"The world cares very little about what a man or woman knows; it is what the man or woman is able to do that counts."
- Booker T. Washington

A faculty member plans a science course for a cohort of auto technology students. Understanding that most of these students have excellent kinestic skills, but often find traditional lectures boring and challenging, he designs the course with his students in mind. He does two key things. First, he requires the students to take notes and regularly stops them and reviews the notes just taken, offering lots of support for building effective techniques. Second, he breaks the lecture portions of the class into 8 - 10 minute segments. Each segment begins with a "what do you know about this" question which the students answer verbally in quick succession. He ends each module with a series of review questions. He is using classroom assessment techniques to gauge students' learning and to keep students involved.

This lesson focuses on many different methods for assessing students and involving them in improving the course and evaluating their own learning. It is important to note that our use of the word assessment does not equate to assessment for the purpose of course placement. Instead, we use it as defined by Thomas Angelo:

Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems, assessment can help us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education. (Angelo, T.A. Reassessing (and Defining) Assessment. The AAHE Bulletin, 48(2), November 1995, pp. 7-9.):

In short, classroom assessment, is a simple method faculty can use to collect feedback, early and often, on how well their students are learning. Its purpose is to provide faculty with information and insights needed to improve teaching effectiveness and learning quality.

Developing good assessment tools can be time consuming at first, but the improvement to student learning is well worth the effort. Students are often more focused upon getting the grade and being judged fairly than they are on their own learning. Effective assessment techniques can satisfy studentsí short term desires and assure they have learned the information necessary to be successful in subsequent endeavors. Students will appreciate your efforts now and into the future.

- by Kristina Kauffman and Cassie Morton


This module contains the following main readings:

  1. Assessment Overview
  2. Methods of Assessment
  3. Assessing Your Teaching


By the end of this module you should be able to:

1. Correlate your assignments, tests, and grading to what you want your students to learn.

2. Design an assessment process that will provide early and frequent feedback to students on their essential learning in your course.

3. Use teaching portfolios and classroom assessment techniques as methods of self assessment.


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Knowledge Check

The assessment tool that identifies factors, supplies a performance scale, and has criteria to measure student performance against is known as:

A. a rubric.
B. a baseline.
C. the bell curve.
D. Occam's Razor.