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Assess students

Planning steps

This guide is designed primarily for college and university faculty but can also be used by K-12 teachers. By following each step, you will create a student assessment plan customized to your needs. While some of the tasks may seem self-evident, they are all necessary to create a valid assessment.

STEP 1: Describe the learning context

Considering the subject area, difficulty, constraints, student information, and other characteristics of the course or activity will set the frame of reference for all subsequent planning decisions in a student assessment. Use Worksheet A to help describe your learning context.

View a completed example of Worksheet A .

STEP 2: Identify stakeholders and their needs

Explore your goals as the instructor, the department or university’s objectives, and especially the characteristics and needs of the students in order to clearly determine your assessment purpose and learning objectives of the course or activity. Use Worksheet B to help identify your stakeholder needs.

View a completed example of Worksheet B.

STEP 3: Create the learning objectives

Identifying clear objectives for the course or activity helps determine how to conduct the assessment. These objectives are statements that describe the knowledge, skills, or behaviors students are expected to learn by the end of a course or activity. [more]

STEP 4: Determine how you will use the results

Determine whether you will use your assessments to informally monitor student work, provide feedback, document progress, or to formally evaluate student knowledge. Decide how frequently you would like to conduct student assessment. Try to identify at least three points: one early in the semester, one midway, and one near the end of the semester. This will help you monitor student progress and make any adjustments that might be necessary. How you use assessments and how frequently you use them will help you determine which assessment method(s) to use.

STEP 5: Create an assessment plan

The assessment plan is a detailed description of how to implement the assessment and can be displayed in a separate document or within the course syllabus. The plan includes the course learning objectives, assessment points, the assessment method(s) that will be used, and performance criteria for each method (view example). Use the method selection tool to help you determine the best assessment method(s) for your course or activity.

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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