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I have a project to deliver an online assessment of a large number of users. The assessment is for a psychological research project, so the content is mostly self-description asked in a variety of fashions. The question types are quite varied, and include Likert scales, fill-in-the-blank, word ordering, matching graphics, etc. The users speak the same language (English) and have a mostly homogeneous cultural background.

Users can only take the assessment once and they are limited to forward movement through the assessment because the later questions are chosen based on prior answers.

Given that the assessment can only be taken once and is forward-only, it is vital that the user achieves a high level of understanding and proficiency performing the assessment on their first and only visit.

What best practices, publications, and/or resources exist for designing an effective online assessment?

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The following links could help:

All of them are customized to show entries for online assessment

And of course Wikipedia's References on Online Assessment

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I turned up a few specific resources: link –  Jeff Dec 22 '12 at 22:05
    
There's not a lot of specific resources on this topic. Here's a couple I found: Assessing the Online Learner, Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt Assessing the Usability of On-Line Instructional Materials, Brad Mehlenbacher –  Jeff Dec 22 '12 at 22:13
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