Importance of Assessment Consistency for Students

March 9, 2016 Kristen Hicks

Assessment has pretty much always been a part of students’ educational experiences. With different teachers typically taking different approaches to the assessment process, its effectiveness for students has varied. If you can institute some consistency in how your faculty completes and processes assessment, not only will it provide benefits for the larger institution, but you’ll provide your students the means to improve learning outcomes on their own terms as well.

1.  If your students receive assessment results in a consistent format for every class, they’ll know how to interpret them.

If different professors use different standards and forms of grading, the result will obviously be confusing. If your students know they can expect the same type of assessment report from every class, then they learn how to read and analyze it only once. From then on, they’ll have an easier time understanding their performance in each course based on the information in the reports.

2.  Assessment delivered with frequency gives students more opportunities to gauge progress and work on improvement.

When students take one big test at the end of a semester to gauge what they’ve learned, it leaves them without any opportunity throughout the semester to recognize where they’re lacking and focus on improvement. If they receive regular assessments through the semester and can see the results of them every time, they’ll get an early warning sign when there’s something they don’t understand. Assessments that provide feedback at regular intervals equip students with details on where to focus for better performance.

3.  If students know they can expect a report consistently, they can work it into their study process.

Useful, actionable feedback is one of the most important components to helping students know how to improve. If your students know they can expect weekly or bi-weekly progress reports with detailed information on how well they’re performing in different subject areas and competencies, then they can make a habit of working that information into the way they study.

4.  Easy-to-understand assessment data will help students better prepare for meetings with faculty.

In addition to making their own study time more efficient, clear assessment data can ensure that students who come in for office hours with faculty know exactly which areas to focus on and have a better idea of what questions to ask. Both the professor and the student start the meeting knowing where the student’s strengths and weaknesses lie, so they can tackle the most important issues immediately and use their time more efficiently.

5.  Putting more information into students’ hands shows trust.

While some students do perform better when they have some hand-holding to help them through the learning process, many fare best when they have the incentive and opportunity to create a more self-driven learning experience. Detailed assessment data puts the ability to demonstrate self-sufficiency into their hands and, perhaps as importantly, shows them that you trust them to do so. By the time a student reaches higher education, it’s important to treat them like adults and allow them the chance to behave as such. Consistent assessment reports can aid in that process.

 

Investing in exam software comes with an array of benefits: you increase exam security, make grading easier on professors, and save on the cost of materials. In addition, you provide your students with the ability to take more of their learning and progress into their own hands  to shape a better, more successful higher ed experience.

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