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Rachel Freelon
Instructor: MARSHAL

What Is Assessment?
Definitions of assessment and the role it plays in teaching and learning:
Assessment involves the use of empirical data on student learning to refine programs and improve student
learning. (Assessing Academic Programs in Higher Education by Allen 2004)
Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order
to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a
result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve
subsequent learning. (Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: shifting the focus from teaching to
learning by Huba and Freed 2000)
Assessment is the systematic basis for making inferences about the learning and development of students. It
is the process of defining, selecting, designing, collecting, analyzing, interpreting, and using information to
increase students learning and development. (Assessing Student Learning and Development: A Guide to the
Principles, Goals, and Methods of Determining College Outcomes by Erwin 1991)
Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs
undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development. (Assessment Essentials:
planning, implementing, and improving assessment in higher education by Palomba and Banta 1999)

Formative Assessment occurs in the short term,
as learners are in the process of making meaning
of new content and of integrating it into what they
already know. Feedback to the learner is
immediate (or nearly so), to enable the learner to
change his/her behavior and understandings right
away. Formative Assessment also enables the
teacher to "turn on a dime" and rethink
instructional strategies, activities, and content
based on student understanding and performance.
His/her role here is comparable to that of a coach.
Formative Assessment can be as informal as
observing the learner's work or as formal as a
written test. Formative Assessment is the most
powerful type of assessment for improving
student understanding and performance.
Examples: a very interactive class discussion; a
warm-up, closure, or exit slip; a on-the-spot
performance; a quiz.

Integrated learning goals. There should be appropriate

relationships among institutional, program, and course learning
Curricular alignment. Curricula should be designed to ensure
that every student, regardless of the particular choices he or she
makes in choosing a course of study, has ample opportunity to
achieve every key institutional and program learning goal.
Collaboration. Learning goals, curricula, and assessments should
be designed through collaboration across the college community.
Embedded assessments. An important side benefit of providing
integrated learning experiences is that student learning
assessments can be similarly integrated. Assessments that are
embedded into individual courses can often provide information on
student achievement of program goals, general education goals,
and institutional goals (Suskie & Banta, 2009).

Interim Assessment takes place
occasionally throughout a larger time period.
Feedback to the learner is still quick, but may
not be immediate. Interim Assessments tend
to be more formal, using tools such as
projects, written assignments, and tests. The
learner should be given the opportunity to redemonstrate his/her understanding once the
feedback has been digested and acted upon.
Interim Assessments can help teachers
identify gaps in student understanding and
instruction, and ideally teachers address
these before moving on or by weaving
remedies into upcoming instruction and
Examples: Chapter test; extended essay; a
project scored with a rubric.

Individual courses
Academic programs, including undergraduate and
graduate degree programs, certificate and other
nondegree programs, and noncredit programs
General education core curricula
Cocurricular programs and student life programs
designed to promote student learning and development
Cohort-based programs and other special programs
designed to enhance student learning, such as:
First-year experiences
Learning communities
Service-learning programs
Developmental education programs
Tutoring programs
Honors programs
Programs for at-risk student cohorts
Study-abroad programs (Suskie & Banta, 2009)

Summative Assessment takes place at the end of a
large chunk of learning, with the results being primarily
for the teacher's or school's use. Results may take time
to be returned to the student/parent, feedback to the
student is usually very limited, and the student usually
has no opportunity to be reassessed. Thus, Summative
Assessment tends to have the least impact on
improving an individual student's understanding or
performance. Students/parents can use the results of
Summative Assessments to see where the student's
performance lies compared to either a standard or to a
group of students (usually a grade-level group, such as
all 6th graders nationally. Teachers/schools can use
these assessments to identify strengths and
weaknesses of curriculum and instruction, with
improvements affecting the next year's/term's
Examples: Standardized testing (MEAP, MME, ACT,
WorkKeys, Terra Nova, etc.); Final exams; Major
cumulative projects, research projects, and

General Education Core Curricula: a good general education core

curriculum is greater than the sum of its parts. It has overarching
goals and because those goals are integrated, they are the hallmark
of every undergraduates education at the college. Those goals are
addressed repeatedly in multiple rather than single general education
courses, and the assessment of general education focuses on those
Cocurricular, Student Life, and Cohort-Based Programs:
Student learning takes place outside as well as within the curriculum:
in first-year experiences, learning communities, other cocurricular
programs, and student life programs. Wherever student learning and
development are supposed to happen, there should be goals for that
learning and assessments to see how well students are achieving
those goals. Many of these programs have goals to develop attitudes,
values, and the like
College or University Level: Interpersonal skills are an example of
an institutional goal that might be developed and assessed in the
general education curriculum, majors, and student development
programs (Suskie & Banta, 2009).


Monroe County Intermediate School District, 2015 MCISD https

Suskie, L., & Banta, T.W. (2009). Assessing Student Learning. A
Common Sense Guide (2nd ed.). : John Wiley & Sons Inc
University of Connecticut, n.d.

Rachel Freelon
Instructor: MARSHAL