A log is a framework in which the student continuously through the course documents his/her learning process. You will also in the literature find headings like Diary or Journal to describe this assessment method. The log can also be used in connection with internships. In all cases it is essential that the student in writing reflects on what has been done (read or acted), what has been learned and perhaps also why and how. The teacher gives clear guidelines and criteria for the log postings.

Assessment of the log can be done continuously by handing in the logs to the teacher according to a prescheduled plan and then used in succeeding learning activities. The logs can also be handed in by the end of a course for a final assessment from the teacher. Peer feedback is often included in the learning process.

This assessment method is to a high extent learning enhancing as it focuses on the student’s reflection on own and peer students’ learning.

This assessment method is also suited for group examination.

Learning objective that can be addressed using this assessment method
Knowledge of theory, method and practice (X)
Understanding and reflecting on theory, method and practice X
Applying methods and tools X
Assessing problem definitions and selecting solution models  
Communicate and discuss academic issues  
Dealing with complex situations – in the context of studying or work X
Ability to independently initiate collaboration (X)
Taking responsibility for personal learning and development X

X indicates that this assessment method is suitable for testing the learning outcome. (X) indicates that this assessment method is of only limited use for this.

Evaluating the method of assessment

Assessment Criteria
Validity The log ensures high content validity, as it continuously asks for the students’ reflections on what is going on in the study programme. Construct validity is also high if the student’s capabilities are to be assessed within a complex, complicated phenomenon sometimes beyond the scope of other types of testing.
Reliability It is important to establish clear marking criteria for the specific log postings. Not just clear criteria for the content of the postings but also for the language, length and other formalities.

As the content of a log mostly consists of reflections on own learning it is important to be clear as to how reflections is assessed. Inspiration to mapping of levels of reflection can be found in Kember et al. (2008) (1). Here levels of reflection is categorised as habitual action/non-reflection, understanding, reflection and critical reflection.
Backwash effect from testing to teaching This assessment method encourages students to become more self-reflective, active and independent learners.
Resources The log is continuously created by the student and is hence build into the study programme.

Depending on the criteria for the specific log postings the assessment of the logs is more or less time consuming for the teacher.

Peer feedback of the log can be a possibility as the insight into the reflections of peers contributes to one’s own reflection.
Digitisation Offers the opportunity for the log to incorporate electronic elements, e.g. audio, images, film. This also makes sharing/distribution straightforward.
Acceptance Most students will have had little previous experience with this assessment method and hence they will probably doubt this method as valid. Acceptance requires patience, coaching and illustrative examples.


Additional reading

(1) Kember, McKay, Sinclair & Wong (2008). A four-category scheme for coding and assessing the level of reflection in written work. Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, 33 (4), 369-379