Assessment and Evaluation

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To better understand how students are assessing your class and to gain feedback about how to improve for the rest of the semester, we suggest that faculty consider gathering formative assessment feedback. The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning and provide you with ongoing feedback that you can use to improve your teaching. Formative assessment can help you to recognize when your students are struggling and enable you to address problems in the middle of the semester.

Assessment Overview: Assessment involves the use of empirical data on student learning to refine programs and improve student learning (Assessing Academic Programs in Higher Education by Allen 2004). As you design an assessment plan, be sure to align it to your student-learning objectives and outcomes for the course. Visit the UConn Assessment page for a wide variety of resources on designing and using assessments.

General Guidelines:

  • Focus on formative assessment.
  • Make assessments authentic.
  • Beware of using a grading system to punish.
  • Don’t let your grading system design your course.
  • Strive for a design that promotes a culture of learning, not earning.

For details on these and other guidelines specific to online courses, visit 10 Assessment Design Tips for Increasing Online Student Retention, Satisfaction and Learning

Formative Assessments: Formative assessments (interactive classroom discussions, self-assessments, warm-up quizzes, mid-semester evaluations, exit quizzes, etc.) monitor student learning.

  • These are short term, as they are most applicable when students are in the process of making sense of new content and applying it to what they already know.
  • The most striking feature of these types of assessments is the immediate feedback, which helps students make changes to their understanding of the material and allows the teacher to gauge student understanding and adapt to the needs of the students.
  • These types of assessments often do not carry any credit associated with the student grade.

At UConn you can use interactive clickers to do formative assessments during the course of a lecture.

Interim Assessments: Interim assessments (concept tests, quizzes, written essays, etc.) may be more formal and can occur throughout the semester.

  • Typically, students are given the opportunity to revisit and perhaps revise these assessments after they have received feedback.
  • This type of assessment can be particularly useful in addressing the knowledge gaps in student understanding and can help you formulate better lesson plans during the course.
  • The feedback to students is quick but not necessarily immediate.
  • These types of assessment may count toward a small percentage of the student grade.

Summative Assessments: Summative assessments (typically midterm or final exams) evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark.

  • These assessments are formal and have a direct impact on student grades.
  • The feedback to the student may be extremely limited.
  • Generally students do not have the opportunity to re-take the assessment.
  • The results of these assessments can help students understand where they stand in the class by comparing grades and, if applicable, by looking at the descriptive statistics such as average, median and standard deviation.