Aiding improvement through assessment

“Assessment is the process of documenting in measurable terms knowledge, skills, attitudes, and beliefs. Assessment can provide feedback to students, instructors, administrators, and accrediting agencies about the effectiveness of a range of processes and outcomes, including teaching, learning, and organizational success. It can be formative or summative.” - ITS, Office of Learning, Teaching, and Technology. 

In simple words, assessment is the process of obtaining information about students’ learning, how well they are doing, and eventually how to help them improve. Assessment should be strictly based on objective goals. 

Types of assessment

Formative assessment

The goal of formative assessment is to keep track with students’ learning. Formative assessment provides the latest and continuing feedback on students’ performance so instructors can make any necessary adjustments.

Formative assessment also helps to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and recognize whether they are struggling so instructors can offer help immediately.

Types of formative assessment often include short (15-minute) quizzes, short presentations, homework assignments, reviews/evaluations, discussions, etc. These assessments are usually considered low stakes as they weigh low in the cumulative total grade.

Summative assessment

The goal of the summative assessment is to measure the student’s performance at some periods of time (usually the middle and the end) of the course. This type of assessment is considered high stakes as they account for a high percentage of the total grade of the course.

Summative assessment could be a midterm/final exam, final project, final presentation, a paper, case study, etc.