Sociology Assistant Instructor David Glisch-Sanchez offered an informative session Monday on how to assess student learning in the classroom.
First, there are different types of learning, from memorization and understanding to evaluation and creating something new based on knowledge gained. It is important for teachers to design activities and measurement criteria that target a variety of these types of learning.
Second, there is also variety in terms of objects learned, from facts and concepts to self-reflection and critique of one’s approach toward the facts and concepts themselves. There are many pedagogical tools, from choice-based exams to open-ended research projects, that can assess these levels of knowledge acquired through the course, each with their own pros and cons.
David also talked about the importance of specifying and clarifying course objectives at the beginning of and throughout the course. Regardless of what assessment criteria teachers use, it is important expectations be set and made explicit if not as ultimate learning goals, then as check-points for students.
‘What do I know?’ ‘What do I want to know?’ and ‘What did I learn?’ are three useful general questions teachers should pose to students, and keep in mind as they continue to improve their courses.
Below are some resources toward this end teachers can consult:
‘Helping Students Do Well in Class: GAMES’ by Dr Marilla D Svinicki
Exam Writing Guidelines from Instructional Assessment Resources, UT-Austin
Developing Course Goals and Objectives by David Glisch-Sanchez