This module was developed for On the Cutting Edge by Karl Wirth at Macalester College and Dexter Perkins at the University of North Dakota.
What are Knowledge Surveys?Knowledge Surveys consist of a series of questions that cover the full content of a course. The surveys evaluate student learning and content mastery at all levels: from basic knowledge and comprehension through higher levels of thinking. Knowledge surveys can serve as both formative and summative assessment tools. The help students learn, help faculty improve their classrooms, and aid departments and programs as the explore new curricula or pedagogies.
Why use Knowledge Surveys?Knowledge surveys are designed to promote student thinking and reflection about course content. For the instructor, knowledge surveys provide organization and clarity to course content, and provide valuable information relevant to assessment of student learning and teaching methods used in the classroom. Learn more
How to use Knowledge Surveys?Students complete a course knowledge survey at the beginning of a course. This provides baseline information about their preparation and base knowledge. Students can then use the knowledge survey as a reading and study guide as they progress through course content. Portions of the knowledge survey can be administered just prior to each exam to help students assess their understanding and develop self-assessment skills. The complete knowledge survey is typically administered again at the end of a course to measure learning gains. Learn more
ResourcesThe literature on knowledge surveys is surprisingly skimpy.
Some important references (seminal and other helpful papers in bold text) are provided. (For web pages, the last date when the link was checked is given.) There are also sample questions that can be used as part of a Knowledge Survey.