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Instruments and Methods

Assessment Instruments & Methods

Assessment of student learning can be conducted using a variety of available instruments and methods. Many experts believe that a combination of assessment approaches can be the most effective way to measure student learning. Fortunately, many departments on campus and at other institutions have acquired some experience with many of the more commonly used instruments. Faculty in a variety of academic programs at large and small research universities have tested and used a wide range of assessment methods to determine whether students were attaining prescribed educational goals. In this section, many of these assessment approaches will be presented providing handbook users with information that can simplify the development of assessment strategies.

Properties of Effective Assessment Techniques
Valid Directly reflects the learning outcome being assessed
Reliable Inter-rater reliability when subjective judgements are made
Actionable Results help faculty identify what students are learning well and what requires more attention
Cost-effective Efficient in time and money
Engaging Both students and other respondents have the opportunity to demonstrate the extent of their learning
Interesting Faculty and other stakeholders care about results and are willing to act on them
Triangulation  Aim to include a mixture of assessment tasks that enables students to build a more holistic picture of their learning, integrating the diverse strands of their program of study.

Learn More About Direct Assessment

Learn More About Indirect Assessment

Learn More About Rubrics