Online assessment in higher education: a mapping review and narrative synthesis

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Qian Liu
Anjin Hu
Ben Daniel


Online assessment takes many forms. While there have been reviews on a particular online assessment approach (e.g., online examinations or tests), there has not been a knowledge synthesis that considers online assessment research as a whole. A holistic understanding of online assessment research is important, as it recognizes differences in assessment approaches and the role of technologies in assessment. This understanding helps researchers navigate the heterogeneous body of research and allows educators to make research-informed improvements. To establish such an understanding, we analyzed 235 articles, following a mapping review and a narrative synthesis method. The findings revealed tests, assignments and skills assessments are major online assessment approaches. While research into tests reported using online technologies mainly to substitute or augment existing assessment, research into assignments and skills assessments was more likely to report using online technologies to modify or redefine assessment. Further, we identified disparities across the three approaches regarding academic misconduct, assessment validity, and reliability. We also identified a dearth of comparative research and a reliance on overall satisfaction and short-term self-reported impact measures as indicators of success. We discuss the implications of this review to provide insights for institutions and educators seeking to improve online assessment practices.


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Liu, Q., Hu, A., & Daniel, B. (2025). Online assessment in higher education: a mapping review and narrative synthesis. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 20, 007.

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