Assessment is essential for effective learning because it provides feedback to both students and instructors. Feedback can guide students to most efficiently focus their learning efforts and inform instructors about student progress toward learning goals. Assessments can help instructors identify areas of challenge for students and adjust the teaching approach to facilitate learning.

Assessment is basically a two-way feedback system that cannot be detached from instruction because it enables instructors and students to exchange information about learning over time.

Meaningful assessments should:

  • Provide feedback to students that helps them grow and refine their understandings;
  • Provide information that instructors can use to determine whether and how to adjust their teaching practices;
  • Reflect disciplinary values, goals, and conventions; and
  • Enable departments and programs to evaluate how well the components of their curricula are operating to prepare students for a rapidly changing workplace.

To effectively create this process of assessment, you may want to address three important questions:

1)  What should you consider in planning assessments for your course?

2)  How do you know what students are learning? 

3)  How do you know what students have learned?

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