My Experiences About Assessment

Here are my best and worst experiences about the assessment.

In my undergrad, in most of the courses, the assessments were used only to rank students! No feedback and comments were provided after exams. Almost in all courses, we had one midterm and one final exam and the instructors only announced the grades. I remember I studied very hard for a test and after the test, I was almost sure that I will get the full grade. However, I got 15 from 20. I went to the instructor office and asked him about my mistakes. He said I can review your answers but, this time, I am sure you will get less than 15! I never found what were my mistakes in that course.

Assessment should be used to motivate students to study (I study more when I have an exam) and give them feedback about their understanding. However, it was not the case in my undergrad.

My best experience about the assessment happened last fall. At the first day, the instructor explains the main goals of the course and handed in 2 pages to the students. Ninety-nine concepts were listed on the pages. He said you should be familiar with these ninety-nine concepts at the end of the course. In the beginning of each session, he explained which concepts will be reviewed in the session. He also sometimes explained that we have learned, for example, 20 of the listed concepts, if you did not learn some of them, please come to my office and ask me about them. All the exams and quizzes were about the listed concepts and we already know which concepts will be on each test. The most interesting part of the assessment was his feedbacks. Sometimes I thought I know a concept very well. However, after the test, he wrote some comments about my misunderstandings and at the end which concept I should learn better. I always was eager to take his tests because they were not for grading; the tests were a tool to evaluate our understandings and help us to eliminate our weaknesses.

7 thoughts on “My Experiences About Assessment

  1. Carrie Jensen says:

    I like how you make the distinction that tests themselves can be a helpful learning tool when the professor provides feedback and when grades on the test are not of paramount importance. If we can take away some of the anxiety associated with tests by making them more low-stakes (in reference to grades), like in your experience, I think some amount of testing in certain disciplines can improve learning.

  2. Cassie says:

    I agree! I think tests can be a very helpful learning tool. There have been many times that I thought I absorbed and studied all relevant content only to find (sometimes in going through study guides, and other times while taking the test) that I had missed something important!

    I think assessment is helpful because it let’s students know if they missed something; however, I don’t think assessment necessarily has to contribute to someone’s grade in a course. What’s wrong with taking a test, getting useful feedback, and having THAT be the end of the process? No grade book, no anxiety, etc…

  3. Wow, that’s great! I like how you were actually exited to take the tests! Last semester, I took a great course in my department ( Civil and Environmental Engineering), where the assignment, and exam was strictly for learning and understanding the concept! As exams and assignment always stress me out, I asked the professor several times about the assignments, my grade on them, etc. and every time he told me not to worry about the grade! He provided great feedbacks on the assignment/exams which were very constructive and I also got a good great at the end! I mean what else do you want from a course! Great feedbacks, well designed assignments/exams and most importantly no anxiety!

  4. Cody K says:

    I appreciate your distinction between poor utilization of assessment and appropriate use. There is much to be addressed in general education, and grading is one such issue, but to throw out the practice completely removes a viable tool that benefitted you in your second example. I would love to hear feedback from such instructors and feel they should be lecturing on successful pedagogical practices more so than the theorists because, like you, I have had the bad and the good, and take away so much from the professors/instructors that utilize educational tools (e.g., grades) in appropriate and beneficial ways.

  5. I agree with you “Assessment should be used to motivate students to study”.
    I think that the instructors can motivate the students. So we need to design a good assessment for each class and introduce it to the students i9n the beginning of the class.

  6. Homero says:

    Thanks for sharing.

    I wonder what was this class about. Was the goal of the class to learn the 99 concepts only? or do you have to think about the application of the concepts in the real world?

    I think testing, as well as every assessment strategy when done well (i.e. with a purpose and with relevant feedback) is a great strategy to help students understand where they are vs. where they need to be regarding learning.

  7. Milad says:

    Thanks for the comment, Homero. The class name is Business Research Methods (MGT 5124).
    As it is clear from the name it is not only concepts. We had 14 HWs- one per week. HWs were all about applications and they took at least one day. The interesting part about the HWs is: there is no due date and you can submit it when you have enough time- just do it correctly!
    However, the exams were not about applications as I remember.

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