Assessing subject learning outcomes is the main focus of assessment, so analysing what you are looking for in the outcomes can help you define what skills and knowledge you are asking students to demonstrate, subsequently guiding what type or method of assessment you could use. You can include other academic skills such communication, digital and information literacies, ethics and reflective practice. These skills are often blended into subject learning outcomes and can encompass other graduate learning outcomes as well.
Subject learning outcomes include
If your criteria and standards have been focused around the skills and knowledge to be assessed, you have the opportunity to find different methods and formats of assessment that still assess them without having to do much, if anything, to change your rubric.
The first step in deciding on your assessment method is to analyse your learning outcome.
Student actions for each level of thinking based on taxonomies:
|Choose, Define, Find, Label, List, Match, Name, Recall, Relate, Select, Show, Spell, Tell, What, When, Where, Which, Who, Why||Classify, Demonstrate, Explain, Extend, Illustrate, Infer, Interpret, Outline, Relate, Rephrase, Show, Summarize, Translate||Apply, Build, Choose, Construct, Develop, Experiment with, Identify, Interview, Make use of, Model, Organize, Plan, Select, Solve, Utilize||Analyse, Assume, Categorize, Classify, Compare, Conclude, Contrast, Discover, Dissect, Distinguish, Divide, Examine, Inference, Inspect, Motive, Relationships, Simplify, Survey, Test For, Theme||Appraise, Assess, Award, Choose, Criticize, Deduct, Defend, Determine, Disprove, Estimate, Evaluate, Explain, Influence, Interpret, Judge, Justify, Measure, Opinion, Perceive, Prioritize, Prove, Rate, Recommend, Select, Support, Value||Adapt, Build, Change, Choose, Combine, Compile, Compose, Construct, Create, Delete, Design, Develop, Discuss , Elaborate, Estimate, Formulate, Imagine, Improve, Invent, Make up, Maximize,|
Alternative Assessment Types to Include Specific Skills
Assessment tasks can vary each time you deliver a subject while the skills and content being assessed in the subject stays the same. Alternative task formats allow students to demonstrate their learning towards achieving subject learning outcomes and Graduate Learning Outcomes
A downloadable file on types of assessment with examples and suggestions for use is available.
|Generic learning outcomes||Assessment types that can align with the skills sets of intended Learning Outcomes|
Thinking critically and making judgments|
(Developing arguments, reflecting, evaluating, assessing, judging)
Letter of advice to...
Present a case for an interest group
Prepare a committee briefing paper for a specific meeting
Book review (or article) for a particular journal
Write a newspaper article for a foreign newspaper
Comment on an article’s theoretical perspective
Solving problems and developing plans|
(Identifying problems, posing problems, defining problems, analysing data, reviewing, designing experiments, planning, applying information)
Prepare a committee of enquiry report
Draft a research bid to a realistic brief
Analyse a case
Conference paper (or notes for a conference paper plus
Performing procedures and demonstrating|
Techniques (Computation, taking readings, using equipment, following laboratory procedures, following protocols,
carrying out instructions)
Make a video (write script and produce/make a video)
Produce a poster
Prepare an illustrated manual on using the equipment, for a
Observation of real or simulated professional practice
Managing and developing oneself|
(Working co-operatively, working independently, learning independently, being self-directed, managing time, managing tasks, organising)
Accessing and managing information|
(Researching, investigating, interpreting, organising information, reviewing and paraphrasing information, collecting data, searching and managing information sources, observing and interpreting) /td>
Demonstrating knowledge and understanding|
(Recalling, describing, reporting, recounting, recognising,
identifying, relating and interrelating)
Designing, creating, performing|
(Imagining, visualising, designing, producing, creating,
(One and two-way communication, communication
within a group, verbal, written and non-verbal
communication. Arguing, describing, advocating,
interviewing, negotiating, presenting, using specific
Written presentation (essay, report, reflective paper, etc.)|
Participate in a “Court of Enquiry”
Presentation to camera
Observation of real or simulated professional practice
Source: Teaching @UNSW | Assessment Toolkit Aligning Assessment with Outcomes Document Version Date 07/08/2015 teaching.unsw.edu.au/aligning-assessment-learning-outcomes (Dunn, 2010, adapted from Nightingale et al., 1996). University of New South Wales
There are a number of different ways to categorise assessment. Generally, assessment is divided into diagnostic, formative or summative.
Diagnostic testing or assessment may be carried out prior to or early in the teaching session to provide the student with feedback on their progress and understanding. The purpose of this type of assessment is often referred to as early, low-stakes assessment and you can read more about designing assessment for first year students on the Division of Learning and Teaching, Assessment and Moderation website. Diagnostic testing can also be carried out prior to session start to determine what skills and knowledge students have about particular areas related to their study. This is usually so that learning can be more directed for students depending on their results of testing.
Formative assessment or assessment FOR learning - Formative assessment has been defined in different ways (Dennis, 2016); formative assessment when accompanied by feedback from teachers and from their fellow students can be used to modify teaching strategies to meet learning needs; formative assessment provides students with feedback on progress and identifies areas for improvement and provides teaching staff with information on where their students need to improve. Formative assessment can also be defined as assessments methods to improve teaching or learning.
Some examples of assessment FOR learning are presented:
|In-Class||In -class quizzes/problem sheets|
|Formative Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ’s) in class|
|One minute test|
|In-class peer- and self-review of work against set criteria|
|In-class feedback on assignment/assessments|
|Online||Online formative MCQ’s developed by students|
|Online formative MCQ’s developed by staff|
|Participation in online discussions, blogs or wikis|
|Out of class||Use of pre-submission checklist for assessment|
|Research activity as a group|
Source: O’Neill, G. (2015). Curriculum Design in Higher Education: Theory to Practice. Dublin: UCD Teaching & Learning. ISBN 9781905254989 http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/UCDTLP0068.pdf.
Much emphasis is given these days to self-reflective assessments by students known as “Assessment AS learning” .These are assessments in which students reflect on and monitor their own progress to inform their future learning goals (O’Neill, 2015).
Summative assessment or assessment OF learning - tasks assess the achievement of the student learning against the intended learning outcome. Summative assessment occurs at a chosen point in instruction and results in the final form of a grade. These grades are quite often used as a means to identify and discriminate the level of achievement of learning outcomes by students.
The reports obtained from these summative assessments provide the evidence of student achievement related to learning.Rather than informing teaching or learning in the current session, they are valuable for reflecting and evaluating subject design for subsequent offerings.
Dennis (2016) provides a following list of question that can enable instructors to judge the summative assessment
O’Neill, G. (2015). Curriculum Design in Higher Education: Theory to Practice. Dublin: UCD Teaching & Learning. ISBN 9781905254989 http://www.ucd.ie/t4cms/UCDTLP0068.pdf.
Boud, D., Sadler, R., Joughin, G., James, R., Freeman, M., Kift, S., & Webb, G. (2010). Assessment 2020: Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education. Sydney, Australia: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.
Nottingham Trent University (2013). CADQ Guide: Formative assessment and feedback. Centre for Academic Development and Quality, Nottingham Trent University. Retrieved from https://www4.ntu.ac.uk/adq/document_uploads/assessment_awards/137923.pdf
Boud, D., & Dochy, F. (2010). Assessment 2020. Seven propositions for assessment reform in higher education.
Suskie, L. (2010). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. John Wiley & Sons.
Kift, S. (2009). Articulating a transition pedagogy to scaffold and to enhance the first year student learning experience in Australian higher education: Final report. Retrieved from Sydney: http://transitionpedagogy.com/
Sieber, V. (2009). Diagnostic online assessment of basic IT skills in 1st-year undergraduates in the Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford. British Journal of Educational Technology, 40: 215–226. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2008.00926.x
Treagust, D. (2006). Diagnostic assessment in science as a means to improving teaching, learning and retention, UniServe Science Assessment Symposium Proceedings, http://science.uniserve.edu.au/pubs/procs/2006/treagust.pdf
Further Reading on A&M website: http://www.csu.edu.au/division/student-learning-ol/home/assessment-and-moderation/online-resources/further-readings
Teaching Tuesdays:Assessing students through alternative methods https://www.smore.com/rz43s-teaching-tuesdays-csu?ref=my