Examples of alignment between an objective and assessment:
- A multiple choice quiz verifies that learners can "define" or "identify" vocabulary.
- An assignment shows that learners can "write" or "compose" a composition.
Examples of lack of alignment between an outcome and assessment:
- The objective is to "write a persuasive essay" but the assessment is a multiple-choice test.
- The objective is to "create a body of work that illustrates your photographic vision" but the assessment is a 25-page thesis about contemporary photographers.
A well-designed assessment plan...
Ensures every student can meet the course learning objectives.
Every activity students do in your course should lead them to success on the formative and summative assessments.
Has specific and clear criteria for evaluation and grading so that students know what they need to do to meet expectations.
This may include a list of all activities that contribute to the final grade, the explanation of points and/or percentages, how late work is handled, how often students need to participate, etc.
Has varied methods and timing of assessment to meet the needs of all learners.
For example, quizzes, discussions, presentations and group work are spread throughout the course and major projects are split into logical parts that have incremental due dates.
Assesses students in a logical sequence appropriate for the course content.
For example, assessment in a public speaking course could include an outline of a speech, then a draft of the speech, and then delivering the speech.
Is suitable for the level of the course.
Bloom's Taxonomy provides guidance on cognitive levels for assessment.
Meaningful and constructive feedback...
- Is returned quickly so that students can work toward improvement right away.
- Enhances critical thinking and reflection.
- Develops better student-faculty relationships.
- Fosters a mindset that feedback and correction lead to learning.
- Increases student motivation because students feel the instructor is interested in their success.
- Shows what they did well and where they can improve.
- Provides additional resources for improvement.
Start with a rubric!
- Transparency - Creating and sharing a rubric with your students makes your expectations clear and transparent. Students know what you want from them in the assignment when they have a rubric.
- Consistency - Using a rubric can make your grading more consistent among all students. If you stick to the rubric components when reviewing assignments you will be more likely to grade fairly and consistently.
- Clarity - Creating a rubric forces you to think through the criteria for the assignment before you share it with students, providing a better structure and clarity for your students.
- Reduces bias - When you use a rubric for grading, you grade based on the elements in the assignment and not what you know about the student.
- Reduces grade complaints - When students know your expectations and can see what they missed in a rubric, they are less likely to question the grade you assign.
Review these rubric examples from Edutopia.
Allow Multiple Submissions, Retakes or Dropping of the Lowest Score
Make resubmission a part of the learning process. Provide feedback and give students the opportunity to redo an assignment, retake an exam, or drop a low quiz score.
Offer Learning Resources
Provide students with resources that will help them improve when they miss the mark.
On Exams and Quizzes
- Provide an "unsure" option.
- Use a test wrapper for metacognition. Ask students how and when they studied and what they can do better next time to prepare.
- Use LMS tools to provide instant feedback on exams and quizzes.
Tips for Success
- Set aside a time each day or week for grading and feedback.
- Let students know when and how you will provide feedback for each assignment or assessment.
- Be kind. Think about how you would feel reading your comment before you share it with the student.
- Consider video feedback for a more personal touch.