The word "assessment" has taken on a variety of  meanings within the realm of higher education.  Classroom assessment is both a teaching approach and a set of techniques.  In this perspective, classroom assessment differs from the conventional viewpoint in that it is aimed at course and instructor impovement, rather than the simple act of assigning grades.  The primary goal in this discussion is to better understand your students' learning to improve your teaching.

Traditional Assessment  Both standardized and classroom testing procedures have advantages and disadvantages. Classroom tests are more flexible, can be readily adapted to revisions made in course content, and are best suited for assessing student progress toward specific course outcomes. Yet these types of informal assessments provide little or no information about how students are performing nationally in a specific content area. Standardized tests are better for portraying an individual’s general academic achievement. However, standardized tests are broad-based and do not provide the type of diagnostic information that faculty require for providing students with specific and corrective feedback related to mastery of specific course competencies.

Alternative Assessment  Alternative and authentic assessments represent a profound shift in attitudes toward the role of evaluation in learning.  In effect, it is an entire paradigm shift, perceiving the power that assessment can have on all areas of the instructional and learning process.  In this new paradigm, essential features directly replace old and outdated standards.   

Self Evaluation This page includes a number of useful links, including resources on Peer Observation of Teaching.