Teaching and Learning Resources

Assessment, Student

Student assessment (or evaluation) is a systematic gathering of information about students’ performances. The primary purpose is to provide instructors, students, administrators and others with evidence, both qualitative and quantitative, to determine the level of learning that is occurring for students.

An assessment of student learning also offers useful information about educational institutions, programs, and courses. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development promotes policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world. The Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) offers rankings and direct evaluation of student performance and provides data on the relevance and quality of teaching and learning in higher education.

There are many types of assessment commonly used in higher education. A number of links can be found below.

Multiple Choice Assessment

A brief interview with Anthony Marini, a 3M teaching fellow and assessment specialist from the University of Calgary. Topics discussed include: MCQ construction; maintaining content validity; post‐test item analysis; and the use of scoring rubrics for multiple‐choice tests.

David DiBattista discusses how to use multiple-choice testing to assess deeper learning. (2008) http://apps.medialab.uwindsor.ca/ctl/CELT/fscommand/CELT21.pdf


Essay/long answer/short answer/oral Assessment

This handbook is an excellent resource for preparing and grading essay exams. It also has a section which discusses when to use essay versus other types of assessment.

Samples of many types of grading and performance rubrics including essays and oral presentations. http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/rubrics.html



Using Technology to Support Alternative Assessment and Electronic Portfolios This web page provides many links to publications, presentations, and support materials developed and maintained by Dr. Helen Barrett, School of Education, University of Alaska Anchorage (retired).

Classroom Assessment Techniques

Field Tested Learning Assessment Guide practical information about different types of assessment in the classroom. Provides a checklist of learning goals, and matches learning goals to assessment techniques. Describes a variety of classroom assessment techniques.

An Introduction to Classroom Assessment Techniques is a brief article that suggests a few excellent ways to monitor learning throughout the semester. Simple methods, easy to implement.

Classroom Assessment Techniques provides links to descriptions and examples of classroom assessment instruments. Very specific methods and examples are described.

Assessment That Promotes Learning
Sample quizzes and ideas to help students recognize when they need to intervene on their own behalf to improve their learning from Penn State

Assessing Students’ Prior Knowledge


Tips from the McMaster Community

I would like to get students involved in evaluating their own work

Some of my students show little interest in, or commitment to, a major course assignment

My students are panicked about the midterm

How can I encourage my students to extend their learning outside of the classroom, and give them credit for doing so?

There is inconsistency in the marks different tutors give to students' assignments and exams


Related Resources

Assessment in and of Collaborative Learning Many links, articles, suggestions and tips.

The Higher Education Academy in the UK has developed an excellent series of practical papers on assessment as part of a federal program. Also, they have a page of links by topic.

An extensive list of resources on assessment from the Higher Education Academy

Good practices for designing and grading many types of assessments.  http://www.crlt.umich.edu/publinks/CRLT_no24.pdf

How To Write Tests is an excellent site for devising many types of tests in higher education including multiple choice, true/false, matching, short answer and long answer. Developed by Robert Runt�, School of Education at the University of Lethbridge.

The National Academy for Academic Leadership offers resources designed to assist you in addressing many of the major issues of quality teaching and learning in higher education.