Assessment for Learning


A position paper from Carnegie Foundation Perspectives (2009) that ends with these comments:

College teachers are aware of gaps in student learning as a result of routinely grading their students' work. Encouraging teachers to assess student learning as it takes place in the classroom can help them answer questions about how and why the gaps exist. Assessing how students learn can lead to the kind of information we need to make decisions about how to improve teaching and learning.

Ten Principles of Assessment FOR Learning (UK Assessment Reform Group)

This page, posted on the web site of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority in the UK, outlines and explains 10 principles of using assessment for improved student learning.

This document, found at the website of the Carl Weiman Science Education Initiative at UBC, is a 2-page summary of key points and factors from the review paper Conditions Under Which Assessment Supports Student Learning by G. Gibbs and C. Simpson.  It also provides suggestions for assessment that is time efficient yet provides feedback to improve student learning.

This document, posted at the website of the Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University, suggests 10 ways to use assessment to improve student learning. 


Green, D.H. (1997) Student-Generated Exams: Testing and LearningJournal of Marketing Education, 19 (2), 43-53.

This article describes the use of student-generated exam questions as an easy-to-use, effective learning tool.  This is its conclusion:

Student-generated test questions and examinations are novel and highly involving.  Both improve learning throughout the term and may help students move beyond acquisition of knowledge to its analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  Student-generated questions also provide the professor with an extensive, relevant test bank.  The advantages of this process outweigh the few disadvantages.  The end result is an opportunity for more in-depth learning by the students and a more enjoyable teaching environment for the professor.

Hiller, T.H. and Hietapetto, A.B. (2001) Contract Grading: Encouraging Commitment to the Learning Process Through Voice in the Evaluation ProcessJournal of Management Education, 25 (6), 660-684.

This article is a very interesting discussion of this idea:

We contend that contract grading is an elemental structural component of postmodern pedagogy. As discussed by Bilimoria (1995), a shift from modern to postmodern pedagogical perspectives means a shift from a performance paradigm in which the teacher’s central role is to provide instruction to a learning paradigm in which his or her role is to facilitate learning.

Another quote to entice you:

By giving our students some voice over what and how they are evaluated, contract grading helps us create a “classroom of respect” (Giampetro-Meyer &Holc, 1997) built on learning partnerships with our students and facilitates a postmodern learning environment. We think it is critical that students become less passive learners—that they take some responsibility for their own learning through having voice in the design of their individualized grading contracts.