Renewable Assessments

Jessica Kalra

Wiley takes the idea of authentic assessment one step further and has developed the concept of renewable or non-disposable assessment. A renewable assessment is “a form of assessment that adds value to the world” outside the classroom (Wiley 2015). The product of the assessment task has a larger audience and is meaningful beyond the grade the student achieves and their success in the course (Wiley 2016). Wiley is a proponent of open pedagogy, and supports assessments where students produce original content that is widely distributed and openly licensed so that it can be revised and/or reused. According to Wiley, when students are asked to do non-disposable assignments, they feel their work is valued and are likely to put more effort into it (Wiley 2015, 2016). This added student investment increases engagement and can work to support academic integrity. The area of renewable assessment is growing rapidly and there are some very innovative examples from instructors in many different disciplines. For instance, collecting data, performing research or an experiment, and sharing this online, in print or at a conference. These are all examples of  assignments that have utility and longevity beyond the classroom. Another common renewable assessment asks students to write or edit articles on Wikipedia (for an examples see “Murder, Madness and Mayhem”, and Wikipedia In-the Classroom​). Writing or editing Wikipedia articles require learners to engage deeply with course concepts and requires them to write about it concisely for a broad audience. Moreover, Wikipedia has high standards for what is considered a “good quality” source.

Another example of a renewable assessment stands on the premise that students (and instructors) are content creators. David Wiley asks graduate students in his Introduction to Open Education course to contribute annotated readings to an e-book. He and his students have collaboratively created an Open Education Reader available for free, online as an open education resource. Perhaps a more complex example comes from Simon Bates who teaches Physics 101: Energy and Waves at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Bates asks his students to create what he terms learning objects that are designed to help teach complex physics concepts to other students. These learning objects are housed online and openly accessible. Bates indicates that students produce creative content that enhances their own learning and creates a valuable resource for current and future students of physics (, Bates 2017).

Even bigger and broader renewable assessments can be implemented when collaborations with external partners are considered. For example, CityStudio Vancouver is a non-for profit which supports collaboration between the City of Vancouver and Higher Education. This group identifies city staff and their project ideas and matches them with instructors and students that can work collaboratively on these projects. Students learn the skills they need and have the opportunity to be part of city-building and innovation. Over 1300 amazing project examples can be found in the City Studio Projects archives.

Another more global example comes from an initiative known as Collaborative Online Intercultural Learning, also called Virtual Exchange, or COIL-VE. This initiative is a means for connecting faculty and their students with peers in other countries via the internet, towards the goal of completing a project related to a specific discipline.

COIL-VE projects at Langara have been very diverse. One example comes from Langara’s Latin American Studies instructor Jessie Smith and Antonella Romiti from USGS in Argentina.  Students in their collaboration entitled  “Latin American Cultural Perspectives”, created photo galleries that reflect on interculturalism and art for social change from a gender perspective.​ One example is a project called Femicides in the Americas: how media coverage of femicide shields the aggressors​

International collaborations such as those facilitated through COIL-VE, provide instructors and learners with opportunities to  build intercultural competencies in addition to having an authentic learning experience.

The key idea for renewable assessments is that students are considered as a “cognitive resource”, and content creators (Wiley 2016). Rather than asking learners to spend time on disposable content, consider asking them to produce something for a broader audience, that has longevity and that they might be able to use as part of their portfolios or on a resume.

If you are thinking about designing a renewable assessment, start by asking the following questions:

  • Who is the audience for this task?​
  • Why does the audience need this information?​
  • How will the student communicate this information to the audience?​
  • How can the student and the audience use this information?​


We have discussed authentic and renewable assessment as a strategy for increasing student engagement and encouraging academic integrity and scholarship.  In the final section of this toolkit we provide general tips that may also be valuable in encouraging academic integrity through the perspective of prevention.


Encouraging Academic Integrity Through Intentional Assessment Design Copyright © by Jessica Kalra. All Rights Reserved.

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