Course-Embedded Assessment
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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: and the Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville web page on classroom assessment techniques (



University of Massachusetts-Amherst Workbooks on Course and Program Assessment (outstanding resources)


National Teaching and Learning Foundation-Classroom Assessment Techniques