Teach the Earth > Student Learning: Observing and Assessing > Assessment Tools

Assessment Tools

Below are links to assessment tools and techniques along with specific geoscience examples and resources.

Carol Ormand's toolbox, complete with rock hammer. Photo courtesy of Carol Ormand.
  • Concept Maps - A diagramming technique for assessing how well students see the "big picture".
  • ConcepTests - Conceptual multiple-choice questions that are useful in large classes.
  • Knowledge Survey - Students answer whether they could answer a survey of course content questions.
  • Exams - Find tips on how to make exams better assessment instruments.
  • Oral Presentations - Tips for evaluating student presentations.
  • Poster Presentations - Tips for evaluating poster presentations.
  • Peer Review - Having students assess themselves and each other.
  • Portfolios - A collection of evidence to demonstrate mastery of a given set of concepts.
  • Rubrics - A set of evaluation criteria based on learning goals and student performance.
  • Written Reports - Tips for assessing written reports.
  • Other Assessment Types Includes concept sketches, case studies, seminar-style courses, mathematical thinking and performance assessments.
  • Topics Of Particular Interest

    • Large Class Assessment Learn more about assessment strategies that are particularly useful for large classes and see examples of how techniques were employed in geoscience classes.
    • Using Technology Learn more about how technology can improve classroom assessment and see how techniques were employed in geoscience classes.

    Don't Know Which Tool to Use? Look Through our Introductory Resources

    • Assessment and Active Learning Strategies for Introductory Geology Courses (Acrobat (PDF) 390kB Mar8 05), David McConnell, David Steer, Kathie Owens, 2003, Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 51, n. 2, March, 2003, p. 205-216, is a good, concise, introduction to assessment techniques.
    • Primer on Assessment in the Geosciences is an in depth introduction to assessment created for faculty teaching introductory courses.
    • DLESE Evaluation Toolkit (more info) aims to help geoscience educators and project evaluators find good resources, get feedback and help with geoscience education evaluation, and share results with one another.
    • Evaluation Cookbook (more info) is a basic guide to evaluation methods for lecturers in a cookbook format.
    • OERL: Online Evaluation Resource Library website designed for professionals working on project evaluations.
    • The Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International has conducted a number of projects creating assessment designs and examples for middle and high school students that are relevant to the geosciences, including:
      • PALS (more info) is an on-line, standards-based, continually updated resource bank of science performance assessment tasks indexed via the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and various other standards frameworks.
      • PALM is currently being developed as an on-line, standards-based, resource bank of mathematics performance assessment tasks indexed via the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM).
      • Integrative Performance Assessments in Technology (IPAT) is a site developed for middle or high school teachers, school administrators, or evaluators who are interested in assessing how proficient students are using computer-based technology to carry out Information and Communications Technology (ICT). The site provides five pilot-tested assessment tasks: Car Crash, Solar Power, Choose a City, EPA Phoenix, and Predator-Prey.
      • Global Learning Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) includes classroom assessment tools that test students' deep understanding of GLOBE concepts and their ability to conduct and interpret GLOBE environmental investigations, set up for middle and high school teachers. The examples related to a number of educational standards.

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