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Measure Success

How will you determine if your students have successfully mastered the course content? If you want students to recognize structures of hormones, then a multiple choice question asking them to choose the appropriate name for a given hormone structure would be an appropriate assessment. Asking them to draw the chemical structure would not; that assessment would not align with the learning goal, which was “recognize” not “draw.” Assessments can be quizzes, tests, written assignments, individual projects, group projects, etc… The important aspect is to make sure that you design the assessment so that it appropriately tests the competency described in the learning objective.

Formative versus summative evaluation

Assessments can come in different forms. Formative assessments help to track student progress and provide feedback in a low stakes context (no or minimal grade). Using formative assessments can help faculty improve their teaching by finding areas of instruction that cause confusion and can help students determine the areas of content on which they need to focus.

Summative assessments are work in which the learning objective competencies are measured and graded. They usually have a high point value. These are typically what instructors think of when they discuss assessments. Summative assessments can be used in a formative manner if they influence how the instructor approaches a course in future semesters.

Both types of assessments are extremely useful and should be integrated into a course, and both can be structured in any of the ways outlined here.

Clear grading policy

It should be clear from the beginning of the semester how student grades will be calculated and what percentage grade will results in which number grade (out of 4.0). As mentioned above, clear descriptions of how students will be evaluated for each assessment should be provided.

Assessment resources