Skip to Top NavigationSkip to Utility NavigationSkip to SearchSkip to Left NavigationSkip to Content
Mobile Menu

Thursday, Nov. 15

The University will close today at 4:30 p.m. with the exception of the following event: Tonight's Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series performance by the St. Lawrence String Quartet will continue as scheduled at 7:30 p.m. in Millard Auditorium. All classes starting at or after 4:30 p.m. will not meet; classes in session will dismiss at 4:30 p.m. Hartt Community Division activities after 3 p.m. today are canceled.

Choosing Assessment Methods

The process of choosing assessment methods is tied directly to the formulation of learning outcomes; no one kind of assessment works equally well across all learning outcomes.

For most, if not all, of your outcomes, you will want to assess at more than one point in the program. Even if you expect that students have mastered a particular skill after a certain point in the program, you will want to check and see if they still have command of that skill as seniors. Assessment methods are used to evaluate student learning by comparing a student’s product or performance against some standard or benchmark at a particular point in time (e.g., the end of an instructional unit, course, or program). These are ordinarily high stakes, high point-value products or performances. They can be embedded in particular courses or can be stand-alone tasks. Looking at the performance of groups of students on an assessment gives the faculty a picture of how the program is doing in achieving a particular learning outcome.

You have two aspects of assessment to consider: the product to be assessed and the method by which it will be assessed.  Here are some common examples of products to be assessed:

  • Final or comprehensive exam
  • Licensure or qualifying exam
  • Standardized test
  • Portfolio
  • Capstone project
  • Research paper
  • Thesis/dissertation
  • Presentation/Speech/Debate
  • Recital/show/audition
  • Observation

Answering the following questions will help guide faculty to develop effective assessment tasks.

  • What knowledge, skills, and dispositions do I expect students to draw upon in this task?
  • In what real-life settings do individuals use the knowledge that I identified and what ill-defined problems do they typically address?
  • For each ill-defined problem, what task(s) could I sketch out for students to complete?
  • Which task best exemplifies the characteristics of an exemplary assessment task?
  • Which assessment format will work best for this task?
  • What criteria should my students and I use in shaping and critiquing student work?


Characteristics of Effective Assessments


Identify what students are learning well and what requires more attention


Address ill-defined problems/issues that are enduring or emerging


Provoke, as well as evaluate, student learning


Are structured so that activities lead to desired performance product


Provoke student interest and persistence


Allow students to reveal their uniqueness as learners


Provide feedback to students leading to improvement


Require use of declarative, procedural, and metacognitive knowledge


Yield multiple lines of evidence that point to the same conclusion


Yield useful information to guide learning