How do I do course-embedded assessment?
Course-embedded assessment can be defined as “…techniques that can be utilized within the context of a classroom (one class period, several or over the duration of the course) to assess students’ learning, as individuals and in groups. When used in conjunction with other assessment tools, course-embedded assessment can provide valuable information at specific points of a program.” (Central Michigan University Assessment Web page)
Engaging in course-embedded assessment has several advantages:
- It is an “authentic” assessment activity that examines student learning at various levels.
- It is integrated into the regular activities of the classroom.
- Students are more likely to be motivated to participate and to perform to the best of their ability.
- It has greater relevance to individual faculty members.
- It has very low costs associated with it and generally takes minimal time.
- It can be implemented “on the fly” and customized at will.
In addition to the central focus of examining student learning in specific courses, course-embedded assessment can be used to:
- Help individual faculty members improve their pedagogy
- Examine achievement of program outcomes
- Inform institutional assessment initiatives
Conducting course-embedded assessment generally begins with classroom assessment techniques. Techniques that have been proven effective include:
- the Minute Paper,
- the Muddiest Point,
- Concept Maps, and
- Classroom Opinion Polls.
Faculty members interested in exploring such techniques should examine Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (2nd Edition) by Thomas Angelo and Patricia Cross (Jossey-Bass, 1993). This handbook provides tested methods for individual faculty members to examine the learning processes inside the ‘black box’ of the classroom.
Other resources that provide clear guidance in conducting course-embedded assessment include “Course-Based Review and Assessment” (available online at: http://www.umass.edu/oapa/oapa/publications/online_handbooks/) and the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville web page on classroom assessment techniques (http://www.siue.edu/~deder/assess/catmain.html).
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Workbooks on Course and Program Assessment (outstanding resources)
National Teaching and Learning Foundation-Classroom Assessment Techniques