Think about one of your courses, and ask yourself, “How will I know if my students have learned what I want them to? What can they do to practice and demonstrate their learning throughout the course?”

These are foundational questions for course assessment planning. Consider a course assessment plan as a matrix that maps both formative and summative assessments against your learning objectives and combines a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures. Formative assessments are the lower-stakes opportunities to practice learning such as homework problems, quizzes, group work, and drafts. Formative assessments can be used to scaffold learning as students work toward a summative assessment, the high-stakes evaluation opportunities, such as exams and large-scale or final projects. 

How you combine formative and summative assessments provides students the pathway to learn, practice, and demonstrate their progress toward the course learning goals. 

In this resource, we walk through five steps to developing an assessment plan:

  1. Review your course learning objectives and goals

  2. Choose and design assessments

  3. Choose the right tools for assessments

  4. Develop assessment criteria and rubrics

  5. Determine your feedback strategy

Once you have completed the activities in this resource, you will have a solid plan with which to start your course. We’ll also offer suggestions for implementing and iterating your plan as well as additional resources you may find useful.