What are Helpful Assessment Activities?

Below are descriptions of assessment activities that draw on commonly used course assignments. Assessment activities are most helpful when they draw on authentic course assignments, meaning that projects, exams, assignments, and or/reflections are approriate for the course and useful for student learning, in addition to shedding light on achievement. 

Critiques, Essay, Performances, and Projects with Rubrics

Essays, projects, performances, and other types of assessments can use rubrics that are completed by the instructor, student peers, and/or students themselves that are then compiled to see trends across students and across sections. 

For instance, a rubric on Final Essays in History 120, History of the Non-Western World I, might demonstrate that 

External Reviews of Student Work

With essays, projects, performances, and other types of assessments that involve scording student work on a rubric, another option can be to involve experts who are external to the college to score the rubric and provide written comments. This can help draw in perspectives from professionals working directly in the field and outside of the course. 

For instance, in a Journalism course, news professionals can review and score student writing. In a Business course, small business owners might score students giving Pitches for an assignment. 

Note:  While including external reviewers of student work is an excellent option, the instructor must still grade student work. If you are interested in partnering with external reviewers for your course assessment, please contact Tyler Roeger, Associate Dean of CETAL, at troeger@elgin.edu to create a plan. 

Itemized Exams

On an exam, the instructors tag each question with one or more of the learning outcomes that the question assesses. Then, exam scores across students and sections are compiled and categorized based on how achievement on each outcome. 

For instance, in Biology 201, Principles of Nutrition, an itemized exam could illustrate that 

Pre and Post

Pre and post refers to tasking students to complete the same quiz, the same assignment, or the same self-reflection prompt at least twice during the semester:  once near the beginning and once near the end. Doing so is intended to assess student progress, in addition to end of the course mastery. 

Student Reflection Writing

In addition to directly assessing students' achievement on writings, performances, demonstrations, and exams, much can be learned by asking students to reflect on their own learning articulate their areas of growth and challenge points related to the course topics. Responses can them be compiled for themes and significant points. 

In short writings, audio recordings, or videos, students can be asked to respond to questions such as