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Student Assessment


Last Updated:
March 2, 2023

First Published:
March 1, 2022


Assessment tools can help faculty evaluate how well their learners have met learning goals and objectives. Faculty can use formal assessment tools, like examinations and quizzes, to gauge student learning. Additionally, faculty can use informal assessment tools like in-class discussion, two-sentence mini-papers in class, brief student surveys or Socratic questioning, to determine if students are learning effectively. Frequent assessment allows faculty to be responsive educators to student learning needs.
Use the comments section below to let us know how you Assess Student Learning.

  • Researchers identified 10 maxims of formative assessment: faceless, facilitates learning, feedback, feedforward, focus on learning, flexibility, fast, frequent, friendly, fun. These maxims capture effective ways to collect and analyze formative assessment techniques. Feedforward, for example, considers feedback as a loop in which students receive feedback, based on assessment, and are guided on how to improve rather than simply being told about a gap in their learning.

  • Maintaining academic integrity with online assessment can be challenging, but research has shown that certain strategies, like offering an open-notes option, using a watermark, or having timed exams can mitigate dishonesty. Additionally, using authentic assessment techniques, like a paper or project, or using a monitoring software, like Proctor U or Respondus, can minimize risk of academic dishonesty.

    • Raje, S., & Stizel, S. (2020). Strategies for effective assessments while ensuring academic integrity in general chemistry courses during COVID-19. Journal of Chemistry Education, 97(9), 3436–3440. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00797

  1. Use formative assessments. Formative Assessments are frequent, ‘low stakes’ evaluations that are meant to guide student learning. These assessments may include items like brief quizzes, Poll Everywhere questions or a graded discussion in-class. Formative assessment can also form scaffolding pieces of a bigger project, such as a research proposal submitted for feedback prior to a longer project.
  2. Combine summative assessments with formative assessments to evaluate student learning. Summative Assessments are higher stakes evaluations, like examinations, final papers, or major projects. These assessments are usually administered at the end of a term or unit in order to test student learning of specific learning goals.
  3. Develop rubrics to support grading. Rubrics are guidelines developed by a faculty to ensure consistency with grading and to establish clear standards for your students to follow when completing an assignment.
  4. Align assessment with learning goals. Ensure that you base your assessment tools on your course goals. For instance, if you want students to describe a certain phenomenon, ensure that the assessment offers students a chance to describe the phenomenon, such as in an essay question, open-ended question on a quiz or a presentation.


  • Cross, K.P., & Angelo, T.A. (1991). Classroom assessment techniques: a handbook for faculty development. University of Michigan.  https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED317097.pdf

  • Seifert, T., & Feliks, O. (2019). Online self-assessment and peer-assessment as a tool to enhance student-teachers’ assessment skills. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 44(2), 169-185. doi: 10.1080/02602938.2018.1487023