Educational Effectiveness Resources Assessment Resources
What is Assessment?
Assessment is the ongoing process of
- establishing clear, measurable expected outcomes of student learning
- ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve these outcomes
- systematically gathering, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations
- using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning
(adapted from Assessing Student Learning by Linda Suskie, 2009)
Direct Assessment Methods include standardized and locally developed tests, student portfolios, embedded assessments and course activities, and oral examinations (competence interviews)
Indirect Assessment Methods include surveys, interviews, focus groups, and reflective essays
Embedded Assessment occurs within the regular class or curricular activity. Class assignments linked to student learning outcomes through primary trait analysis serve as grading and assessment instruments (i.e., common test questions, projects or writing assignments). Specific questions can be embedded on exams in classes across courses, departments, programs, or the institution. Embedded assessment can provide formative information for pedagogical improvement and student learning needs.
Authentic Assessment simulates a real world experience by evaluating the student’s ability to apply critical thinking and knowledge or to perform tasks that may approximate those found in the work place or other venues outside of the classroom setting. In contrast, traditional assessment sometimes relies on indirect or proxy items such as multiple choice questions focusing on content or facts.
Assessment-Review Cycle is the process, also called closing the loop, which is the completion of student learning outcomes creation, data collection, analysis, and reevaluation
Suggestions for Classroom Assessment: One-Minute Paper
The one-minute paper is a simple and low-tech classroom assessment device:
- Conclude the regular class lecture or discussion a minute or two before the end of the class.
- Ask each student to take out a sheet of paper and write down, anonymously, brief answers to two questions:
- What is the big point, the main idea that you learned in class today?What is the main unanswered question you leave class with today?
- What is the “muddiest” point?
- Collect student responses (you may place a box next to the door of the classroom and students will drop their papers into the box as they leave) and riffle through them. It usually takes 5-10 minutes.
- You will be surprised at how quickly you will learn exactly what the students understood, what was not so clear to them, and even may get some good ideas about how to begin your next class, in response to these one-minute papers.
The additional benefits of administering this simple test include:
- It requires more active listening from students.
- It helps students identify for themselves how they are doing in your class.
- It improves and focuses students' writing. Responses during the last week of a class are usually longer and more thoughtful and articulate than those during the early weeks.
- It helps document for students that they are indeed learning something substantial in the course.
- It can be documented as an indirect assessment technique for assessment purposes.
(adapted from Making the Most of the College: Students Speak Their Minds by Richard Light, 2001)
Student Learning Outcomes
- SLO definition Student learning outcomes (SLOs) are the specific observable or measurable results that are expected subsequent to a learning experience. These outcomes may involve knowledge (cognitive), skills (behavioral), or attitudes (affective) that provide evidence that learning has occurred as a result of a specified course, program activity, or process. A SLO refers to an overarching outcome for a course (CLO), degree or certificate program (PLO and General Education SLO), student services area (such as the library), or institutional outcome (ILO).
- The Basic Features of SLOs:
- Consistent with the institution/program mission and goals
- Few in number
- Used by faculty/staff to set priorities and make data-guided decisions concerning curriculum, pedagogy, faculty support, student support, and resource allocation.
- Types of Student Learning Outcomes
- Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
- Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
- General Education Student Learning Outcomes (GE SLOs)
- Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)
Developing Effective Student Learning Outcomes
- What's the Difference between Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes?
- Guidelines for Writing Effective Student Learning Outcomes
- Creating Quality Outcomes
- Rubric for Assessing the Quality of Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
A rubric is scoring guide in the form of a list of chart that describes the criteria that faculty use to evaluate student learning in relation to specific learning outcomes or grade completed student assignments. Rubrics are composed of four basic parts in which faculty set out the parameters for student learning or the assignment:
- a task description
- a scale of some sort, (three-, four-, or five-point scale). While developing a scale it is important to be clear about expectations and yet not to discourage students even if their performance is below faculty's expectations.
- the dimensions of student learning or the assignment
- the descriptions of what constitutes each level of performance
All these parameters are set out on a grid.
- Holistic Rubrics do not have a list of the things faculty are looking for in student performance. It usually contains a short description of the highest level of performance expected for each dimension, followed by room for scoring and describing in a "Comments" column. Holistic scoring rubrics have three major shortcomings:
- It can be difficult to assign scores consistently using this rubric
- They do not yield feedback on students' strengths and weaknesses
- They require considerable additional explanation in the form of written notes and are more time-consuming that assessment or grading with a three-to-five-level rubric.
- Analytical Rubrics explicitly document faculty standards for student performance at all levels. It takes time to develop succinct, explicit descriptions of every performance level for everything faculty are looking for in student performance. Analytical rubrics are a good choice under the following circumstances:
- Faculty are undertaking important assessments whose results may contribute to major decisions such as program quality, viability and sustainability.
- Several faculty are collectively assessing student work, because analytical rubrics' clear descriptions make scoring consistent across faculty.
- It is important to give students clear, detailed feedback on their strengths and weaknesses.
- Skeptical audience will be examining the rubric scores with a critical eye.
Adapted from Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective Feedback and Promote Student Learning (2005) by Dannelle D. Stevens and Antonia J. Levi and Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide (2009) by Linda Suskie.
Links to useful rubrics:
- VALUE rubrics
The VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) rubrics reflect faculty expectations for essential learning across the nation regardless of type of institution, mission, size or location. The AACU rubric development teams relied on existing campus rubrics when available, other organizational statements on outcomes, experts in the respective fields and faculty feedback from campuses throughout the process. Each VALUE rubric contains the most common and broadly shared criteria or core characteristics considered critical for judging the quality of student work in that outcome area.
You need to register by inputting your email address on the AACU website so that you can receive access to the VALUE rubrics. The registration is free.