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Types of teaching assessment

Teaching assessments can be used in a variety of mediums.   The most commonly used types are to assess instructor performance or effectiveness, course evaluation, instructional activities, and content matching.

Teacher performance/effectiveness
Generally the most common form of teaching assessment.   In college, this approach is usually assessed by student evaluations of teaching effectiveness, or other surveys such as the course instructor survey.   There are a variety of forms one can use in the classroom depending upon the university, department, and delivery method(s) used for instruction.   In primary and secondary education, teaching effectiveness is usually evaluated by an administrator for annual review or promotion standards.  
Course evaluation
Similar and sometimes difficult to distinguish from assessment of teaching effectiveness.   In post-secondary settings, questions related to the course evaluation are usually embedded within student rating surveys making it hard to differentiate between the two types.   One reason is because course evaluations are relatively broad in nature, inquiring students overall satisfaction with the course or content.  
Instructional activities
These are the assessments of specific steps, strategies, innovations, assignments, and/or actions used in instruction.   For example, an instructor can assess student satisfaction with a certain reading assignment from last week using Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) or the Online Course Assessment (OCA) system
Course mapping

Course mapping is assessing if your learning objectives are aligned with the class content.   That is, ensuring the course objectives are being encouraged and measured by use of assignments, class activities, and exams.   A matrix is generally used for this type of assessment (View example)


All four of these common teaching assessments can either be formative or summative depending upon when the assessment is implemented and how the results are used.  


Formative assessment

Formative assessment is a study conducted during the course and provides information useful in improving instruction.

Usually, instructors are concerned with learning how to improve their teaching or course and, therefore, interested in these formative reports from assessments.    

Formative assessment may provide answers to these following questions, “What changes should be made in my instruction?”, “Which activities are being implemented effectively?”

Summative assessment

Summative assessment in contrast, is a study conducted at the end of a course to inform the instructor or stakeholders of judgments about the course’s merit and to assist making decisions about future course instruction.

Summative assessments may answer questions such as, “Was I overall an effective instructor?”,  “Did the students find the course of any value?”,  “Did the exams assess all the necessary learning objectives?”

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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