Assessing What Your Students Are Learning
For a thorough treatment of assessment, go to the Cutting Edge pages on Observing and Assessing Student Learning or the Primer on Assessment in the Geosciences. NOTE: Each of these links opens a page in a new window, because they take you off of the Cutting Edge "Early Career" Teaching pages, to pages from the Cutting Edge and Starting Point collections.
Additional resourcesJump to Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning | Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) | Articles
Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning
- Bloom et al.'s Taxonomy of the Cognitive Domain, a summary by educational psychologist Dr. William Huitt, Valdosta State University. Dr. Huitt briefly defines the six levels of cognition in Bloom's taxonomy, gives examples of verbs that elicit each level of thinking, and then gives an example of a learning outcome at that level. He also describes recent revisions to the higher levels of the taxonomy.
Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)
- The Classroom Assessment Techniques Overview ( This site may be offline. ) is just what it sounds like: overviews of about a dozen different CATs, from the National Institute for Science Education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
- Matching Goals to CATs (more info) allows you to choose five or six learning goals (from an extensive list), and selects CATs that will allow you to assess whether your students are meeting those goals. This resource is also from the folks at the National Institute for Science Education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.
- Classroom Response Systems:
- You can use Classroom Response Systems (also known as clickers) to provide immediate feedback (to yourself and your students) about how well students understand the material.
- Concept Tests make excellent clicker questions, assessing student understanding of concepts (going beyond simple recall of information).
- Grading rubrics:
- Classroom Assessment Techniques: Scoring Rubrics: ( This site may be offline. ) Diane Ebert-May, from the Department of Plant Biology at Michigan State University, has written an extensive description of what rubrics are, how she develops them, and how she uses them. She includes several examples, for a variety of exercises.
- Assessment Using Rubrics describes rubrics and their uses, and includes links to several geoscience examples.
- Assessing beginning knowledge and misconceptions:
- Classroom Assessment Techniques: Conceptual Diagnostic Tests ( This site may be offline. ) describes the use of multiple choice tests to diagnose the presence of student misconceptions at the beginning of a course. Diagnosing misconceptions is essential because students build upon prior knowledge, including any misconceptions (more info) they hold (National Research Council, 1997) .
From the Tomorrow's Professor Mailing List
- General Guidelines for Developing Multiple Choice Items gives some excellent advice on how to construct good multiple choice questions.
- Teaching and Grading Group Assignments provides suggestions on designing and grading effective group assignments.