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Student Assessment. COL Alex Heidenberg. Assessment. What is it and why do we talk about it so much? What is the difference between assessment and evaluation? Are our students learning? What kind of learning is taking place? Am I an effective teacher?. What is Assessment?.

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Student Assessment

COL Alex Heidenberg

  • What is it and why do we talk about it so much?
  • What is the difference between assessment and evaluation?
  • Are our students learning?
  • What kind of learning is taking place?
  • Am I an effective teacher?
what is assessment
What is Assessment?
  • Assessment – Process of gathering information pertaining to performance or achievement
    • Formative – (ongoing) to improve learning
    • Summative – (final) to gauge quality
  • Evaluation – Comparing student achievement with a set of standards (criterion-referenced) or other students (norm-referenced).
quote of the day
Quote of the day

“…testing and grading are not incidental acts that come at the end of teaching but powerful aspects of education that have an enormous influence on the entire enterprise of helping and encouraging students to learn.” --Ken Bain, What the Best College Teachers Do

why assess
Why Assess?

Changing the name of a test doesn’t matter

Get info about how we’re doing and use the info

To give the students and class a time to stop, reflect, and synthesize

Testing doesn’t have to be at the end of a chapter (synthesis may happen later than that)

To motivate students

Indicate expectations

Measure how effective the teacher is (institutional/program)

Measure prior knowledge

Figure out what I’m going to do in class today

Accreditation (see tomorrow’s session on program assessment)

Let the students know where they are

Need to assign a grade

why assess1
Why Assess?
  • It is a chance for students to know where they are at.
  • It is a chance for the instructor to know where their students are at.
  • It is a chance to pause, reflect, gather, and make connections.
  • Build Confidence.
how do we assess students
How Do We Assess Students?

Ask Questions

Quizzes (can do group quizzes) (consider doing daily—occasionally make it a “buddy quiz”)

Put the answer on the test—show all of the work for full credit

Exams—open resource or not? (study sheets)


Journal-type questions (write detailed solution with explanation)

Group work and then present

Watch the students’ body language

Clicker questions

Work on the board and observe

Walk around and look at students’ work

Notice student questions

Projects (real world applications)

Green cup or red cup on top (each student has one of each)

Head nod: Yes/no (Caution—can be misleading)

Index card—anonymous at end of class (turn in)

Muddiest point

which techniques assess deep learning
Which Techniques Assess Deep Learning?







which techniques assess deep learning1
Which Techniques Assess Deep Learning?
  • Compare our list from 2 slides ago—at what level of Bloom’s Taxonomy are they? Can there be deep learning at that level? (Discuss)
fundamental question bain
Fundamental Question (Bain)

What kind of intellectual and personal development should my students achieve in this class, and how can I collect evidence of that?


  • Is the material worth learning?
  • Are my students learning what the course is supposed to be teaching?
  • Am I helping and encouraging the students to learn?
a few student assessment ideas
A few student assessment ideas
  • Two-minute paper
  • Students self-assess their intellectual growth
  • Every exam cumulative and replacing the previous one
  • Students write a paragraph describing their problem-solving process (turned in with the problem)
  • Ungraded journals (conversation-starter! Math autobiography!)

Bain and MAA Notes #49

thoughts from joseph lowman
Thoughts from Joseph Lowman
  • Don’t overemphasize grades (by being too stringent or too lenient, or by testing too frequently).
  • Take grading seriously; it is of less consequence than what the students learn.
thoughts from joseph lowman1
Thoughts from Joseph Lowman
  • Let students know where they are at regarding their learning by sharing peer work or showing the distribution of scores.
  • Exams should be critiqued and revised. The best time for this to happen is immediately after grading it and hearing student feedback.
  • To Improve the Academy , Douglas Robertson
  • What the Best College Teachers Do, Ken Bain
  • Mastering the Techniques of Teaching , Joseph Lowman
  • Assessment Practices in Undergraduate Mathematics, edited by Bonnie Gold, Sandra Keith, and William Marion