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Web-based Assessment Resources

The Attitude Survey is a comprehensive guide to surveys that provides valuable information on student perceptions of their classroom experience. This includes general attitudes toward the course, the discipline, and their own learning. The results from this survey help you identify elements in your course which best support student learning.

ConcepTests were developed by Eric Mazur, a Harvard physics professor for teaching undergraduate physics courses. ConcepTest questions inform or calibrate students as to how well they understand what the instructor has identified as key ideas.

Concept Maps (more info) are two-dimensional, hierarchical node-link diagrams that depict the structure of knowledge within a scientific discipline as viewed by a student, an instructor or an expert in a field. The map is composed of concept labels, each enclosed in a box or oval; a series of labeled linking lines, and an inclusive, general-to-specific organization.

Conceptual Diagnostic Tests (more info) aim to assess students' conceptual understanding of key ideas in a discipline, especially those that are prone to misconceptions. Hence, they are discipline-specific, rather than generic. The format typically is multiple-choice, so that a conceptual diagnostic test can be given efficiently to large numbers of students and machine scored. Unlike traditional multiple-choice items--and this is crucial!--the distractors are designed to elicit misconceptions known from the research base.

Interviews (more info) In-depth "structured" interviews with a handful of carefully selected students will enable you to readily judge the extent of understanding your students have developed with respect to a series of well-focused, conceptually-related scientific ideas. This form of assessment provides feedback that is especially useful to instructors who want to improve their teaching and the organization of their courses.

Minute Papers (more info) The minute paper is traditionally done at the end of a class. You ask the students, either individually or in groups, to respond to a short question posed by you. They take a minute or two to write a response anonymously. You collect these minute papers, reflect upon them, note emergent themes, and formulate adjustments for the next class.

Portfolios (more info) provide a structure for long-duration, in-depth assignments. The use of portfolios transfers much of the responsibility of demonstrating mastery of concepts from the professor to the student.

Scoring Rubrics (more info) are a way of describing evaluation criteria (or "grading standards") based on the expected outcomes and performances of students. Typically, rubrics are used in scoring or grading written assignments or oral presentations; however, they may be used to score any form of student performance. Each rubric consists of a set of scoring criteria and point values associated with these criteria. In most rubrics the criteria are grouped into categories so the instructor and the student can discriminate among the categories by level of performance. In classroom use, the rubric provides an "objective" external standard against which student performance may be compared.

The Student Assessment of Learning Gains (more info) instrument spotlights those elements in the course that best support student learning and those that need improvement. SALG is a powerful tool that can be easily individualized, provides instant statistical analysis of the results, and facilitates formative evaluation throughout a course.

Weekly Reports are a formative assessment tool that asks students to respond to three questions: What did I learn this week?, What questions remain unclear? and What questions would you ask your students if you were the professor to find out if they understood the material?