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Information Literacy & Pedagogy Toolkit for Librarians

What is Assessment?


Assessment is about telling a story–the story of our students’ learning, the story of our instruction program, the story of our contributions to overall student success.

--from A Twenty Year Path: Learning about Assessment, Learning from Assessment by Debra Gilchrist in Communications in Information Literacy, vol. 3, no. 2, 2009

Assessment is an important part of the teaching and learning process, one that provides meaningful feedback to students, faculty, and librarians about what students are learning and how learning experiences can be improved. Assessment is not an isolated activity but a continuous cycle--see image (Gilchrist 2006). 


Types of Assessment

Direct Assessment: Measures student performance of learning outcomes.

Indirect Assessment: Measures students' opinions or thoughts about their knowledge, skills, attitudes, and learning experiences.

Formative Assessment: Provides feedback to instructors who can then improve their teaching or feedback to students who can then improve their learning. 

Summative Assessment: Evaluates student learning at the end of an instructional unit (class, course, etc.)

Self-Report: Asks students to estimate their learning.

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs): Short, lesson-integrated assessments that gather student feedback about their learning.

Fixed-Choice Tests: Often multiple choice; strive for objectivity

Performance Assessments: Focus on students' tasks or products/artifacts of those tasks; strive for context and authenticity in learning experiences. 

Assessment Resources

Helpful Books

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Helpful Websites