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Classroom assessment activities (Angelo, T. A., & Cross, K. P. (1993). Classroom assessment techniques: A handbook for college teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.)

Community-service learning and other fieldwork activities

Culminating projects, such as papers in capstone courses

Exams or parts of exams

Group projects and presentations

Homework assignments

In-class presentations

In-class writing assignments

Poster presentations and student research conferences

Student recitals and exhibitions

Assignments and activities are purposefully created to collect information relevant to specific program learning outcomes. Results are pooled across courses and instructors to indicate program accomplishments, not just the learning of students in specific courses.

Embedded Assignments and Course Activities Strengths and Weaknesses

Potential Strengths

Potential Weaknesses

Can provide direct evidence of student mastery of learning outcomes.

Out-of-class assignments are not restricted to time constraints typical for exams.

Students are generally motivated to demonstrate the extent of their learning.

Can provide authentic assessment of learning outcomes.

Can involve CSL or other fieldwork activities and ratings by fieldwork supervisors.

Can provide a context for assessing communication and teamwork skills.

Can be used for grading as well as assessment.

Faculty who develop the procedures are likely to be interested in results and willing to use them.

The evaluation process should directly lead faculty into discussions of student learning, curriculum, pedagogy, and student support services.

Data collection is unobtrusive to students.

Can provide information on equity of programs and services across all campuses.  

Requires time to develop and coordinate.

Requires faculty trust that the program will be assessed, not individual teachers.

Reliability and validity generally are unknown.

Norms generally are not available.


Portfolios provide concrete evidence of student work and can become effective in gauging changes in student ability across time.

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