10 Tips to Refine Your Course Assessments

Tip #1

Make sure you measure each of your learning outcomes with at least one assignment, activity, quiz or exam.

Tip #2

Check student progress throughout the semester with low-stakes formative assessments. Regular, low-stakes assessments let you and the student know how they are doing during your course, not just after it’s too late to make a change.

Tip #3

The best summative assessments are cumulative and require students to recall and retrieve important information, at different times, in multiple ways.

Tip #4

Be transparent. Let students know how, when and why they are being assessed.

Tip #5

Provide clear instructions for every assignment, activity and exam question, along with the resources needed for students to be successful.

Tip #6

Use a combination of assessment types to meet the needs of diverse learners. Provide multiple ways for students to show their learning.

Tip #7

Complete the assessment yourself or have a colleague complete it and evaluate the instructions. If you can’t do it, they won’t be able to either.

Tip #8

For assignments and essay-type questions, rubrics are an essential tool to ensure fairness, objectivity and consistency in your grading.

Tip #9

Using multiple choice questions doesn’t mean you can’t test higher order thinking.

Tip #10

Keep in mind when you design your assessments that you are measuring a student’s knowledge, not their test-taking skills.