Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education

Section 1

Section 2
  Background  Survey
What is Assessment?
Why Assessment?
 Educational Improvement
Formative Feedback
Learning Paradigm
Prompting Learning

Section 3
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Section 4
Assessment Tools and Data

Section 5
Course Assessment

Section 6
Program Assessment


Section 7
Closing the Loop

Section 8
Implementing Assessment Training on Campus


Section 9
References & Resources



Using Materials from this Website

Assessment and Diagnostic Formative Feedback.

The diagnostic information produced through assessment creates a conduit to significantly improve learning through corrective feedback. Black and Wiliam (1998) conducted an extensive meta-analysis of over 250 articles in order to analyze data documenting the effect of formative assessment. The evidence of their analysis was impressive; formative assessment yielded effect sizes of between 0.4 and 0.7, improving education, more than any other educational intervention.

"An effect size of 0.4 would mean that the average pupil involved in an innovation would record the same achievement as a pupil in the top 35% of those not so involved. An effect size gain of 0.7 in recent international comparative studies in mathematics would have raised the score of a nation in the middle of the pack of 41 countries (e.g. the U.S.) to one of the top five." (Black and Wiliam, p. 141)

Stiggins (2002) interpreted the effect gains from the Black and Wiliam's research as the equivalent of moving student performance an average gain of 30 percentile points, two letter grades, or 100 points on the SAT scale. This degree of improvement is unprecedented in education by any means of innovative strategies or methods described in the literature. These data indicate the importance of classroom activities linked to assessment and formative feedback. Faculty-driven, classroom-based assessment focused on learning, produces a dynamic feedback loop between faculty and students that energizes the learning environment and produces tangible improvements in education.

Proceed to Assessment for Learning part 3

Resources and Links

  Inside the Black Box; Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80 (2), p. 139-144. Black,& Wiliam

Assessment for Excellence: The Philosophy and Practice of Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education. Astin (1993)

Classroom Assessment for Learning. Educational Leadership, 60(1), 40-43 Chappuis & Stiggins (2002)

Doing Assessment as if Learning Matters Most
Angelo (1999)


Janet Fulks ( & Kate Pluta (
Assessing Student Learning in Community Colleges (2004), Bakersfield College