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What are the most fair and reliable methods of assessment?

Assessment is one of the biggest challenges for new and experienced teachers. Most of the time grading requires that qualitative judgments become quantitative, in a way that often feels arbitrary or inconsistent. Students, and sometimes their parents, are nervous and often upset about grades. Assessment at its best is a communication tool that tells students what skills they have developed and how they should proceed. And it goes both ways. Classroom Assessment Techniques are quick, simple activities you can use to determine what students understand and where they still need help. We've compiled these resources to make assessment less stressful and more useful for both you and the students.


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Rubric

Rubrics
TEP's section on rubrics, which offers an introduction to rubrics, and various rubric resources and samples.

What is a Rubric?
Sample rubrics from the Office of Institutional Assessment and Studies at the University of Virginia.

Example Rubrics from several disciplines
From the University of  Wisconsin: numerous examples of rubrics for several kinds of assignments in several disciplines.

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Direct your comments to the student

Effective Assessment
Our own guide to assessment in the learner centered classroom.

What are you really assessing?
Important questions to ask before you begin any assessment. From the American Psychological Association

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Learning objectives

What should your students be able to do at the end of the term
PennState's excellent site on learning objectives, why we need them, how to create/define them and use them to guide lesson planning.

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Frequent, prompt and facilitative

Overview of Assessment Categories
A comprehensive guide by the APA, designed specifically for use in psychology courses but applicable in several disciplines, that examines and evaluates the value of each of the major assessment categories (overall analysis, objective tests, essay tests, individual and group projects, multiple choice, presentations etc.).  Includes specific recommendations to maximize the utility of each approach.

Ways to Assess Student Learning During Class
TEP's section providing short student engagement activities measuring evidence of student learning during class.

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)
TEP's section on CATs, which offers various resources and samples.

Classroom Assessment Techniques (PDF logoPDF 121K )
What are CATs?  Simple activities faculty can use to collect feedback, early and often, on how well their students are learning what they are being taught. They provide faculty and students with information and insights needed to improve teaching effectiveness and learning quality. College instructors use feedback gleaned through Classroom Assessment to inform adjustments in their teaching. Faculty also share feedback with students, using it to help them improve their learning strategies and study habits in order to become more independent and successful learners. (compiled from Angelo, T.A. and Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Technologies (Second Edition). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.)

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Discuss your assessment

What's really going on when a student is angry about a grade?
From the University of Minnesota at Morris, a response to a teacher who encountered a student who was angry about a grade. Useful and compassionate.

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Systems for assessing outcomes that are difficult to quantify

Assessing participation
The University of Virginia Teaching Resource Center's guide to assessing student participation, includes sample rubric.

Assessing Psychomotor Objectives:
That's right, physical skills! Dance, sport, lab technique, etc.

Assessing Affective Objectives:
Affective domains deal with changes in attitudes and changes in behaviors related to changes in attitudes. An example of a content areas with affective objectives would be diversity awareness and relating to peoples from different backgrounds.  This site provides an explanation of affective goals:
A guide to assessing them

Assessing Creativity
The Higher Education Academy's guide to resources for assessing creative thought in several disciplines.