Assessment and Evaluation

Professor of Economics teaching a group of students

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.

  Assessment 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 

Peer Assessment

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