Navigating the (sometimes) rocky shores
of teaching and consulting
In evaluating a student assessment, be it a paper and pencil test, a creative production or a written assignment, the most important component is to be sure there is a match between the objectives of the unit/course/lesson being assessed, the teaching/learning activities used, and the assessment tool.
In assessing the appropriateness and effectiveness of an assessment tool consider the following:
1. What are the objectives of the course/unit/lesson that are being assessed?
2. What domain is being assessed: cognitive, affective, psychomotor? Is the domain appropriate given the objectives for the course/unit/lesson?
3. If the domain is cognitive, consider what level from Bloom's taxonomy is being assessed: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and/or evaluation. Is the level appropriate given the objectives for the course/unit/lesson?
4. Is the assessment at a level appropriate to the level of the course (freshmen, graduate etc.)?
5. How well does the content of the assessment match the objectives being assessed?
6. How well does the content of the assessment match the learning opportunties presented in the unit/lesson/course (so does the assessment assess what was taught)?
7. How clear are the directions for the assessment (i.e., what response is required of students, length and form of that response, time for completing response)?
8. Is the assessment organized in such a way as to aid clarity and understanding of its requirements?
Some further considerations of paper/pencil tests (see Gage and Berliner for more information):
1. Are verbs chosen carefully and precisely to clearly indicate what students should do?
2. Does instructor have a model answer or specific points to help make grading more consistent?
1. Is the stem a meaningful part of the question?
2. Are distractors plausible?
3. Are all choices of roughly equal length and precision?
4. Are all choices grammatically consistent with the stem?