Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Ana Donaldson


Studies have shown that not all students are assessed effectively using standard testing formats. However, it is unclear what alternative methodology would be useful to determine whether students have acquired the skills necessary for today's global market. This research study's purpose was to understand the processes instructors use when choosing and designing alternative assessments in higher education online courses to measure student performance. Using Gagné's conditions of learning and Bloom's Taxonomy as a framework to understand these processes, this qualitative case study examined 8 participants teaching online at Midwestern public universities. Interview data and course artifacts, including syllabi, rubrics, assessments, and grades, were gathered as evidence. These data were categorized by participant, interview question, and research question, and were then coded and analyzed to identify themes. The results indicated that, although objectives drive assessment indicators, they do not necessarily drive the assessment choice. They also indicated that the processes used by experienced instructors to determine assessment choices appear almost subconscious, although objectives are the major decision making point. This study impacts social change by helping identify areas where assessment selection is effective or ineffective, as well as where additional training needs to occur on alternative assessment options that accommodate changing student and workplace expectations better.