Assessment: What 3-D assessment is and how to use it for course activities

Thursday, Friday 8:30am-11:30am


Larry Collins, Washington State University- Pullman

How do we effectively design three-dimensional formative and summative assessments? Three-dimensional assessment allows us to evaluate higher order thinking skills while fostering a greater understanding of the nature of science in our students. We will focus on how to develop three-dimensional assessments, challenges in implementing these learning tools, and how to improve students' critical thinking and problem solving skills through high-quality assessment practices. Participants will leave with examples of ready-to-use assessment items applicable to instructors at all levels.


Many calls have been made to improve instructor pedagogy in the K-12 and undergraduate settings. Given the high pedagogical standards that have been established within K-16 communities, we must also have assessments that align with these instructional standards. This interactive workshop will heavily focus on how we can use 3-D assessments to monitor student learning "in the moment" and as graded summative assessments. We will also critique assessments that have already been designed in order to collaboratively revamp them and identify challenges together with using 3-D assessments in our courses.


This workshop is designed for anyone (K-12 or postsecondary) who teaches geoscience courses. We will focus on strategies for adapting these assessment principles to different course settings and contexts.


  • Discuss what 3-D assessment is and its role in K-16 instruction.
  • Identify how 3-D assessments can be used to foster an understanding of geological practices and serve as tools for learning.
  • Critique existing assessments for their alignment with principles of 3-D assessment and collaborate to improve them based upon workshop principles.
  • Evaluate strategies for addressing challenges with implementing these types of assessments in K-16 classrooms.


This interactive workshop will focus on increasing participants' understanding of 3-D assessments and how to apply these ideas into their own instructional practices. We will begin with a brief overview of each day's learning goals, small group discussions, a brief presentation, and the opportunity for participants to work together to critique and improve existing assessments based upon principles shared within our workshop. We will close on Friday by working together to discuss challenges of implementing these types of assessments in our classrooms.


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Underwood, S. M., Posey, L. A., Herrington, D. G., Carmel, J. H., & Cooper, M. M. (2018). Adapting assessment tasks to support three-dimensional learning. Journal of Chemical Education, 95(2), 207-217.