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Assessment, rubrics, and grading

Assessment is a word that almost no one loves. It’s often associated with prescriptive testing regimes and a heavy-handed culture of accountability. But assessment is actually central to the entire educational mission because, without it, we can’t say with any degree of confidence that learning has occurred. Ultimately, the goal of assessment transcends simply determining whether learning has happened. Effective assessment aims to collect and analyze information in the service of improving teaching and learning.

Creating assessments

When designed effectively, assessments can provide instructors with information and feedback they can use to improve students’ learning and their teaching.
Learn more about designing effective assessments.


Having access to a rubric before the start of an assignment can help students better understand your expectations and what constitutes success in an assignment. Instructors often find that rubrics help improve the consistency of their grading and provide more efficient ways to provide learners with valuable feedback.
Learn more about rubrics.


Grading is an extremely complex task and an important part of the instructional process. Grading serves as a feedback loop between the instructor and the student – providing each with information about how to improve. To be effective, your grading and grading policy should be consistent with the learning objectives for your course.
Learn more about grading.

Constructing tests

Designing tests is an important part of assessing students’ understanding of course content and their ability to apply their learning. Whether you use frequent, low-stakes assessments (e.g., quizzes) or infrequent, high-stakes assessments (e.g., midterm and final), careful design can help provide you with more reliable information about your students’ learning.
Learn more about constructing tests.