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Academic Assessment Resources: Home

Guide for faculty at East Central College of resources of assessment in higher education. This guide includes books, articles and recommended websites.

This libguide is currently under construction. 
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More will be added so check back later and often.

What is Assessment of Student Learning?

What is assessment of student learning?

  1. Deciding what we want our students to learn upon completing a given course or program
  2. Making sure students have multiple opportunities to learn and practice key learning outcomes
  3. Asking students to demonstrate what they have learned through course-embedded assignments
  4. Evaluating the extent to which students have achieved the desired learning outcomes
  5. Using assessment results to confirm or improve student learning (“closing the loop”)
  6. Documenting and communicating results, conclusions, and next steps on an annual basis

Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community College Libraries,

What Does it Mean?

  • Formative - assessment undertaken while student learning is taking place; designed to capture students' progress toward learning outcomes.
  • Summative - assessment conducted at the end of a course or program; designed to capture students' achievement at the end of a given learning experience.
  • Direct - evidence of student learning which is tangible, visible, self-explanatory; prompt students to represent or demonstrate their learning or produce work so that observers can assess the extent to which students have achieved the desired learning outcomes.
  • Indirect - capture students' perceptions of their learning and the educational environment that supports that learning. No assessment of knowledge, conceptual understanding, or thinking or performance skills should consist of indirect evidence alone.
  • Objective - one that needs no professional judgment to score correctly (e.g., multiple-choice, true-false) exams.
  • Subjective - yield many possible answers of varying quality and require professional judgment to score.
  • Traditional - the kinds of tests that have been around for decades; e.g., objective tests, 'blue book' essay questions, and oral examinations. 
  • Performance - ask students to demonstrate their skills rather than relate what they have learned through traditional tests; e.g., field experiences, laboratory and studio assignments, projects. Also called authentic assessments when asking students to do a real-life task. Have two components: (i) the assignment or prompt that tells students what is expected of them and (ii) a scoring guide or rubric used to evaluate completed work.
  • Embedded - assessments which are embedded into coursework.
  • Add-on - assessments which are in addition to course requirements (e.g., take a standardized test, participate in a survey). A major challenge with most add-on assignments is convincing students not only to participate in them but also to give the assessment tasks serious thought and effort.
  • Signature - assignment or exam that best displays the knowledge or skills essential to the objectives of a course. Think of a signature assignment as a milestone in the student's progress toward fulfilling the program objectives. Ideally, signature assignments are the types of works that students and professor would most like to present to others s evidence of accomplishment.
  • Local - created by faculty/or staff.
  • Published - those published by an organization external to the institution and used by several institutions.
  • Quantitative - used structured, predetermined response options that can be summarized into meaningful numbers and analyzed statistically (e.g. the number of right versus wrong answers, rubric scores).
  • Qualitative - data usually analyzed by looking for recurring patterns and themes (e.g., reflective writing, notes from interviews and focus groups).

Courtesy of Pikes Peak Community College Libraries,

Director, Library Services

Lisa Farrell's picture
Lisa Farrell
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163 Buescher Hall
East Central College
Union, MO 63084
Text: 636-333-1154
Call: 636-584-6560