A Broad View of Classroom Assessment

The ECEC serves as a core facility in the College of Engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, providing resources and support for engineering faculty towards the college’s mission of providing excellent post-secondary education.

Classroom assessment is more than exams and final projects. When used most effectively, classroom assessment is a continuous process of gathering information in order to gauge students’ learning, provide feedback, and improve instruction. In many cases, assessment provides additional opportunities for students to interact with and master course topics. It is beneficial to periodically review classroom assessment practices and consider changes that might benefit both instructors and students. Using multiple methods of assessment gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of course content in a variety of ways, and makes it possible to take advantage of the differing strengths of the various methods.

Purposes of Assessment

  • Gauge Learning: Evaluate students’ mastery of the content
  • Plan Instruction: Determine whether to review content or change the pace of instruction
  • Promote Learning: Provide opportunities for students to practice recalling and applying knowledge and skills
  • Give Feedback: Help students know what they have mastered and what they have not
  • Assign Grades: Quantify student learning

Types of Assessment

  • Formative vs Summative: During or after instruction?
  • Formal vs Informal: Planned and separate from instruction or spontaneous and integrated into instruction?
  • Individual vs Group: Completed independently or with other students?
  • Snap-shot vs Extended: A single instance/product or a multi-step/multi-draft work?

Products/Methods of Assessment

  • Tests/Quizzes
  • Assignments
  • Projects
  • In-class activities/Labs
  • Papers
  • Discussions
  • Journals/Reflections

Who is Doing the Assessing

 

  • Instructor
  • Peer(s)
  • Self

 


Factors to Consider

  • Content Coverage: Assessing everything that needs to be assessed
  • Efficiency of Administration and Grading: Balancing the time and resources needed to give assessments and evaluate products
  • Fairness and Equity: Ensuring no students are disadvantaged by the format or non-essential content of the assessment
  • Objectivity of Grading: Using scoring procedures that are minimally affected by external variables
  • Academic Integrity: Enhancing integrity and reducing chances of academic dishonesty
  • Similarity with Future Work: Aligning technical and non-technial components of assessments with skills needed for professional success
  • Usefulness and Delivery of Feedback: Completing the assessment loop by providing timely, informative feedback

Help and Resources

  • Click here to access a workshop on test construction put together by  the Center for Instructional and Institutional Effectiveness at Weber State University.
  • This page from the Boston University Center for Teaching and Learning reviews assessment and some of its impacts on learning and motivation.
  • proola.org is a collaborative assessment development site that has information about assessment literacy and writing high-quality assessment items.
  • This brief article on multiple-perspectives assessment presents a three-pronged assessment using self, peer, and instructor assessment.
  • This file (.xlsx) is a template that can be used to perform a simplified item analysis. It can be used to evaluate the quality of classroom tests and quizzes.

Contact the ECEC for information on using Canvas for classroom assessment or if you have questions about evaluating your classroom assessments.