• assessed. Assessments should examine what students understand about such practices and how they use tools appropriate to that discipline.

  • The design of high-quality assessments is a complex process that involves numerous iterative and interdependent components. Decisions made at a later stage of the design process can affect those occurring at an earlier stage. Thus, as faculty develop assessments of student learning, they must often revisit their choices of questions and approaches and refine their designs.

  • Although reporting of results occurs at the end of an assessment cycle, assessments must be designed from the outset to ensure that reporting of the desired types of information will be possible. Providing students with information about particular qualities of their work and about what they can do to improve is crucial for maximizing learning.

  • For assessment to be effective, students must understand and share the goals for learning that are assessed. Students learn more when they understand and, in some cases, participate in developing the criteria by which their work will be evaluated, and when they engage in peer and self-assessment during which they apply those criteria. Such practices also help students develop metacognitive abilities, which, in turn, improve their development of expertise in a discipline or subject area.

SOURCE: Excerpted and modified from NRC (2001, pp. 2–9). References to support these statements are provided in that report.

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