Selecting Forms of Assessment to Match Student Learning Outcomes and Measures
The basic forms of assessment to determine what has been learned in educational settings generally include:
- Selected (Fixed) Response Items - Multiple choice, true/false, matching
- Constructed Response - Fill-in-the-blank, short answer, list or define, essay, longer take-home essay response
- Observation or Personal Communication - Formats wherein the assessor interacts with the assessed, such as journals, interviews, oral exams, and supervised practices
- Performance Assessment - Formats in which the learner must create a new performance or product, or solve a new problem using complex thought and transfer of learning
- Portfolios - Collections of work that tell the story of a project, achievement across a range of expectations, strengths of a student’s capacities, growth over time, or a celebration of what the learner has enjoyed learning
To build these forms of assessment, the assessor always uses the tool of directions. For Selected Response and Constructed Response assessments, directions are the only tool usually necessary to build solid measurements (unless the long, take-home essay is utilized, described next).
If the task requires more complex evidence to determine what was learned, then more precise tools are needed to build the assessments. For longer, take-home essay responses, observations, personal communications, portfolios and performance assessments, checklists let the learner know how much and what kinds of evidence must be provided in order for the assessor to be able to make an inference as to whether the concept was mastered. Checklists identify the number of pages, resources, types of entries, numbers of check-ins, signatures, activities, etc. that must be presented to the assessor.
Matrices are used to let learners know what percent or weight each of the components of their work will count toward their grade. Matrices can include items such as tardiness, perceived persistence and other attitudinal items as the assessor feels appropriate.
Rubrics are for assessments that require complex, novel creation of new products or performances, or for assessments that require the learner to solve a new problem or to reveal a new understanding. For more details and for example rubrics, refer to Creating and Using Rubrics.