The purpose of a course assessment is twofold: to evaluate student learning, and to examine the effectiveness of our own instructional strategies. The challenge is to make each assessment to be neither “hard,” nor “easy,” but rather, a straightforward, effective, and accessible measuring tool.
Effective course assessments generally meet the following criteria:
- All test questions, essay prompts, and project assignments are clearly aligned with course objectives.
- Provision has been made for students with physical limitations.
- Directions are clearly written and questions are straightforward.
A test that is difficult to read does not accurately evaluate student learning. A tricky test simply separates the students with innate test-taking skills, and those without, and is wasted as a tool for accurately measuring comprehension.
- A variety of assessment styles are utilized throughout the term, as class-size and curriculum permits.
Multiple assessment methods are as important to creating a universally accessible curriculum as multi-sensory teaching methodologies. Just as our learning styles vary, we are diverse in our abilities to demonstrate our learning and competence. Providing multiple means of assessment can help ensure students are evaluated on their learning without advantaging, or disadvantaging, students based on their aptitude for specific assessment methods.