Principles of Good Assessment

Good assessments share some characteristics. They

  1. Isolate skills. Assessments can evaluate more than one skill, provided that there is a way to separate out the skills. Where one skill is dependent on the successful deployment of another skill, it will be difficult to see which the student is having difficulty with.
  2. Reveal student thinking. They not only show how the students answer, but also provide clues to how they arrived at that answer.
  3. Separate out degrees of student mastery. If there are no degrees between success and failure it is difficult help students move toward mastery.
  4. Lend themselves to repeated use within a course.
  5. May be graded, but do not have to be.

It is always a good idea to give an assessment a trial run early in a course and to sort out student responses. This will help you see the range of student answers and gauge where the students are starting out.

Examples of Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATS).