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C921: Course assessment Sample



Course Assessments

Western Governor University



Course Assessments

Assessment Theory, Concept, or Principle

Formative assessment 

The formative assessment implemented in this course module is a formative online discussion board. This assessment will measure the learners’ understanding of the role of the community health nurse. It is expected that the learners will be able to give a detailed explanation of the roles and responsibilities of the community health nurse. It will ensure that learners have a solid understanding of community health nursing to build on further learning throughout the course. The online discussion board allows learners to demonstrate competency and an understanding of course materials. Individual responses will define the role and responsibilities of both community and public health nursing, and the purpose of community and population-focused care. The constructivist learning theory was used as the basis for this assessment’s design. Billings & Halstead (2019) state that constructivism theory holds that learners build knowledge in an effort to make sense of their experiences; an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based on their current or previous knowledge, leaders in nursing education can make a paradigm shift toward concept-based curricula. This activity will make sure learners will be actively engaged with each other through online group discussion regarding the information that they present in their post and responses related to their knowledge of the community and public health nursing, Constructivist learning theory provides the learners with the opportunity to share, compare, and learn information while socially interacting with each other. This theory design will also allow the instructor to provide guidance and support to the learner while achieving competence.

Summative performance-based assessment

The summative performance-based assessment that will be used is a windshield survey written in academic paper format, and a care plan utilizing the template provided in the module. The learners to work together with their peers in groups of 3-4 to utilize their critical thinking skills to interpret data on the assigned community, create a windshield survey, identify community barriers and needs, and plan nursing interventions. The project will be used to assess learner’s understanding of course content and objectives. It is expected that learners will conduct a community assessment/windshield survey, utilize their nursing knowledge to identify community needs/barriers and promote health maintenance and health prevention. The theory chosen for the specific design of this assessment was the constructivist theory. For this assessment, learners will be required to actively engage with each other in their group to complete the windshield survey and care plan. Teachers no longer provide information to students passively; students are actively engaged in the process of learning using the constructivist learning approach. Billings & Halstead (2019) claim that constructionism develops social and communication skills by encouraging students to collaborate and communicate ideas in their classroom. As part of their education, students must learn how to communicate their thoughts properly and participate on group assignments. The interaction between learners to complete this assessment will involve both educational and social interaction of the learning process, allowing the learners to refine their thoughts and assist others to find information. By using the constructivist learning theory it will allow the instructor to provide both guidance and support to the learner while achieving competence.


Summative objective assessment

The summative objective assessment implemented for the course module is a 10-item assessment. The purpose of the exam is to assess the learners’ understanding of the course materials covered in the modules related to disaster management (McDonald, 2018). Learners’ will have to apply and analyze their learned knowledge to answer the assessment questions. The theory chosen for this assessment was the cognitivism theory. Cognitive learning theory demands the learner to employ information processing, perception, and memory to promote learning by collecting, storing, and retrieving information that aids them in developing the capacity and abilities for self-directed learning (Billings & Halstead, 2019). The summative objective assessment will aid the development of the learner’s cognitive skills through recalling their prior knowledge to correctly answer the questions. Using the cognitivism learning theory will allow the instructor to measure the effectiveness and retention of the information provided in the course curriculum by completing the 10-item assessment.

Potential implementation barriers

Formative assessment 

A potential barrier to completing the online discussion for the formative assessment is technology. A learner may have issues accessing the online course class portal or have unexpected internet access issues. Another potential online barrier is that learners may have issues posting within the time constraints related to their work and family life needs. This will require the learners to plan to be able to post and respond during the timeframe. 

Summative objective assessment 

A potential barrier to completing the online group work assessment windshield survey formal paper and care plan is that each member of the group would not contribute equally or not complete their assigned areas on time. Having a member that does not equally contribute could potentially negatively affect other members of the group’s grade and create more work for other members of the group. Learners will complete an evaluation at the end of the assessment on all members of the group that they worked with. They will also be encouraged to immediately report any issues with group members’ performance in real-time to the instructor (Oermann & Gaberson 2017). Another potential barrier to completing this assessment in the online environment is being able to effectively communicate with members of the group virtually. Group members will need to establish how to effectively communicate with each other virtually and hold each other accountable to complete the work.

Summative objective assessment 

A potential barrier to completing the online 10-item assessment for the summative objective assessment is the possibility that the learner may display academic dishonesty. Even though this assessment is proctored by the university learners may still attempt to be dishonest by looking up answers or navigating outside the assessment window. Another online potential barrier is if the learner would experience issues with their internet access while taking the assessment causing disconnection and resulting in a zero for the assessment.

 Importance of authenticity

Nursing instructors provide the foundation for learners to build their nursing knowledge on. It is the nursing instructor’s responsibility to develop a curriculum that is concise, clear, and contains the educational materials needed to meet the course objectives and student learning outcomes to achieve competence. According to Kaduc (2019), authentic assessment is a method of evaluating learning in which learners may exhibit their newly acquired knowledge, abilities, and attitudes in the context of real-world or realistic nursing practice tasks. The nursing curriculum has changed throughout the years to not only ensure that new nurses obtain the needed knowledge but also the skills required to care for patients. Traditional assessment methods placed greater emphasis on testing students, utilizing authentic assessment nursing education is focused on ensuring that learners can apply theory to practice. This requires that they provide authentic performance-based assessment and learning experiences that require them to not only recall the information but also apply what they know. When learners apply the genuine assessment technique, they report good results. They say the rubric gave clarity and direction for their learning objectives, helped them build confidence, helped them gain knowledge, and helped them improve critical thinking skills (Dennison, 2015). Assignments and performance-based assessments require the learner to apply the knowledge they have obtained to simulation or situations. This requires the learner to be provided with a controlled learning environment that is free of ridicule, and safe for the patient and learner. Providing this environment will facilitate the learner to have sound clinical judgment and the ability to focus on the situation to be able to effectively translate theory into practice.

Also read: Buy Nursing Care Plan Online

 Objective assessment outcomes

Nursing instructors must make sure the validity and reliability of assessments are consistent across various testing situations and differing evaluators to develop objective summative competency assessments for learners on one specific topic. The instructor must also consider the level of difficulty, appropriateness, and relevance when deciding what areas to modify or discard within the assessment. 

Low test-level reliability

The term “reliability” refers to the consistency with which a test assesses a trait. McDonald (2018) defines test reliability as the degree to which test results are consistent across multiple testing dates, different test editions, or different raters evaluating the test taker’s replies. Will a person get a comparable score or a significantly different score if they retake the test? This definition of test reliability states that a test that consistently provides a comparable score when repeated is considered to reliably assess a trait. Low test-level reliability indicates that a learner will not obtain the same score regardless of how many times they take the exam. Environmental variables such as room temperature, noise level, illumination, and test duration may also affect test-level reliability. A suggestion for increasing the test’s dependability is to increase the number of items and the time allotted for completion. Increased item count gives the learner a greater chance of achieving a higher score, while increased testing duration alleviates the learner’s fear about running out of time, enabling them to spend more time focused on the questions. To increase poor test-level reliability due to environmental variables, the exam should be administered in the same classroom with suitable lighting and temperature and on the same day of the week. These efforts will contribute to the establishment of a stable and familiar atmosphere.

Low item discrimination 

It is the capacity of an object to distinguish amongst pupils depending on their knowledge of the subject matter. It differentiates between learners who are higher and lower performers. Exam items are thought to be discriminating if the higher-level learner answers the items correctly, while the lower-level learner answer the item incorrectly. Factors that may cause a low difficulty index are content learning objectives was not taught in class, the question was beyond the learner’s scope of understanding, question-wording in not clear, learner did not adequately study or from provided resources, the syllabus is too extensive, and or incompetent instructor (Billings & Halstead, 2016). A recommendation to improve the low item discrimination would be to utilize standardized examinations. These can be accessed via the textbook online question bank that the instructor can pull questions from. The objective of the exam, the variables that might impact the outcomes, and the testing methodologies employed should also be explained to students. It is recommended that faculty development programs on the application of fair testing standards in the establishment of program testing be offered by the National League for Nursing, as well as the promotion of research on and development in fair testing procedures by boards of nursing (Billings & Halstead, 2016).

Low pass rates 

Internal and external factors can directly affect the learner’s ability to pass a test and can result in low pass rates. As discussed previously environmental factors such as a noisy room, fluctuating room temperatures, and or poor lighting can affect the learner’s testing ability. The learner may have not properly prepared for the test. The time frame given to complete the test could also factor into low pass rates. If it is not enough time was given the learn may speed through completing the test or not be able to complete the test. Another example of low test-level reliability is the course materials did not provide adequate information to ensure the learner’s success and did not line up with the course objectives or student learning objectives. Actions of recommendation to improve low pass rates would be to adjust any external factors that can be controlled as discussed earlier such as room temperature, light, the time allowed, and time and date test are given. Another recommendation would be to frequently assess the course content to ensure that it aligns with the course objectives and student learning objectives. Assess the learning modules and resources to ensure that all learning styles are represented. Another recommendation is to provide a question-and-answer session or rationale for answers after the learners have received their results. This will assist the instructor to identify where the learners are having gaps in their learning.

Using assessment results

Assessment results for objective and summative performance-based assessments provide a validation of the understanding of the course materials and teaching strategies and aid the instructor in improving learning activities and course curriculum. Assessment results should be used to validate assessment of student outcomes, refine teaching and learning strategies, clarify and strengthen the purposes and objectives of the course, and improve the quality of nursing education (Kaduc, 2019). The sole purpose of nurse instructors is to ensure academic success for all learners when developing a curriculum. The curriculum needs to meaningful, appropriate, and encourage learning. The curriculum must be continually evaluated as healthcare is ever changing to ensure that it reflects evidence-based best practice. It must also correlate with the course objective and student learning outcomes. The results from the objective and summative performance-based assessment can help the nursing instructor to learn new strategies to improve their teaching strategies.   



Billings, D.M & Halstead, J.A. (2016). Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty (5th ed.). St. Louis, MI: Elsevier Inc. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780323290548/epubcfi/6/8%5B%3Bvnd.vst.idref%3Db9780323290548099929%5D!/4/2/2%5Bpgiv%5D%400:0 

Dennison, R.D., Rosselli, J., & Dempsy, A. (2015). Evaluation beyond exams in nursing education: Designing assignments and evaluating with rubrics. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/westerngovernors-ebooks/reader.action?docID=1760904&ppg=91 

Kaduc, A., Cieri, T., Austin, J., McCabe, K., & Hill, N. (n.d). CAT and authentic assessment. Weebly.  Retrieved from https://alexandrakaduc.weebly.com/week-2—cat-and-authentic-assessment.html 

McDonald, M.E. (2018). The nurse educator’s guide to assessing learning outcomes (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC. Retrieved from https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1584134&authtype=sso&custid=ns017578&site=eds-live&scope=site&ebv=EB&ppid=pp_ii

Oermann, M.H. & Gaberson, K.B. (2017). Evaluation and testing in nursing education (5th ed.). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/westerngovernors-ebooks/reader.action?docID=4734147&ppg=5 

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