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Assessment of Teaching and Learning 

Typology of Modes for the Assessment of Teaching and Learning

The various modes of assessment can be organized by whether they are formative or summative assessments and whether they are assessing faculty teaching or student learning. These distinctions yield the following typology:

Formative Assessment of Teaching

Formative assessments should be used more frequently and are designed to provide information and feedback to an instructor about his or her teaching for the purpose of learning, developing, and improving. 

        A. The following forms can be used to get student feedback periodically throughout the semester:

        B. Class visitation by a peer or colleague, or the Office of Faculty Excellence, that can provide feedback and advice on classroom teaching. For a formative assessment of classroom teaching, a narrative (rather than rating) format can be used.

        C. Small Group Feedback Session. A colleague or staff member of the Office of Faculty Excellence can meet with students in the class and compile feedback and information from the students, on strengths and weaknesses, which can then be communicated to the instructor.

Small Group Feedback Session  

        D. Review and consultation. The Office of Faculty Excellence can meet with faculty to discuss and evaluate any aspect of teaching and learning in a course. 

Summative Assessment of Teaching

Summative Assessments are used primarily for personnel decisions when some conclusion is being made about the quality of a person's teaching. The results are often public and included in a dossier. In addition to the Instructional Satisfaction Questionnaire, instructors might want to:

        A. survey students using forms with some open-ended questions:

        B. have a peer or colleague conduct a class visitation/observation. For summative assessment of teaching there should be a pre-visitation conference and the use of objective rating/scaling forms that reduce subjectivity and allow for comparability.

Formative Assessment of Learning

This refers to the various ways we can assess how well our students are learning the material in our courses. The information gathered can be used by students to decide where they need to work harder and by faculty to determine where they need to spend additional time. The feedback here is not so much a formal grade as self-assessment and monitoring of learning progress.

A. Active learning classroom exercises that give students the opportunity to apply and practice what they learn

B. Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) - ungraded assessment to provide students with feedback on their learning for the purpose of improvement

For many more examples of CATs, see the handbook by Angelo and Cross,  Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers. A copy is available in the Office of Faculty Excellence Resource Library.

Summative Assessment of Learning

Instructors engage in Summative Assessment of Learning when they grade various forms of student work that assesses the quality of performance in the course. Instructors are encouraged, when possible, to use:

        A. Authentic Assessments - evaluation of performance on the valued knowledge and skills we expect students to possess at the end of the course and that are relevant to the practice of the discipline.

        B. Rubrics for evaluating the quality of the work - explicit criteria distinguishing differentially graded student work.

The Teaching Portfolio

The teaching portfolio is designed as a means to present the various products of one's teaching as they would their research and scholarship. The portfolio can contain components of all of the above as well as a narrative and reflective statement on one's teaching philosophy.

Outlining a typical Table of Contents for a Teaching Portfolio with a listing of further resources

Here are a few additional helpful external links: