In outcomes-based education, course assessments must assess the course learning outcomes, and only the learning outcomes. As you get started, it is recommended that you create an assessment blueprint – a document that maps your assessments to your learning outcomes. By the end of the semester, your students should be able to meet the learning outcomes of your course at the appropriate level (Bloom’s Taxonomy).
Types of Assessment:
How do we determine that the students have met the learning outcomes of the course? How will we evaluate their learning and perhaps even more importantly how do we assess their learning as the course progresses?
Assessment of, for, and as learning asks us to consider how we intend on using the variety of tasks and assignments that are used in the classroom.
Assessment of learning is often called summative assessment – these are the major assessments of the course – the major projects, essays midterm and final exams
Assessment for learning is diagnostic and formative for the purposes of improving learning (involves both the teacher and the student in a process of continual reflection and review about achievement of the learning outcomes). To complete an assessment for learning, one identifies what the students already know, and/or what has been retained from previous lesson(s). The information gathered is used to determine how to proceed with the lesson(s). Formative assessments may or may not be graded – they are “low stakes” assessments. Assessments for learning may be used as a guide for us to adjust classroom instruction based upon how well the students are understanding the course content. Similarly, students are provided valuable feedback on their own learning.
Assessment as learning is a process of developing and supporting students’ active participation in their learning. Self and peer assessments provide students with opportunity to use feedback to improve learning. Classroom polling, pre-lesson quizzes or assessment, and in-lesson quizzing or questioning allow students to “test” their skills and/or knowledge and to identify what they understand and what they need to keep working on. Find great ideas in “Dipsticks: Efficient Ways to Check for Understanding” (scroll half way down the page to find a list of 53 ways to check for understanding).
Here is a guide for aligning assessments, learning outcomes and learning activities:
Angelo, Thomas A. and K. Patricia Cross. Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. 2nd edition. Jossey-Bass; San Francisco, 1993 has a myriad of techniques that can be used to assess learning – here are some of their suggestions for Formative Assessments.
The Assessment Blueprint is a tool to help you align your assessments to your learning outcomes, which allows you to make sure that your assessment plan fits the learning outcomes.
General Assessment Support
- A Focus on Learning Outcomes: Assessment of LOs
- Question Stems at Various Levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: A Focus on Learning Outcomes: Bloom’s Taxonomy
- Georgian College Centre for Teaching and Learning
- Seneca’s Guide to Assessing Digital Assignments
Other Factors to Consider:
- Professional associations’ guidelines re. assessment (for programs where graduates require certification after graduation)
- School policies on assessments
- Seneca’s Student Assessment Policy
A rubric is a document which communicates performance expectations. It contains “criteria” which will be assessed, and levels of performance quality (often with mark ranges). When distributed to students with an assignment, a rubric aids in their understanding how their work will be graded. It would also be used by the professor to provide feedback (marks AND comments) on completed student work.
Resources on Multiple Choice Testing
- Tips for Writing Good Multiple Choice Questions (Faculty Focus)
- Writing Good Multiple Choice Questions (Vanderbilt University)
- Blackboard Help: Tests, Surveys and Pools
Peer Assessment information from McGill University
Seneca Links and Resources:
Other Assessment Resources