Most of us are familiar with the traditional methods for assessing student learning, such as the research paper or the final exam. However, there are so many other ways for us to assess whether or not students have met the course learning outcomes. Have a look at these two extensive lists:
It can feel a bit overwhelming at times: How should you decide which approach to use and when?
Here are some key considerations:
Bloom’s Taxonomy can be helpful in deciding when to use different assessment methods. Consider the cognitive processes of “Remember and Understand” as building blocks that need to be achieved earlier in the term or when introducing new information. You may use low stakes quizzes (e.g. multiple choice, true/false questions) to reinforce and drill basic core concepts. Later in the term, or in higher level courses, we often want students to “Apply” the basic concepts, as well as “Analyze, Evaluate, or Create”. Assessments that involve these higher order cognitive processes include: short answer scenarios on exams, open-book exams, take-home exams, case studies, group projects, presentations, debates, demonstrations, reflective papers, portfolios, etc.
Traditional assessments, such as quizzes and exams, are often tightly timed and may be looking for specific correct responses on isolated facts and skills. While they can play an important role, they can tend to focus primarily on measuring the lower level cognitive processes, unless higher order word problems are also included. Providing students more time to think can really help those who struggle with test anxiety and encourage a more reflective process. Authentic assessments require students to use knowledge and skills in several different ways that tend to be more complex, and may take more time to complete.
Brief examples of authentic assessment activities (Shared with permission from: Kay Sambell and Sally Brown): All of the tasks below require students to source and evaluate reference material, which they would need to list and formulate appropriately for the context. These tasks could be undertaken under a range of time constraints in specific locations or provided flexibly should circumstances require this.
Authentic assignments should be based on “student activities that replicate real world performances as closely as possible” (Svinicki, 2004, p. 23).
"Few students end up with jobs where they get paid to fill out multiple-choice test bubble sheets.” (Frye, Schmitt, and Allen, 2012, p. 12).
Other examples of subject specific, fully-developed, authentic assessments (used with permission from Sambell and Brown)
For more examples, check out Sambell and Brown’s Assessment Collection(Note these may need to be adapted for a Camosun and current context). firstname.lastname@example.org). If you have Camosun specific examples to share here, please contact Martha McAlister. (