5 Ways to Improve Student Learning Assessments

Student Learning Assessments

I think it’s about putting yourself in the students’ shoes and seeing how a first-time student, is looking at it.

—Valerie Taraborelli, undergraduate chemistry student, University of Arizona

The above quotation underscores a point —that effective teaching involves much more than just conveying to students what you, as a teacher, already know and what you expect them to know.

You have to be in your students’ shoes.

Instead, effective teaching involves ascertaining:

  • what students know
  • what they don’t know
  • what they think they know but do not understand accurately or fully

Understanding how students learn is a crucial aspect of good teaching. And, to come to terms with such an understanding requires a detailed student learning assessment or educational assessment. 

Read More: What is Educational Assessment 

Student assessment is arguably the most important, and the most challenging element of imparting high-quality learning. 

But, thanks to the new research about how students learn best, plus new learning assessment tools and learning assessment techniques that foster and nurture student learning, the ability of teachers to meaningfully assess their students’ learning has advanced dramatically over the past few years. 

Student learning assessment is generally broken down into two stages:

  • Assessment for learning
  • Assessment of learning

However, few teachers are still unfamiliar with these two different aspects of student learning assessments and often tend to confuse the two.

So, in this article, I’ll shed some light on the different aspects of student learning assessments

Let’s begin with answering a few questions.

Read More: What is Student Assessment?

Watch How to Create an Assessment Online

What Is Assessment for Learning?

‘Assessment for learning’ is determining the level of knowledge students have before assigning them a course. 

It is the process used by teachers to find out the students’ level of knowledge, what they need to improve, and how to improve.

According to Wikipedia, in assessment for learning, students are encouraged to be more active in their learning and associated assessment. 

The ultimate purpose of assessment for learning is to create self-regulated learners who can leave school able and confident to continue learning throughout their lives

Based on the results of these assessments, teachers prepare the next set of instructions.  Using different tools for learning assessment, teachers can create online assessments that can be taken by students anytime, anywhere. 

Read More:-  Types of Learning Assessments

What Is Assessment of Learning?

According to the definition of assessment of learning, it is a process of carrying out assessments by teachers to measure the effectiveness of their teaching. It is a summative approach to looking at assessment at the end of instruction to rank students’ knowledge against a predefined standard. 

Look at these assessment of learning examples that’ll help you understand it better. 

 How to Improve Student Learning Assessments?

Improve Student Learning Assessments

Learning and assessment go hand in hand. To find out whether the teaching imparted to students made any difference to their existing knowledge, teachers have to conduct a learning assessment.

Different learning style assessments like learning assessment tests, quizzes, online exams, etc. can be conducted to improve student learning assessments, but following these five ways will help you improve instantly. So, read on.

✓ Match Assessments Directly to Learning Objectives and Outcomes

Student learning assessments shouldn’t be an afterthought—they should form the foundation of the curriculum.

It doesn’t mean just “teaching to the test”! What it means is that assessments should be directly linked to the student learning objectives and outcomes.

The result of doing this is twofold:

  • Firstly, the learning activities will be more aligned with the overall course objectives
  • Secondly, the assessments will be more valid measurements of the desired learning

Ask Better Test Questions

Ask Better Test Question

Good test questions are those that assess whether students have learned what you intended. In addition to matching individual test items to learning objectives, you can improve your test questions by using verbs aimed at the different levels of Bloom’s taxonomy and using multiple question types based on the specific kind of knowledge you are trying to assess.

Read More:- How to Write the Perfect Test Questions

✓ Use Performance Assessments

A 1995 study entitled “Successful School Restructuring” found that effective teaching “requires students to apply academic learning to important realistic problems.”

While assessing knowledge through more traditional means, like multiple-choice tests, can be useful, in many cases performance assessments are better ways of measuring learning. According to the Department of Education’s Office of Technology Assessment, performance assessments include:

  • Open-ended or constructed response items in which there are multiple possible answers to a question
  • Performance-based items or events, which require students to perform some sort of action, such as writing a paragraph or drawing a diagram.
  • Projects or experiments, which may involve teamwork and often take an extended period of time
  • Portfolios, which are collections of student work

✓ Implement Grading Rubrics

Grading rubrics, aka scoring guides, are useful tools for grading subjective test items and performance assessments.

Using grading rubrics is beneficial for both students and teachers: they help students better understand what is expected of them, and they help teachers save time and improve their grading consistency.

Implement Grading Rubrics

Many grading rubric templates for common types of assessments are available online, usually for free.

You can also develop your grading rubrics—while this can be time-intensive at the beginning, it will save you countless hours down the road, especially if you reuse your assessments in different courses. 

The key to developing effective grading rubrics is to start by clearly defining the expectations for the assignment. Then, you can assign numerical values that represent how well students are meeting each expectation.

Use Technology to Save Time and Provide Immediate Feedback

One of the main weak points of traditional forms of assessment is the long delay between when students take the assessments and when they receive feedback on their work.

Think about the last time you gave a test—how long did it take you to grade and return it to your students?

Research has shown that immediate feedback on performance is an important component in successful learning. New technologies, such as online assessment software, can help you decrease the lag time and provide immediate feedback to students.

Watch: World’s easiest way to create online tests and assessments

While you will still have to grade essays and other subjective items by hand, online assessment software can automatically grade objective assessment items and give students immediate feedback on their work. It will save you both grading time and help you provide better instruction for your students.

✓ Student Learning Assessments: Rolling With the Times

The field of learning is constantly changing. To keep up as a teacher, you have to use every trick in the trade to make sure that students get the most out of the education process. Using these five tips will help you instantly improve the learner engagement and knowledge uptake to take the next leap in teaching.

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About the author

Priyanshi has more than four years of experience in the eLearning industry. She is an ardent follower of new trends emerging in the learning & training sphere and loves to create interesting articles on the same. She has a passion for listicles too. In her free time, you’ll probably find her reading or exploring bizarre content on the web.

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