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Discuss assessment considerations

“What is the purpose of assessments?”

“What are the types of assessments and assessment instruments?”

“How do I create an assessment strategy?”

“What are some tips for writing assessment questions?”

Assessments measure how well learners have met defined objectives. As much as many learners don’t like hearing, “now it’s time for a quiz,” assessments are a valuable tool. They can help learners, facilitators, and organizations discover how well learners have mastered knowledge, skills, and abilities (before, during, and after instruction), measure the effectiveness of the learning design, and identify opportunities for learning intervention.

Through this lesson, you should be able to identify the different types of assessments and decide when and how to use them in your designs.

What is the purpose of assessments?

“Assessment is the bridge between teaching and learning–it is only through assessment that we can find out whether what has happened in the classroom has produced the learning we intended.” - Dylan Williams

The purpose of assessments is to provide learners, facilitators, and organizations with data that can help them gather insights around learner progress, facilitator performance, as well as learning program effectiveness.

What are the types of assessments and assessment instruments?

There are two primary types of assessments: formative and summative.

Formative assessments are used to monitor and guide learning during the instructional process. They help learners check for understanding in a “low stakes” environment and give faculty an opportunity to provide feedback. Examples of formative assessments include quizzes and practice activities.

Summative assessments evaluate learners after the instructional process (e.g. at the end of a module or unit). Examples include a midterm or final exam, a skill-based observation, projects, and presentations.

Scroll through the carousel to view additional examples of formative and summative assessments.

How do I create an assessment strategy?

Before selecting the types of assessments to incorporate into a learning experience, take time to develop a high-level assessment strategy that:

Defines the purpose of assessments for your project (e.g. screening/placement, certification, improving performance, fulfilling prerequisite to future learning).

Identifies opportunities to incorporate formative assessments throughout the instructional process to help learners gauge their progress and receive feedback (e.g. after demonstrations, after presenting complex concepts).

Determines where summative assessments are necessary to evaluate knowledge, skills, and abilities (e.g. end of unit, end of course/program).

What are some tips for writing assessment questions?

When taking a quiz or test, have you ever missed a question because the question stem and/or answer options were vague? On the other hand, perhaps you answered questions correctly because the answer choices made it obvious. Those are examples of poorly written questions, which assess a learner’s test-taking ability more than evaluating their mastery of the objectives.

Watch this video for some tips on writing assessment questions.

Summary and next steps

Assessments are a useful tool for evaluating learner, facilitator, and learning experience progress and performance. Whereas formative assessments measure progress during the learning experience, summary assessments measure performance after instruction takes place. Before selecting assessment types, remember to create assessment strategies. Then, follow the tips shared in this lesson to ensure your assessments are instructionally sound.

Now that you are familiar with considerations for assessments, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Learn the basics series: Prepare for project kickoffs.


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