In an article on classroom assessment techniques from the web, www2.honolulu.hawaii.edu/facdev/guidebk/teachtip/m-files/m-asses1.htm several points really made sense to me. I think everyone would agree that assessments are defined as the appraisal, evaluation, measurement judgment, or review of students. College instructors are regularly disappointed after assessing their students. Instructors frequently assume their students are learning what they were trying to teach them but find evidence to the contrary when they grade tests and term papers.
Too often, students have not learned as much or as well as was expected. There are gaps, sometimes considerable ones, between what was taught and what has been learned. By the time faculty notice these gaps in knowledge or understanding, it is frequently too late to remedy the problems.
How can assessments be well designed so we decrease that disappointment we sometimes feel? Here are a few ideas to think about from Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) by Thomas A. Angelo and K Patricia Cross.
1. Set clear expectations. This is especially important when writing your syllabus. But it also pertains to the classroom everyday. What do you expect your students to learn?
2. Established a reasonable workload for the student (one that doesn’t push students into routine reproductive approaches to study). Challenge them to go beyond routine memorization without overextending the homework time as to frustrate your students.
3. Provide opportunities for students to monitor, rehearse, practice and receive feedback frequently. This is where CATs can be helpful. CATs are aimed at providing feedback early to avoid the following situations.
v Avoid gathering assessments through questions, quizzes, homework, and exams. However, it is often collected too late — at least from the students’ perspective – to affect their learning.
v In practice, it is very difficult to “de-program” students who are used to thinking of anything they have been tested and graded on as being “over and done with.”
Consequently, the most effective times to assess and provide feedback are before the chapter tests or the midterm, or final examinations. Use CATs to decrease the disappointment of being wrong when assessing our students know what we think they do.
Read more on this topic at the URL below and look for my next blog on CATs!