Assessments Dec 18, 2019 23:03:31 GMT
Post by Admin on Dec 18, 2019 23:03:31 GMT
As a teacher, you want your students to learn. What do you want them to learn and how do you know that they have learned it? In a course, you give students a grade at the end of the term that represents their level of success at completing the course. The grade is based on a collection of information you’ve gathered over the term and which you will use to gauge the level of student success at reaching the overall goals of the course. The tools you use to gather the student information are called assessments; undoubtedly you have created and run these assessments in every course you have ever taught.
what are your students actually learning?
You have your learning goals so you know what your students should to be able to do (i.e. what they can do should show what they have learned). Assessments will help you determine if they really are learning those materials and skills.
Three-Step Guide to Creating Assessments
Step 1 – What are you assessing?
Take one of your learning goals. If it has been written carefully you can already think of one or two test questions that might be easily written to test this goal. The best assessments (e.g. those that are most engaging) involve real-world problems or activities related to your students’ experiences. Using a goal to develop an assessment is called ‘alignment’ and is the key to ensuring you are measuring the skills you want your students to master.
Step 2 – Which assessments strategy should you use?
You know what topic or idea you want to assess. The next question is HOW to assess it. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to assess students’ knowledge or skill level. Remember, depending on the learning goal, something as simple as listening to group conversations may suffice. Explore assessment types from Pedagogy in Action.
Step 3 – Refine and Iterate
You did the hard work of designing an assessment and ensuring it aligned with one or more learning goals. Once your students have completed the assessment, there are a number of ways to determine if your assessment was an effective tool to gauge student learning. For example, if your assessment is a report or written assignment, peer-review of a rough draft is a good way for you (and your students) to know how they compare to their peers. Another way to get information on the effectiveness of an assessment is to survey your students, asking them their experience with the assessment. A “minute-paper” reflection, 2 or 3 questions put on the board/overhead or on the assessment itself, formal online survey tool, any of these will provide you with valuable information. Or if your assessment is a multiple choice test, you could use an item analysis to determine the quality and difficulty of each question based on the student results. Refine your assessment as needed.
what assessments do you currently use?
Here are some assessments you may already use with your students and an explanation as to how the type of assessment is useful to understand student learning.
I test my students a few times over the term, a midterm and a final.
Exams help you in assessing your students’ ability to demonstrate their proficiency or mastery of the course materials. These assessments are in all likelihood perfectly adequate for what you hope to know about student performance. That said, there numerous additional ways to assess students, ways that provide additional perspectives, some of which are explored below.
I give my students weekly homework sets, quizzes on the reading, two midterms and a final. It keeps them busy and there is a decent amount of grading but I like being able to provide extra feedback on homework and quizzes that ultimately help students prepare for the midterms and the final.
Great! The homework and quizzes provide opportunities for feedback so students will have a better sense of whether or not they are understanding what you want them to understand. More opportunities for feedback show students you care about their progress and gives them more milestones to reflect on that progress.
I do all of those assessments plus I assign group projects where students must synthesize the big ideas from the course and produce final reports and presentations. They provide anonymous peer-reviews of other students’ report rough drafts and therefore have a gauge on how they are doing compared to their peers.
All of these are great techniques for assessing student learning, more information about designing aligned assessments can be found below and in the References and Resources page.
types of assessment
Below we discuss three types of assessment and how they could be used for your course.
Diagnostic: Used to determine current state of learning (e.g. pre-tests, surveys, self assessments)
Formative: Used to monitor student learning, benefits include immediate feedback in a low stakes environment
Summative: Used to evaluate learning. A summative assessment is measured against a benchmark or standard, is administered in a high-stakes environment, and is aligned with the learning goals.
Find out more about assessment types.