Some Questions to Think About When Designing an Assessment

Some Questions to Think About When Designing an Assessment
1. What is your question?
2. What type of outcome do you want to measure?
o Cognitive  Student can self-report knowledge (ok) or they can demonstrate it (better).
o Affective  Attitudes can be demonstrated, but often it is more practical to ask students
about their attitudes.
2. What type of data do you want to collect?
o Psychological  It is often easier to ask about someone’s personal traits than it is to
observe them.
o Behavioral  Student can self-report behavior (ok) or they can demonstrate it (better).
3. What is your time frame?
o Short-term: Allows for a variety of assessments during/immediately following programs.
o Long-term: Can be difficult to track students and retain their commitment.
4. What type of measure do you want/need? Direct is most desirable, but practically speaking a mix of
types is good.
o Direct measures require you to evaluate the products of students’ work.
o Indirect measures are based on students’ perceptions and/or often draw a connection
between some activity and a desired outcome.
o Norm-, criterion- or self-referenced
5. Additional considerations
o Are you assessing behaviors or attitudes that are sensitive, controversial, or personal? If so,
the anonymity/confidentiality of a survey can be a significant benefit. Beware of “socially
desirable” responses.
o What type of assessment is likely to be most effective with your target population?
o How many students are involved?
o What are your assessment skills and where can you find help? Talk to a friendly skeptic.
o What are your resources (human, financial, etc.)?
o What is your time frame for the assessment and producing results?
o What evidence, if any, do you have already? What will compliment it?
o What is convincing evidence from your audience’s perspective?
Assessment question:
Type of outcome:
Type of data:
Time frame:
Type of measure:
Additional considerations:
What type of evidence do you have already (if any?)
Who is the audience for your assessment?
Possible assessment tools: