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Assessing Student Learning: A Toolbox

Learning can occur on one's own. Teaching is an intervention. The teacher's job is to lead students through an obstacle course of activities so that learning (ideally, learning other than what students are likely to pick up on their own) might take place:

X + Y = Z

...where X = students' knowledge/skills before the intervention; Y = the educational intervention (class activities, assignments, projects); and Z = students' knowledge/skills after the intervention.

The goal of formal education is the following result:

Z > X

Vastly complicating the educational formula is the question: How can one determine, as objectively as possible, the degree to which Z is greater than X? Because of the intervention, how much was learned? How deep was the learning? How lasting? What can students now do that they couldn't do before? To what degree have thinking and reasoning skills been sharpened?

For participants in the Course Portfolio Working Group, learning assessment has been a central concern since this project's inception in 1997. Diverse instruments and approaches have been tried in courses that span the disciplines. This website gathers into one place:


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Last modified: 03/28/2017 01:22 pm
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