What is Classroom Assessment?
Classroom Assessment is a collection of Indirect Assessment techniques which are like small surveys of what your students are learning or having problems with learning. From the student's point of view, you ask simple questions that can be answered on half a sheet of paper. This ongoing gathering of information on the quality of student's learning serves as immediate feedback to prompt the instructor to make modifications in pedagogy. The idea is to make mid-course or even mid-lecture adjustments if students express problems learning the material. In this sense, Classroom Assessment is one of the most powerful assessment tools in closing the loop to bring about gains in student learning. The approach is to formalize a process that good instructors generally employ when they pick up subtle feedback that students are having problems understanding material being taught and adjust the teaching style accordingly.
- The techniques are simple and easy to use.
- The techniques take little class time.
- The techniques are anonymous (students are embarrassed for not understanding).
- The techniques give immediate feedback and improve the learning process.
- The techniques let your students know that you care about the quality of the learning process.
In some cases classroom assessment techniques appear, on the surface, to be a direct assessment tool. An example I am thinking of here would be the use of homework assignments in a Math Course. The homework may be graded to give feedback to the individual student on their learning achievement (a direct assessment). If the faculty member reviews the overall homework assignment from the point of view of, "What did they learn in this module and where were they confused?" The instructor then returns to the class the next class period to review and employ alternative approaches to instruction so that learning is improved. This is using the homework assignment as a survey of student learning and is an indirect assessment technique.
Angelo, T. & Cross, K. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A handbook for college teachers. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
More Information on developing Classroom Assessment Tools:
College Level One Team Field-Tested Learning Assessment Guide