Choosing Assessments That Allow All Students to Succeed

Student studying for a test
Student Success
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Author: Dr. Jenny Billings, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College 

I’ve written and spoken a great deal on a process for creating goals and objectives to help measure course performance. This year, I think it’s important we talk about student success from the student perspective.

As an instructor, I always want to make sure I’m reaching all of my students; I’m sure this is true for you, too. In the classrooms of today, we must rise to this challenge more than ever before. With each day, our classrooms are evolving, becoming increasingly diverse in student population, resources available and technology used. Many of us have worked hard to meet the needs of all learners; we’ve taken a much closer look at our courses and instruction, being sure to include ADA compliant materials and assignments.

Why Diverse Assessments Matter

To be honest, the types of assessments you give should be just as diverse as your student population. You already know your students do not learn the same; similarly, students do not assess the same way, either. It’s important that we afford all students a chance to show what they know—an opportunity to shine.

Not doing well on one assessment is not necessarily proof that a student didn’t know the content. When considering that individual student, the assessment may not have been the best option for him or her. For this reason, you should always have back-up assessments. That way, when a student surprises you with a poor performance on the first assessment, you can give them a second chance on another.

Tips for Back-Up Assessments

 When using a back-up assessment, make sure:

  1. it’s measuring the same learning/objective of course
  2. the assessment is just as challenging
  3. the method of assessment is different (i.e. if the first type was multiple choice, try short answer for the second)

Meeting all students where they are also presents thoughts on resources available, support services offered and knowing students’ individual needs (how are those realized, or even communicated?).

If you feel your course has been set up so that it meets the appropriate objectives, how do you make sure your students are actually learning? Which assessment types should you use and when? How can you track student progress digitally?

The good news: you have options to help answer the aforementioned questions. Plus, you can vary these options, especially when using deliberate digital. Hopefully I’ll see you at my webinar where we can discuss this topic in depth.