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Effective Assessment

Assessment

After establishing course goals, designing an effective assessment strategy is the second step in effectively designing a course or learning experience. Quality assessment requires thoughtful design. Instructors need to determine why they are assessing, what they need to assess, and how will they use the assessment data gathered.

It is important to distinguish between assessment activities and assessment tools.

  • Assessment activities are the experiences from which the assessment data is collected using an appropriate assessment tool and include: demonstrations, matching or ranking activities, written assignments (analyses, summaries, literature reviews, reports, etc.), portfolios, performances, problems/challenges, etc.
  • Assessment tools determine the grade, feedback, rank, etc. of each assessment activity and include: checklists, multiple-choice quizzes, rating scales, rubrics, standardized tests, etc.

Effective Course Assessment

An effective course assessment strategy should:

  • be reliable, valid, and rigorous
    • well designed
    • align with course goals and assessment activities
    • minimize/limit bias and less relevant distractors
  • assess the course or learning experience goals
    • determine the degree to which the learner has attained the goals of the course or learning experience (validity)
  • offer a variety of formats (rigor)
  • preferably be integrated into the learning experiences to increase meaningfulness
  • guide learner focus and efforts
  • where appropriate, provided to the learner PRIOR to engaging in the assessment activities (increase meaningfulness)
    • rubrics
    • rating scales
  • be reviewed, discussed, debriefed
  • where appropriate, involve student input
  • be repeatable/applicable (reliable)
  • be informative to the learner

Assessment Tools

If well designed...

  • Checklists are effective for assessing activities involving, e.g.
    • sequencing, following procedures, listing, citing, copying, labelling, matching, mapping, tagging, posting, naming, selecting, grouping, recalling, locating, etc.
  • Multiple choice quizzes/exams are effective for assessing activities involving, e.g.
    • recalling, identifying, sequencing, matching, content knowledge, classifying, differentiating, categorizing, measuring, translating, synthesizing, etc.
  • Rating scales are effective for assessing activities involving, e.g.
    • performing, collaborating, judging, debating, creating, adapting, organizing, categorizing, annotating, reviewing, validating, etc.
  • Rubrics are effective for assessing, e.g.
    • creating, composing, designing, generalizing, demonstrating, summarizing, critiquing, building, editing, categorizing, re-organizing, differentiating, performing, calculating, etc.
  • Universal Design and Assessment
    • Provide EQUITY
    • Include a variety of formats
    • Incorporate choice in ways to express what has been learned

Assessment Tool Resources

Last Published: Mar 12, 2021