The terms assessment and evaluation are used in a variety of contexts within higher education, and often are used interchangeably. However they are quite different in how and when the review is implemented, the focus of the review, and what is done with the findings of the review. The table below compares assessment and evaluation.
|Content: timing, primary purpose||Formative: ongoing, to improve learning||Summative: final, to gauge quality|
|Orientation: focus of measurement||Process-oriented: how learning is going||Product-oriented: what’s been learned|
|Findings: uses thereof||Diagnostic: identify areas for improvement||Judgmental: arrive at an overall grade/score|
Content adapted from: Angelo, T and Cross, K.P. 1993. Classroom assessment techniques a handbook for college teachers. Jossey-Bass A Wiley Imprint, San Francisco, CA. Pp 427.
Assessment encompasses everything from institutional level assessments to an assessment of student learning outcomes for an individual course. With regard to teaching and learning, assessment can be considered as the systematic collection and analysis of information to improve both endeavors.
Carnegie Melon University has created a great online resource about the assessment of teaching and learning. The website includes assessment basics, detailed descriptions of how to assess students’ prior knowledge, learning, and performance, as well as your teaching, and department and program level assessment strategies.
This section of the website will focus assessment and evaluation in two areas:
- Of Your Teaching including: formative mid-semester evaluations (PLUS/DELTA); student evaluation of teaching (SET); and strategies for better course evaluations and analyzing student feedback
- Of Student Learning including: classroom assessment techniques, peer assessment and guidelines for student outcomes assessment at ISU
Classroom assessment techniques (CAT) are relatively quick and easy formative evaluation methods that help you check student understanding in “real time”. These formative evaluations provide
The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost oversees student outcomes assessment across all levels (university, college, department/college, and course) at Iowa State University. CELT
Peer assessment describes a range of activities in which students evaluate and provide feedback in the work of their peers. Formative peer assessment involves feedback
Steps to Better Course Evaluations Make course expectations explicit CELT recommends making invisible expectations explicit. Implementing constructive alignment in course design results in explicitly linking
These guidelines and recommendations were developed from a review of the research conducted by a subcommittee of the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching.
You can learn a great deal about how your students are learning in a course, and what adjustments both you and your students might make,