Raynault (2019)


There is no consensus in the literature regarding the definition of academic engagement. However, there is a consensus on how important engagement is for learning and, with a few slight differences, most recognize that it involves behavioural, emotional, and cognitive aspects. Behavioural engagement relates to a student’s participation in academic activities, including their interactions, participation, and classroom attendance. Emotional engagement refers to a student’s interests and values, including their enthusiasm and sense of belonging. The cognitive aspect relates to the student’s psychological investment and willingness to make the efforts required to master complex ideas or information. It also refers to the use of cognitive and metacognitive learning strategies.

Being engaged in learning is not just a matter of internal psychological characteristics. Engagement can also be modulated by the interactions that students experience depending on the context of their training and as a result of the pedagogical structure of teaching-learning activities and evaluations.

References :
Biggs (1996)
Christenson, Reschly and Wylie (2012)
Fredricks, Reschly, and Christenson (2019)
Greene (2015)
Heilporn, Lakhal, Bélisle and St-Onge (2020)
Kahu (2013)

Communication between the teacher and the learner

Communication between the teacher (the evaluator) and learners (the evaluated) supposes that they can have a discussion before, during and after the evaluation in order to lead the latter to explain their learning, clarify their thinking, specify their observations or respond to questions. Evaluation is here seen as a tool for dialogue and it fosters more interaction between the teacher and the learner to identify the means that could be implemented in future to ensure student success. Communication could also be tripartite, that is, between the teacher, learner and parents or between the teacher, learner and peers.

Reference :
Durand, Chouinard (2012)

Constructive alignment

Developed by Biggs (1993, 2014), constructive alignment is present when the lessons, teaching approach, and manner in which students demonstrate what they’ve learned are aligned with the teacher’s pedagogical intentions. The key with this approach is to clearly define the learning objectives through the use of a taxonomy (e.g., SOLO—Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome or Bloom’s Taxonomy).

Biggs (2014) proposes three steps to operationalize constructive alignment:
1) Draft learning objectives using action verbs from a recognized taxonomy.
2) Create a learning environment using teaching and learning activities that are linked to these objectives.
3) Use evaluation tools that enable students to demonstrate how what they’ve learned is related to the learning objectives.

These steps will help ensure consistency between intentions, teaching and learning activities, and how to assess what the student has learned. For example, it is present when an evaluation is adequately integrated into the learning activity, reflects what is being taught within the framework of specific learning targets, and respects the teacher’s pace. Through the articulation process it creates, the concept of constructive alignment is a vehicle for ensuring consistency between the principles, values, and standards in place—the teaching-evaluation process must be fair and just, rigorous, transparent, take into account inclusion and diversity, etc.

Biggs (1993, 2014)
Scallon (2004)
Stiggins (2005)

Criterion-based evaluation

Using a criterion-based grid stems from a criterion-based interpretation which consists of judging an individual’s result without any reference to the overall results obtained by a group of individuals. Evaluation with criterion-based interpretation allows the teacher to judge the learner’s level of accomplishment of tasks and to situate it on a grid constructed as a function of pedagogical objectives pursued in this task. Use of this tool informs the students that the comparison of learners will be on the basis of their performance and their relative ranking since the teacher evaluates each of them as a function of their attainment of the previously established, explained and well-known expectations. This conception of criterion-based interpretation is widespread throughout the literature. Nonetheless, while criterion-based and normative interpretations are very often presented as opposites, in fact, they coexist. The bonus-malus principle in the grading scales is probably the best example of their coexistence.

Côté (2014)
Côté, Tardif, Munn (2011)
Scallon (2015)

Digital context

The term digital is very broad in scope. At OPIEVA, our definition includes pedagogical practices that use digital technologies on computers and other electronic devices more broadly (touch tablets, cell phones, connected objects, interactive white boards, etc.). Digital technologies also include resources found on the internet, as well as applications and software. We also consider the terms ICT, ICTE, and technologies to be synonyms of digital technologies.

Basque (2005)
Bourgeois and Ntebutse (2020)
Couture (2020)
Fournier and Stockless (2020)
Moatti (2012)
Musso (2008)
Plantard (2014)
Raby (2004)


E-assessment refers to a variety of activities performed by both teacher and learner using digital technologies to evaluate learning or teaching. To varying degrees, this type of evaluation uses digital technologies throughout the evaluation process.

References: Gikandi et al., 2011; JISC, 2007; Pachler et al., 2010

Expectations in evaluation

Expectations in the context which concerns us here refer, in particular, to the learning objectives and evaluation criteria which should be communicated to the students in advance. It is important to ensure that what the learners must accomplish is precisely and operationally defined.

Scallon (2015)


Feedback consists of a teacher’s written or oral reaction to formative or summative tasks accomplished by the learner, sometimes juxtaposed with a grade. Feedback must be relevant, frequent and as immediate as possible so as to contribute to student learning and success, amongst other positive pedagogical effects.

Feedback is that much more effective if:

1. it is formulated in a constructive manner;
2. it comes immediately after the task;
3. the value of the task is quite significant; and
4. the evaluation situation is such as to favour a detailed response.

Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006, p. 205) have distinguished seven principles for effective feedback practices. Thus, to be effective, feedback must clarify what constitutes a good performance, encourage the development of self-evaluation, provide quality information to students with respect to their learning, encourage dialogue with the instructor and with their peers on the subject of learning, boost motivation and self-esteem, provide an opportunity to diminish the gap between the current performance and that which is expected and, finally, generate information for the teacher that can be used to adjust his or her teaching.

Another model is that proposed by Hattie and Timperley (2007). For them, feedback acts at four levels and must respond to three questions: “Where am I going? How do I proceed? What comes next?” The first question, related to the goals of the task, allows students to situate themselves with respect to their comprehension and what is expected of them. The second offers them the occasion to evaluate their own progress, and learning or implementation strategies. The third permits, amongst other things, the orientation of the responses received to the two previous questions, in association with the goal or a reflection on what must be improved. These three questions, transposed simultaneously in the feedback given while the task is being carried out, would be a major source of support for student engagement.

Feedback can intervene at four levels:
1) Feedback with respect to the task;
2) Feedback on the processing of the task;
3) Feedback on self-regulation (adjustment or metacognition); and
4) Feedback on the subject of “self” or the person (for example, ”Good effort!”).

Brassard (2012)
Durand, Chouinard (2012)
Hattie, Timperley (2007)
Nicol, MacFarlane-Dick (2006)
Pageau (2016)
Rodet (2019)


Proposed by Genvo in 2014, the most common definition of gamification means to make learning fun. The goal is to help students learn and develop skills while engaging them and stimulating their intrinsic motivation through learning situations and assessments that are fun, interactive, and authentic. Gamification defines play based on the meaning that the student-player ascribes to the situation rather than by the actions they’re required to perform. Accordingly, it’s centered on the human doing the playing rather than the game itself (human-centered design versus game-centered design). Depending on the nature of the game and the learning objectives at hand, gamification can involve one or more students.

When it’s applied to an evaluation, gamification consists in redesigning an exam situation and turning it into a fun activity where the tasks the student is being asked to perform are metaphors for their regular actions. For example, adapting a pedagogical scenario on classroom management in the Classcraft app can, at the end of the fun activity, allow the teacher to assess what the student knows about civic engagement in the classroom and their ability to adopt such behaviours. The teacher can also evaluate how the solutions the student is proposing might be applied, and how they are able to deal with the consequences of their decisions. The fun activity can also make it easier to get feedback from the teacher and classroom peers.

Gamification can also incorporate elements and mechanics associated with video games (e.g., a point system that extrinsically motivates, roles, rules) in teaching methods. This distinction lends credibility to the act of playing video games by de-emphasizing its trivial nature. Based on a behaviourist approach, gamification refers to the use of mechanisms specific to games, and primarily video games, in non-game applications (such as marketing, work, and health) in an effort to encourage users to adopt a desired behaviour. It seeks to elicit a playful response from the user rather than a learning experience.

Deterding, Dixon, Khaled, and Nacke (2011)
Genvo (2008, 2011, 2014)
Rioux (2021)
Sanchez, Young, and Jouneau-Sion (2017)
Zichermann and Cunningham (2011)

High cognitive level abilities

Higher-order thinking skills (HOTS) are a set of cognitive processes that allow individuals to perform complex tasks. These skills initially correspond to Bloom’s Taxonomy (1956). Bloom proposes a classification for levels of knowledge acquisition and identifies six types of cognitive processes on a continuum, ordered from the simplest to the most complex. In this taxonomy, the skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation are considered to be high-order thinking skills. In 2001, Anderson and Krathwohl revised Bloom’s Taxonomy to better suit the aims of a competency-based approach.

Anderson, Krathwohl et al. (2001)
Bloom (1956)
Nguyen and Blais (2007)
Scallon (2015)

In-depth learning

In-depth learning, or deep learning corresponds to behaviours where students actively process information and use development and organization strategies instead of memorization strategies. With a deep learning approach, students develop and organize their knowledge, feel the need to attach meaning to the information, display a high level of emotional involvement, and use more resources to learn. Deep learning is different than surface learning. Students who opt for a surface learning approach use memorization and knowledge reproduction strategies and have an interest in instrumental learning. The literature shows that the evaluation methods students are offered have an influence on their preferred learning approach (surface or deep).

References :
Biggs and Tang (2011)
Entwiste (1988)
Larue and Hrimech (2009)
Marton and Saljö (1976)
Romainville, Goasdoué, and Vantourout (2013)
Romano (1991)

Innovation in assessment

As a concept, innovation is not new; in fact, it has more than 600 definitions. Strictly speaking, innovating means introducing something new to a given context or inventing something. In education, the literature often cites Cros’s five components (2004) to define pedagogical innovation, which we have adapted for an evaluation context. Each of these five components is necessary for innovation.

A novelty: Something new or unusual (Merriam-Webster Online, 2022). A novelty is typically new and original and tends to replace or succeed something. In this sense, an innovation always stems from a novelty. However, just because something is new, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is innovative. Innovations pertaining to education and evaluations don’t simply entail asking students to perform activities that have never been done before.

A product: Innovation always generates a product, i.e., a result that has an innovative characteristic. In the context of an evaluation, this product may be a modality, an object, a method, an approach, a practice, etc. It attests to the innovation without being the only guarantee. It is intimately linked to the teacher-evaluator who appropriates it to introduce the novelty into their classroom.

A change: In an evaluation context, innovation is intended to bring about change, be it technical, conceptual, relational, or educational in nature. Conversely, it may also be made to improve previous iterations. It breaks away from typical practices and behaviours and requires a major change on the part of the teacher and the student. This change is both conscious and deliberate in nature, and involves taking risks and managing the unexpected.

An added value for learning: The primary goal of innovation in an evaluation context is to substantially improve learning. Its goals must be achieved by reaching learning objectives, having effects on learning, or renewing teaching and evaluation practices.

A dynamic reflexivity process: In an evaluation context, innovation is part of a complex reflexivity process that consists in questioning our actions, values, or habits to adopt practices that are designed for learning, and to explain, justify, and influence those actions. This process involves the spontaneous analysis of one’s own evaluation practices, interrogations, and confrontations (introspective, retrospective, or collaborative).

References :
Béchard (2001)
Cros (2019, 2013)
Cros and Adamczewski (1996)
De Almeida and Outeirinho (2016)
Langouèt (1985)
Lenoir (2006)
Louvel (2013)
Marinova and Phillimore (2003)
Martinot and Paquet (2015)
Schön (1984)

Integrating evaluations in the learning process

When evaluation is integrated with learning, the one being evaluated may learn during the evaluation. This is a thoughtful linking of the teacher’s actions, formed by the “teaching-learning-evaluation” triangle. Here, evaluation is at the heart of the pedagogical alignment developed by Biggs (2014).

Biggs (1996, 2014)
Roegiers (2000)

Interactivity and interactions

In the field of didactics, interactivity is a type of communication based on a series of actions and reactions among several stakeholders who are reacting to a situation by adjusting their behaviours to produce content. Interactivity requires sustained discussion, feedback, collaboration, and cooperation processes.

The term interactivity appears to have first been used in the 1970s. At this time, it referred to the communication process that takes place between the user of a computer system and the machine, via a screen. However, the word is rooted in the concept of interaction, which dates much further back and is not just used in technology. According to the Dictionnaire actuel de l’éducation (Legendre, 2005), interactivity is defined as an “exchange of reciprocal actions that develop between elements that may be human or purely material in nature.” It is also defined in the fields of communication, computer science, and pedagogy as the “direction, intensity, and frequency information flows between the transmitter and the receiver” (p. 795). Both of these definitions are related to the term interaction: “a mutual action of phenomena, things, individuals, and groups, along with the effects that result from these actions” (Legendre, 2005, p. 794). Nevertheless, the literature tends to confuse interactivity, which is often viewed as a technical term (used as a synonym of communication, transfer, and broadcasting) and interaction, which, according to some authors in didactics, can only be human in nature. Moreover, interaction is synonymous with terms such as reaction or transaction, but also solidarity, relationship, intersubjectivity, and reciprocity.

These different meanings of the term interactivity and its close relationship with the word interaction add to its multidimensional character. In teaching, interactivity is rooted in the so-called interactive pedagogy, which is opposed to unidirectional methods of transmission. It is often used in a distance learning context. We consider interactivity as a dialogue between students and teachers, as well as among students via a medium, which can be corporeal, kinesthetic, oral, written, technological, or even relational in nature. Just as photography represents appearances (...) interactivity represents interactions (Boissier, 2000). This analogy highlights what helps relationships flourish and what influences learning. From this perspective, the transformation of a student’s knowledge following an interaction with their teacher might also be considered interactivity.

An evaluation that encourages interactivity leads the student to verbalize that they understand their mistakes. It adds value to exchanges during the evaluation, namely through the application of ongoing questioning techniques. An evaluation that makes use of interactivity assesses the student’s ability to defend their statements and actions, interact with their peers, and deal with the unexpected. This is difficult to do when the teacher’s discourse is dominant, since the teacher must also observe their students’ actions and reactions.

Aubin (2000)
Beauchamp and Kennewell (2010)
Boissier (2000)
Lombardo, Bertacchini, and Malbos (2006)
Morrissette and Compaoré (2014)
Peraya (1999)
Rabaté and Lauraire (1985)
Rey and Feyfant (2014)
Rézeau (2001)

Isolating evaluation from teaching

Evaluation is isolated from teaching when it does not occur in dynamic interaction with learning activities. Learning and evaluation occur at two distinct times. In this situation, the “teaching-learning-evaluation” cycle is linear: the instructor teaches a given content and subsequently evaluates the learning, sometimes a number of weeks later (for example, in a final exam which covers an entire semester). The student learns little while being evaluated; the learning not being much called upon.

Laurier, Tousignant, Morissette (2005)
Roegiers (2012)

Learner's autonomy

Learners who demonstrate autonomy during the evaluation are those who, on their own initiative, draw upon their knowledge, expertise and interpersonal skills. In so doing, they are displaying the capacity to assume control of their own learning. With the goal of increasing the learner’s degree of autonomy in the demonstration of acquisition of knowledge or of the development of a competency in an evaluation situation, the teacher should abstain from overly explaining the instructions. Thus, the explanations, the indices, the adjustments and other feedback which the teacher generally provides the learner in a learning situation must gradually subside. In this way, the learner will be better able to demonstrate that he or she can reflect and draw upon useful resources by himself or herself. To the degree that the learner’s independence grows, so too does the self-regulation which evaluations should take into account.

Scallon (2015)
Scallon (2004)
Talbot (2001)
Tardif (2006)

Learner's participation in the evaluation process

The learner’s participation in the evaluation process of his or her learning can occur in particular through self-evaluation, co-evaluation or peer evaluation. Self-evaluation allows students to evaluate themselves and to organize themselves in relation to the learning objectives or competencies to develop. This practice contributes to making them personally aware of their progress, of their strengths and of their challenges. It also leads to a reflection on strategies and on how they could adjust the efforts in future to better succeed.

Peer evaluation and co-evaluation permit the learner not only to evaluate other learners, but also to develop a critical spirit and to encourage a reflective approach vis-à-vis his or her own productions.

Roy, Michaud (2018)

Learning motivation

Motivation at school is a concept that has been extensively studied in education, from a number of angles, since the 1980s. It can be defined as “a dynamic state with its origins in students’ perceptions of themselves and of their environment, which incites them to choose an activity, engage in it, and persevere in order to reach a goal” (Viau, 1994, p. 7). A student’s motivation may fluctuate and is influenced by different variables, such as the required tasks, the context of the task, and their personal interests. When faced with a pedagogical activity, students’ motivations have three determinants: the perception they have of the value of the activity, the perception that they have the skills to do this, and their perception of being able to control how this unfolds.

Carré and Fenouillet (2019)
Viau (1994)
Viau, Joly, and Bédard (2004)


Memorization is a function of memory that allows us to store and recall a variety of knowledge and experiences, either spontaneously or with the help of mnemonic devices. It is associated with surface learning, which is defined as the intentional utilization of basic cognitive actions (such as rote learning or repetition), aiming more for mechanical repetition than significant comprehension of content to be learned. Surface learning is correlated with performance goals that are centered on meeting requirements (e.g., getting a good grade), while deep learning focuses on mastering concepts.

While memorization is a necessary faculty in any situation of evaluation, it should not constitute the primary cognitive activity required of the student, since high developed mnemonic faculties do not necessarily signify a thorough comprehension of the concepts under study.

Baeten, Kyndt, Struyven, and Dochy (2010)
Craik and Lockhart (1972)
Durand and Chouinard (2012)
Greene (2015)
Greene, Miller, Crowson, Duke, and Akey (2004)
Greene and Miller (1996)
Scallon (2004)

Metacognitive strategies

Metacognition encompasses the two following aspects:

1) Individuals’ conscious introspective knowledge of their own cognitive processes related to performing various tasks:
Metacognitive knowledge regarding cognitive processes refers to everything we know about ourselves regarding our ability to perform the activity or task at hand. For example, knowing that a certain type of math problem can be solved in less than ten minutes or that you know how to figure out a math problem.

2) These individuals’ capacities to deliberately use metacognitive strategies to achieve a particular goal or objective (monitoring):
For example, this entails the ability to anticipate, i.e., to foresee or envisage the knowledge, procedures, actions, or situations that may arise or that would be useful in the context of a given task or situation (planning, hypothesizing). An additional factor is the ability to mobilize self-regulation tactics, such as monitoring and adjusting to the requirements of a task and the objectives being pursued.

Metacognition in an educational context therefore involves the following skills: knowledge of your approach to different school-related tasks (e.g., knowing that you know the steps required to solve a problem), and the ability to anticipate and self-regulate regarding specific tasks and objectives.

Bégin (2008)
Flavell (1976)
Romainville, Noël, and Wolfs (1995)
St-Pierre (1994)

Normative interpretation

Comparing learners falls under normative interpretation. This consists of interpreting the result of an individual by comparing it to a given group or a recognized threshold. Normative interpretation is often used to compare individuals and to rank-order them according to their success rate.

Scallon (2015)
Vial (2012)

Online Teaching Methods

Types of teaching where the use of a digital learning environment allows students and teachers to interact despite a physical or temporal distance. The three most commonly identified methods are distinguished by the proportion of activities carried out online: enriched classroom, hybrid, and distance learning. Most enriched classroom teaching occurs in person. Hybrid classes combine in-class learning and distance learning in various proportions. Distance learning is offered primarily online. Online exchanges can be simultaneous (synchronous) or offline (asynchronous).

Allen and Seaman (2013)
Bates (2019)
Forget-Dubois (2020)
Lakhal et al. (2015)

Peer evaluation

Peer evaluation is a process by which students provide feedback on a peer’s work, process, or statement, based on criteria that has been predefined by the teacher or students. Its goal is to foster the improvement of the student being evaluated. The quantity, value, quality, and success of their work (e.g., papers, performances, processes, justifications, etc.) and learning are at the heart of this process, which necessarily involves peer interactions. Peer evaluations can be reciprocal, that is to say, between two students or among a group of several students who must assess the same work either collaboratively or individually.

Peer evaluation also requires careful guidance to ensure that friendships, cliques, popularity, peer tensions, and other social factors don’t influence the judgment of the peer reviewers. The use of an evaluation grid, feedback guidelines, or digital tools (forums, portfolios, blogs, etc.) is essential.
In the literature, the terms mutual assessment, peer assessment, hetero-evaluation, and inter-assessment are all used as synonyms for peer evaluation.

Allal (1999)
Depover and Noël (1999)
Durand and Chouinard (2012)
Roy and Michaud (2018)

Personalizing evaluation conditions

Personalizing evaluation conditions is an expression used by Scallon (2004) which signifies allowing students to be evaluated or to have evaluations take place in optimal conditions, to encourage their academic success. Beyond the question of individualized arrangements to the benefit of learners with special needs (for example, submitting homework at a later date, and having more time to do an exam), this expression suggests, above all, a respect for the efforts of learners, who are all unique. For example, teachers-evaluators should show learners that they respect their work sufficiently, by giving them particular sustained, constructive and individual, as well as collective, attention. Although personalized, the teacher’s feedback after evaluations should not bear on the personality of learners, but should concentrate instead on the learning accomplished. Personalizing the evaluation conditions may also be accomplished with tools such as descriptive grids and criterion-based performances which allow for differentiated judgements.

Côté, Tardif, Munn (2011)
Scallon (2004)

Professional judgement

Professional judgement is a process of decision-making based on the collection of information through various means. This process also includes the justification of the choice of these means and the sharing of results from a perspective of coordination (Lafortune and Allal, 2008, p. 24). It leads to situating the learning as a function of requirements and objectives.

The judgement is a professional act stemming from the evaluator‘s responsibility and which, as a consequence, can neither claim to be totally objective nor to be reducible to cumulative reasoning (Scallon, 2015). To be considered professional, the judgement must be well argued and documented. Thus, a professional judgement must be:
- documented;
- adaptive;
- based on autonomy and responsibility; and
- ethical and consistent with a collection of values.

In particular, to effectively exercise professional judgement, the teacher should employ a variety of evaluations, use grids to describe his or her judgement and examine the entirety of a student’s performances and learning from a cohesive perspective when determining the grades.

Lafortune, Allal (2008)
Leroux, Bélair (2015)
Mottier Lopez, Allal (2010)
Scallon (2015)

Reflective practice in evaluation

The reflective practice is a process which consists of taking a critical look at one’s actions before, during and after the action. It fosters an awareness of one’s beliefs, so that one’s practice may evolve, based on well-reasoned argumentation. The reflective practitioner analyzes his or her actions in order to make adjustments. The reflective practice allows for the reinforcement of a feeling of competence, and it is always anchored in the context of the action. It often forms the foundation of a strategy of professional development.

In evaluation, the reflective practice consists essentially of questioning one’s values and habits (for example, becoming conscious of one’s biases, being careful to be transparent, and ensuring the accuracy and validity of one’s instruments) to adopt assessment practices which harmoniously blend with the teaching, and which are centered on learning.

In theoretical terms, the reflective practice is a vast concept which should not be taken lightly. Here, we will simply observe that there are a number of models of reflective practice and multiple strategies for applying it.

Colin, Karsenti, Komis (2013)
Dewey (1933)
Schön (1984)


Self-assessment is a process that allows the student to use predetermined learning objectives and criteria to make judgments about the quality of their progress and work, their strengths and weaknesses, the reasons behind their successes and failures, and the challenges they have met. Therefore, it highlights an individual’s ability to judge the quality of their work, process, performance, or learning. The goal of self-assessment is to develop autonomy. It consists in helping the student manage their own learning mechanisms and develop their metacognitive skills. Accordingly, self-assessment requires the three following elements: 1) the student’s awareness of their actions as a whole, 2) a reflexive and critical review of these actions and their effectiveness, and 3) the ability to self-regulate in an effort to improve and have more control over how tasks are performed.
In summary, self-assessment consists in giving the student a chance to explain the strategies they adopt in order to learn, which they could maintain or adjust to be more successful in the future.

Durand and Chouinard (2012)
Legendre (2005)
Schraw and Moshman (1995)
Zimmerman (2000)

The learning-centered paradigm in education

Teachers who ascribe to the learning-centered paradigm are concerned with the learners above all. They aim to transform information and learning into viable and transferable knowledge. They encourage the integration of knowledge, the construction of knowledge and the creation of dynamic pedagogical relations. Here, the aim is the development of competencies, support for the learner, and guidance. In helping students to learn, teachers are recognizing that they are responsible for the process. Knowledge is neither cumulative nor linear, but rather conceived as resources to draw upon in order to accomplish a task.

References :
Durand, Chouinard (2012)
St-Germain (2008)

The teaching-centered paradigm in education

In the teaching-centered paradigm, the principal aim is the acquisition of knowledge dispensed by the teacher, the sole individual responsible for the teaching process. The teacher’s process of transmission to the students favours memorization, the accumulation of knowledge and the comparison of some learners’ knowledge with that of others. There is not necessarily any feedback provided to the learners involved in this transmission. They are perceived as passive vehicles, handling knowledge which they will be able to use during exams. Here, evaluation results are compared to a norm.

Durand, Chouinard (2012)
St-Germain (2008)