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Assessment and Grading

An assesment is an evaluation as to whether are not a student has learned the required knowledge and skills for the course. Asessments are more than just a method to assign a grade; they are a powerful tool for measuring and guiding the learning process. A good assessment provides feedback on which concepts or tasks the students are struggling with, so the instructor can devise ways to help them better understand and apply the material.

Types of Assessment

Educators can use several types of assessments in their courses. 

A diagnostic assessment, such as a placement test or pretest, can be administered before placing a student in a course or at the start of a course to determine each students' level of proficiency, comprehension and mastery of information. It is important for students to be informed that diagnostic assessments are not graded assignments but tools used to help place them them in the correct level course or to help the faculty member determine their students' strengths and weaknesses. 

Formative assessments, which can be formal or informal, are used to determine if students are attaining the course objectives or if teaching styles need to be modified as the course progresses to help students achieve the core outcomes. Formative assessments can come in many forms such as observation, group discussions, assignments, projects and quizzes. They typically allow for immediate feedback which aids the faculty member and the student in tracking the status of their learning experience.

Summative assessments are used to measure the level of proficiency at the end of an instructional unit in order to compare what students have learned to a standard or benchmark. Since they are a cumulative assessment, summative assessments typically have a high point value. Midterms, final exams and final projects are often forms of summative assessment.