Assessment

“Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and, using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance.” Angelo, T. A., 1995. Reassessing (and Defining) Assessment. The AAHE Bulletin, 48 (2).

If learning is the goal of teaching, then it is crucial that assessment be closely integrated with learning outcomes and instructional activities.

Articles on evaluation

Additional books available in the CTLAE

  • Angelo, T.A., & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
  • Banta, T.W. Lund. J.P., et. al. (1996). Assessment in Practice: Putting Principles to Work on College Campuses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Brown, S., & Glasner, A. (Eds.) (1999). Assessment Matters in Higher Education: Choosing and Using Diverse Approaches. Open University Press.
  • Fink. L.D. (2003). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. Jossey-Bass
  • Huba, M. E. & Freed, J. E. (2000). Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Allyn and Bacon.

Additional external web resources

Assignment design

Both teachers and students invest significant time and energy into course assignments. When assignments are well-designed and engage students in authentic learning tasks, everyone benefits; students become more engaged in the learning process and teachers find the marking process more meaningful.

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Academic Excellence (CTLAE) has many resources and tools that help faculty with assignment design. Consider attending a workshop or consulting with CTLAE staff on this important assessment topic.

CTLAE workshop resources – assignment design

  • Pedagoggle: Designing Effective Assignments (Vol. 3, No. 2): This pedagoggle walks through an instructional design process that works effectively for assignments.
  • An Overview of Integrated Course Design: This short overview is based on D. Fink’s work in the area of designing significant learning experiences. Fink’s book is available in CTLAE. See references below.
  • Assignment Design Process Map: This scaffolding resource helps with the deconstruction of assignments. It facilitates reflection on how assignments are supported and whether assignment expectations are realistic and achievable for students.
  • Active Learning Continuums: This handout is based on work by Sutherland and Bonwell (1996) and provides a framework for designing learning tasks in a way that takes into account learning objectives, task complexity, learning/teaching styles, and students’ level of experience. Sutherland, T.E. and Bonwell, C.C. (Eds.) (1996). Using Active Learning in College Classrooms: A Range of Options for Faculty: New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 67. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. This book is available in the CTLAE.
  • Objectives: Definition, Rationale, and Structure: Having clear learning objectives can help focus both student and teacher time and energy. Assignments that are designed around focused and authentic objectives are more engaging for students to do and for teachers to evaluate.
  • Academic Integrity: Designing assignments that promote academic integrity benefits both teachers and students. Several web resources are listed below including Georgian’s Academic Policies and Procedures, The Centre for Academic Integrity, and a couple of articles on plagiarism.

Sample assignments

Articles on assignment design

Books available in the CTLAE – assignment design

  • Bean, J.C. (2001). Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking and Active Learning in the Classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Fink, L.D. (2003). Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Huba, M.E. and Freed, J.E. (2000). Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Allyn and Bacon.

External web resources – assignment design

  • Georgian Academic Policies and Procedures. Retrieved September 2009. Designing assignments in ways that promote academic integrity creates a better learning experience for both faculty and staff. Becoming knowledgeable about academic policies and procedures is important for all faculty.
  • Centre for Academic Integrity. Retrieved September 2009 from http://www.academicintegrity.org/. The Centre for Academic Integrity defines academic integrity as a commitment to the fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. Georgian College endorses these values and is committed to translating them into action.

Formative assessment

Reviewing refers to “an activity that is used to encourage individuals to reflect, describe, analyze and communicate what they recently experienced.” L. K. Quinsland and A. Van Ginkel (1984), How to Process Experience, The Journal of Experiential Education, 7 (2), page eight to 13.

Active reviews can be a great way to build a comfort level for both you and the students for active learning in general. As with all learning activities, it is important to consider structure, relevance, meaning and variety. Consider attending workshops to experience a variety of strategies and consider which ones might fit with your teaching style and your courses.

PEDAGOGGLES

CTLAE workshop resources – performance

Books available in the CTLAE – performance

  • Angelo, T.A. and Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (2nd edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

External web resources – performance

Portfolios

Books available in the CTLAE – portfolios

  • Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000). Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Allyn and Bacon.
  • Wyatt, R.L. and Looper, S. (1999). So You Have to Have a Portfolio: A Teacher’s Guide to Preparation and Presentation. Corwin Press.
  • Herteis, E.M. and Simmons, N. (2010). The Portfolio Process. Green Guide No. 10: Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education.

External web resources – portfolios

Presentations

The final element in many student projects is a classroom presentation. This is an effective way to share the benefits of student work with the whole class. Presentations may be graded as part of a course mark.

It is essential to link presentation assignments to learning objective(s). Students must understand how their efforts will help them achieve course success. Assignments must be clearly written with achievable goals. Students benefit from a scoring rubric shared with them in advance of the work to be done.

External web resources – presentations

Evaluating Multimedia Presentations, by David Walbert: “A PowerPoint presentation is just another form of communication, and the same rules apply to multimedia that apply to writing or verbal communication. This article offers guidelines for using and assigning multimedia presentations in the classroom and includes a rubric based on the Five Features of Effective Writing. It’s possible to use PowerPoint as part of a presentation that is thoughtful, educational and encouraging of higher-order thinking, that gives students a chance to apply, synthesize and evaluate information rather than merely reciting it, that opens the door to debate rather than closing it.”

Rubrics

Please visit the CTLAE calendar to find out when the next Rubric workshop is offered. Feel free to set up a consultation with one of the faculty in CTLAE to discuss your rubrics.

CTLAE workshop resources – rubrics

Sample rubrics

Books available in the CTLAE – rubrics

  • Huba, M. E. and Freed, J. E. (2000). Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Allyn and Bacon.
  • Stevens, D.D. and Levi. A.J. (2005). Introduction to Rubrics: An Assessment Tool to Save Grading Time, Convey Effective Feedback and Promote Student Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

External web resources – rubrics

  • Rubistar: Rubric Creator. Retreived August 2009 from: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/. RubiStar is a tool that generates rubrics for a lot of assignment types and can be a helpful way to get started. Although it is not designed for college level, it offers great ideas for areas of assessment and words that might be used in the descriptors.
  • VALUE Rubrics: Valid Assessement of Learning in Undergraduate Education. Association of American Colleges and Universities.
  • VALUE Rubric Development Project: This site has well-developed rubrics for many essential skills (e.g., critical thinking, team learning, written and oral communication). Although you have to provide some personal information before accessing the rubrics, it is well worth it: http://www.aacu.org/value/rubrics/.