Testing a taxonomy to facilitate e-assessment


  • Bobby Elliott Scottish Qualifications Authority


Online writing, in various forms, is common in education but there has been relatively little research into ways of analysing and evaluating its quality. This paper reports on original research into ways of assessing online writing. It addresses two research questions: 1. Can a traditional taxonomy be used to analyse the academic quality of online writing? and 2. Can a taxonomic approach be used to aid the assessment of online writing? The paper uses content analysis techniques to study two forums used within a post-graduate online learning programme and reports on the nature of learning in this environment. The techniques used are well- known methods of analysing academic discourse: a revised version of Bloom's taxonomy proposed by Anderson and Krathwohl (2001) and the practical inquiry model proposed by Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000). This paper seeks to assess their suitability for the online domain. The paper concludes that traditional taxonomies can be used to analyse online writing and that the use of a taxonomy would improve assessment practice. It recommends the creation of an ‘e-taxonomy' for this purpose, based on traditional taxonomies but modified to better reflect the new affordances of the online environment.