Student Assessment

How do we assess student progress in a course?  I think this is a question that probably any academic has asked themselves, but also students.  As a student myself, I have questioned the objectives of an assignment and what am I supposed to get out of it. I think  this sort of questioning happens when objectives or expectations are not clear. Additionally, in many cases assignments are given  as a way to meet a requirement and be able to give students a grade. The traditional way for “student assessment”  typically consists of exams, quizzes, presentations, or projects (group or individual). Some of these may sound more recurrent than others, but in the end they can be somewhat limiting when it comes to incorporating students’ interests and the different ways in which they can feel ownership over their work and incorporate an aspect of themselves in it.

When students feel ownership over the work they do, this increases their engagement and interest which are very important things to have present in a classroom. I think providing students with the opportunity to incorporate parts of who they are in their class assignment may promote a type of learning experience that becomes memorable. However, I do recognize that having a variety of options for students to decide the type of work they want to do for their required assignment may become challenging and demanding for the teacher because there is a lot of different ways in which students may decide to do their work. This can also be more challenging when class sizes are bigger, which may required a more standardized way to evaluate students. Perhaps, with lots of planning and evaluation of  how we assess students we can design courses that are more student focused and allows them to excel and engage in a classroom environment where they are invited to bring their ideas to the table and still meet the requirements of a course but are also able to identify the different ways they are more likely to learn about something.

5 Replies to “Student Assessment”

  1. Hi KPEREZRIVERA,

    I view assessments as a crucial part of a course. We may like to think that courses are for benefit of the students and they should be self-motivated to get the most out of them. Yet, humans do not always behave rationally, especially the younger ones. Then, the assessments become a good motivator and encourage students to learn even if for the wrong reasons, such as grades.
    However, like you said, sometimes assessments are used just as means to give a grade without establishing what are the assessments assessing. During my short stint as an Assistant Professor in a college in India, I liked the idea of the quality cell followed in that university. I don’t know if it’s a common practice or not. But I liked the idea that every assignment, exam papers, etc. were submitted to the department by the faculty and were evaluated by the quality cell members. This ensured that the assessments meet the academic rigor and fulfill the student learning outcomes of the course. I think it should be followed in every university. Yes, it adds some overheads on the faculty and department, but I think it’s worth it.

  2. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I agree that the relationship between assessment and motivation is really important. I have experienced in my own education that if courses seem unfair or too hard, I am more likely to do the bare minimum for a grade. I think that giving students choices is a great idea to increase their ownership.

  3. I like your post. day by day, our assessment philosophies will be shaped and improved by asking students about their feedback in this regard. However, teachers must respect the feedback and use it to improve the assessment modality, nothing personal.

  4. Thank you for your thoughts! I agree that assessment and motivation are tied together in terms of learning. To build interest in a course less common assessments would be useful.

  5. Thanks for this great post! I agree with your point about the size of the class. I know a Professor who is teaching to five hundred students this semester. Can you imagine if this Professor changes the course structure from a very standardized exam style to a more qualitative assessment version. It is tough to imagine assessing that many students with a no-grading policy. For example, it is not possible to make them present their work in class. There is no such time. But I think even the classroom is that crowded, there could be some ways of reducing the grading stress for students, such as canceling the worst one or two assignments from their course record. I am not very sure what else can be done for such crowded classes.

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