Course-level assessment is fundamental to faculty practice. It’s a cyclical process of identifying and articulating student learning goals, aligning those goals with the curriculum, collecting evidence of student learning, interpreting the evidence, and using the evidence to improve your students’ learning. It’s a process that you most likely engage in already but perhaps not systematically or intentionally. Your teaching might incorporate assessment practices to the extent that they seem second nature; our intentions here are to draw attention to the individual steps and decisions that comprise course-level assessment, as well as to introduce assessment approaches that may be helpful to you going forward.
IDENTIFYING STUDENT LEARNING GOALS
When setting learning goals, it’s important to consider both the content and skills you want your students to take away from the course.
ALIGNING GOALS WITH YOUR COURSE
A clear and direct articulation of learning goals sets the stage for course and assignment design through better aligned goals, objectives, and teaching strategies.
GATHERING EVIDENCE OF LEARNING
How do you know if your students are achieving their learning goals? You need to collect evidence—evidence of different kinds and on different levels.
INTERPRETING EVIDENCE OF LEARNING
Once you have developed assessment measures for routinely collecting course-level student learning data, the next step is to determine what this evidence tells you about student progress toward the learning goals you have set.
USING EVIDENCE TO IMPROVE LEARNING
Closing the loop for both yourself and your students is the important last step of the assessment process.
The methods, tools, approaches, and examples on these pages demonstrate the many options available for course-level assessment. An ideal process doesn’t exist. Just as there are many different pedagogical approaches, the same is true for course-level assessment. We ask that you consider these various resources and how you might apply them to your own assessment practice.