Friday, September 14, 2007

5 Tips for Effective Classroom Assessment

Classroom Assessment is a systematic approach to formative evaluation and Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are simple tools for collecting data on student learning in order to improve it. These are meant to give teachers and students information on learning before and between examinations; therefore, they supplement and complement formal evaluations and learning. Used effectively CATs can reduce the uncertainty that faculty and students feel as they face midterms, final examinations, and the calculation of course grades. When teachers and learners both receive regular feedback on student learning throughout the course, there are likely to be fewer surprises at semester’s end.

1. Technique (CAT) does not appeal to your intuition and professional judgment as a teacher, don’t use it.

All CATs are meant to be suggestions and should be taken as such. Individual college teachers are the most reliable authorities on what is and what is not likely to help them improve teaching and learning in their

2. Don’t make classroom assessment into a self-inflicted chore or burden.

It is more effective and satisfying to try one or two techniques in a semester—and fully and thoughtfully work through the process—than to try out several CATs, only to become overwhelmed and discouraged.

3. Don’t ask your students to use any classroom technique that you haven’t previously tried on yourself.

By trying out the assessment techniques on yourself first, you can find out to some extent, where problems are likely to occur and where modifications might be necessary. In assessment as in teaching, thoughtful preparation and rehearsal are major parts of successful performance.

4. Allow for more time than you think you will need to carry out and respond to the assessment.

Be forewarned that administering a classroom assessment and analyzing the feedback is likely to take at least twice as much time to complete as you first estimate

5. Make sure to “close the loop”. Let students know what you learn from their feedback and how you and they can use that information to improve teaching and learning.

Although many assess student learning informally, relatively few let the students know the outcomes of their assessment. Students are unlikely to realize the value of assessment, unless faculty make them explicitly aware of it.

Resource: Angelo, T., and Cross, P.K., (1993). Classroom assessment
techniques, a handbook for college teachers.
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Inc.

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