UWI Teaching & Learning Remotely

Examples of Alternative Assessments

Alternative assessments are designed to foster higher order, critical thinking skills in students through the design of more authentic tasks. One type of alternative assessment is authentic assessment. According to Wiggins, authentic assessments are "engaging and worthy problems or questions of importance, in which students must use knowledge to fashion performances effectively and creatively. The tasks are either replicas of or analogous to the kinds of problems faced by adult citizens and consumers or professionals in the field" (1993, p.229).  

Types of Alternative Assessments

Alternative assessments are wide ranging and often include:

  • Project-based assignments
  • Problem-based assignments
  • Presentations
  • Reports
  • Reflective pieces
  • Concept maps
  • Critical analyses
  • Case-based scenarios
  • Portfolios



The following are examples from a few disciplines. Only the main question has been given in each case; the detailed instructions about length of paper and rubrics have been omitted from these examples, but would need to be included in a final paper.

Example 1: Evaluation Plan for a Graduate Course on Evaluation


You are the principal consultant of a monitoring and evaluation company based in a Caribbean island and your company is bidding to provide an evaluation of the CARICAD Leadership Development Programme for CARICOM. Winning this bid would put your company in the spotlight and ensure that you can keep your staff of five, after a very difficult year financially.  CARICOM is requesting that you provide them with an evaluation plan for this project and have indicated that in order to fulfil the requirements of the funding agency, the plan must include the following components:

  1. Programme Description
  2. Stakeholder analysis
  3. Evaluation  Methodology
    • Sampling design
    • Data collection plan (include one sample instrument)
    • Data analysis plan
    • Timeline
  4. Dissemination plan
  5. Application of the Evaluation Standards


Example 2: Project Plan for a Graduate Course on Development Aid

Your government is experiencing significant financial pressure and has decided that it wants to seek foreign aid for a number of projects in your small island state,  but has yet to decide which projects and which aid agencies should be approached. As an international development specialist in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, you have just come from a meeting with a number of Ministers and permanent secretaries from various ministries who have identified their greatest needs. Armed with this information, and given your knowledge of development aid agencies, your Minister has asked you to:

  1. Outline a process for how development aid projects and programs are initiated/identified, planned, executed, monitored, evaluated and closed based on best practices and the country context;
  2. Identify which areas in these processes your country may need to pay careful attention to and why,  given their current level of project execution expertise;
  3. List the top three (3) projects that you think they should seek funding for, given the needs of your country and provide a rationale for your choices, buttressed by evidence;
  4. Identify three (3) aid agencies that you think could be approached for this aid, and provide a rationale for your choices;
  5. Explain the strategy that you would suggest to obtain aid from these agencies for these projects, given your understanding of various global factors, including but not limited to a) power relationships, b) how the global political and macroeconomic environment impacts development assistance and c) the aid-growth nexus.


Example 3:  Take Home Assignment for a Law Course (This question is one of three on the final take home exam)


The common seal of Singh’s Developments Inc. (SDI) was affixed to a mortgage document. The mortgage was a piece of land owned by SDI, its only major asset, and was an instrument to guarantee a loan from Republic Bank to one of the directors of SDI. SDI would gain no advantage from entering into the mortgage. The loan was unrelated to the purpose of its business. The director of the company and the director’s son, acting as the company’s secretary, signed the document. The son had not been appointed secretary. The company’s articles required authorization of the use of the seal and attestation by a director, together with another director or with the company secretary. The other directors of the company did not know of or authorize the signing of the document. In addition, they were unaware that the director’s son was purporting to act as the company’s secretary.

How would you advise the directors? Provide a rationale for your response.


Example 4: Case Analysis and Presentation for an Undergraduate Political Science Course

Case: The Ghost of Internet Past

Dr. Emmanuel Kellermen is the director of training in a teaching program at a graduate-level training program. The training program has rigorous admissions standards and has a prestigious reputation. Ryan Sweeting is a second year student who has excelled academically.  As Ryan is preparing for an off-campus master’s level internship, Dr. Lisa Secord (faculty member) approaches Dr. Kellermen about Ryan. Apparently, there are a number of internet sites that feature Ryan as a soft-core pornography actor. Dr. Secord asks Dr. Kellermen to prevent Ryan from off-campus training experiences until the department can address the potential ethical and moral issues with Ryan.

Dr. Kellermen agrees to talk to Ryan. Ryan openly admits that he was a soft-core pornography actor but that he is no longer in the industry. He explains that he cannot pull down pictures of his past work because the pictures and videos are outside of his control.

Ethics and Psychology. Vignette #32: Ghost of Internet Past. Retrieved from http://www.ethicalpsychology.com/2015/05/vignette-32-ghost-of-internet-past.html


  1. Explain in a brief paragraph how the concept of “Professionalism” applies to this case scenario.
  2. What course of action would you suggest?  State the questions  you would ask to help  you move towards a course of action and include any models that you would use in your decision making.  Include a diagram of the benefits/strengths, or the harms/limitations of a decision of your decision-making model.


Example 5:  Short Answer Assignment for an Accounting Course

Nicki Fenty Corporation manufactures a variety of beauty products in several departments and evaluates departments and departmental managers by comparing actual cost and output relative to the budget. Departmental managers help create the budgets and usually provide information about input quantities for materials, labour, and overhead costs.

Chante  Moore is the manager of the department that produces lip gloss.  Chante has estimated these inputs for lip gloss:

Input  Budget  quantity per unit of output
Direct materials 8 pounds
Direct manufacturing labor 30 minutes
Machine time 24 minutes


The department produces about 100 units of lip gloss each day. Chante’s department always gets excellent evaluations, sometimes exceeding budgeted production quantities. For each 100 units of lip gloss produced, the company uses, on average, about 48 hours of direct manufacturing labor (eight people working 6 hours each), 790 pounds of material, and 39.5 machine-hours.

Top management of Nicki Fenty Corporation has decided to implement budget standards that will challenge the workers in each department, and it has asked Chante to design more challenging input standards for the production of lip gloss. Chante provides top management with the following input quantities:


Input  Budget  quantity per unit of output
Direct materials 7.9 pounds
Direct manufacturing labor 29 minutes
Machine time 23.6 minutes



  1. Identify the budget preparation approach used. (1 mark)
  2. List and briefly discuss 1 advantage and 1 disadvantage  of this approach to budget preparation using the context of the example given. (2 marks)
  3. Discuss the following:
    • Are these budget standards challenging for the department that produces lip gloss? (Use the numbers provided to support your argument.) (2 marks)
    • Why do you think that Chante choose these particular standards? ( 2 marks)
    • What steps can Nicki Fenty Corporation’s top management take to ensure Chante’s standards really meet the goals of the firm? Discuss this briefly, with reference to the current scenario as well as to other approaches to budget preparation. (3 marks)


Adapted from  UWI Options for Consideration in the Final Assessment of Courses