Assessing Student Learning

An Overview of Assessment

“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.” Learn more.

Detailed, Practical Information

  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?

Formative and Summative Assessment
Direct Versus Indirect Assessment


In the bevy of educational terminology aimed at improved student learning and accountability, “rubric” has emerged as a buzzword. The educational field has co-opted the term to describe “a scoring tool that lists the criteria for a piece of work…; it also articulates gradations of quality for each criterion, from excellent to poor” or some such gradation (Goodrich, 1997: 14). The UT Arlington “Rubric Primer” (pdf) provides valuable information for developing effective rubrics.

Examples of Rubrics

Definitions and Examples

Before student performance can be assessed, curriculum design, course design, and syllabus design should be aligned. If they have been created with appropriate Student Learning Outcomes (pdf) in mind, then assessment can be formulated that will support them, in combination with course content. Indeed, once it is clear what learning, thinking skills, and other skills students should acquire, as well as the content knowledge they should glean, then rubrics can be used to verify student learning through student performance (tests, projects, papers, portfolio assignments, etc.).


Assessing Faculty Teaching