Q. What is assessment?
Assessment is the collection and interpretation of information about what, how much, and how well students are learning. It is part of the instruction model of planning/teaching/assessing and refers to the assignments and tasks that provide information to improve the learning experience of current and future students.
Assessment is not:
- It is not solely an administrative activity, though University administration may assist you.
- It is not necessarily testing nor a series of tests, though testing can be a part of assessment.
- It is not a part of the University's faculty evaluation system.
- It intrudes neither on the faculty member's classroom nor academic freedom.
(Adapted from Patrick T. Terenzini)
- Helps faculty obtain feedback on:
- It focuses on improving learning, rather than improving teaching.
- It helps faculty become better educators.
- It provides systematic feedback to students about their progress.
Q. What are some benefits of formative assessment for faculty?
- Provides for a more learner-centered, student-responsive classroom environment
- Helps faculty stay abreast of student learning as it is happening
- Helps faculty adjust their teaching strategies to accommodate gaps in learning that can be tied to instruction
- Helps faculty identify what to teach, including the sequencing of discipline-specific knowledge and skills.
- Helps provide for section-to-section consistency
- Provides structure for co-curricular programs
Q. What are some benefits of assessment for students?
- Clarifies faculty's expectations of them
- Focuses more on learning as students see the connection between learning and course content
- Helps students become more self-reflective learners
- Helps students understand their strengths and weaknesses as students
- Helps opens lines of communication and feedback between you and your students
Q. How is assessment different from grading?
- Grades provide an overall evaluation of how much material students mastered; it is a net measure of learning. Grades do not reveal which learning outcomes students achieved and which outcomes they did not.
Q. Are grades useful in an assessment plan?
- Grades are valuable as indirect measures of student learning. Grades can also be useful as more direct measures if tests are designed wtih grading charts so that the professor can quickly ascertain that students mastered one set of concepts but not another. If essay and paper assignments are designed with rubrics that define the elements of thinking and writing expected, the professor can ascertain that students mastered some and not others.