The Struggle for Balance in the Use of Quantitative and Qualitative Online Assessment Tasks

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as:

Kendle, A., & Northcote, M. (2000). The struggle for balance in the use of quantitative and qualitative online assessment tasks. Learning to choose, Choosing to learn. Paper presented at the 17th Annual Conference of the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour.


Online learning environments offer perhaps the most efficient methods yet for providing objective, quantitative assessment tasks for students. In the current resource-stretched tertiary education climate these methods are perceived as time and cost effective, and often educationally sound, particularly when appropriate feedback is provided. A wide range of research on recent online assessment tools supports this claim. As yet there is little research which addresses the value of qualitative techniques in such contexts, and even less which examines the issues associated with the integration of both types of assessment tasks within the same context. This tension in the research requires examination and it is the purpose of this paper to not only investigate the recent neglect of qualitative assessment in online education but to consider potential solutions to this struggle for balance between quantitative and qualitative online assessment techniques. Previous work outlining a suggested set of criteria for designing and implementing qualitative online assessment tasks is used to address the challenge of designing practical guidelines by which balanced assessment methods can be implemented.


Used by permission: the authors

This conference paper may be accessed from the publisher here.

At the time of writing Maria Northcote was affiliated with Edith Cowan University.