Communicating Assessment Expectations to Students

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  • 0:04 Student Assessment Preparation
  • 0:47 The Testing Instrument…
  • 1:41 Assessment Criteria
  • 2:39 Rubrics
  • 3:43 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

Student assessment preparation should include an explanation of the expected responses, how the scoring will be done, and information on the types of questions that will be asked. Students are better able to prepare when they know what to expect.

Student Assessment Preparation

Let's face it: test-taking is a stressful business for students. Even the most prepared student will quiver in the face of a test, and much of this anxiety comes from not knowing what is on the test or how the test will be graded. The student may even end up studying the wrong information. That's why it is so important for teachers to prepare their students for a test in advance by mapping out the assessment and their expectations. There are a number of ways a teacher can accomplish this. For example, he or she can:

  • Explain the testing instrument
  • Practice question types
  • Discuss the assessment criteria
  • Provide a rubric
  • Review the information being tested

Let's talk about how these strategies work.

The Testing Instrument and Practice Tests

Teachers assess student learning in several different ways. Whether it is showing your work on a math problem or writing a 5-paragraph essay, students do better when they know what testing instrument will be used to measure their knowledge. A testing instrument is a fancy term for question type and includes true/false, multiple choice, essay, and matching questions. Some students are better at decoding multiple choice answers, while others do better with long, written explanations.

The best advice for a teacher is to let students know what type of test will be given ahead of time. This gives the students time to practice and prepare for the test. One way students can prepare is by taking a practice test, which is simply an ungraded assessment that is similar to the actual test in form and content. It doesn't have to be lengthy; just a few questions will get students warmed up for the real test. The practice session will help ease any fears of what is to come.

Assessment Criteria

Right before the test, it is a good idea to discuss the assessment criteria, which are the standards by which the test will be graded. If a test is worth 100 points, the teacher should explain point breakdown. Start with the overall score, and then break down how students can achieve the highest score. For example, an assessment with a three-part structure including an essay question, ten multiple choice questions, and ten true/false questions, might be broken down as:

  • Overall assessment is worth 100 points
  • Essay is worth 50 points
  • Multiple choice questions are worth 2.5 points each for 25 possible points
  • True/false questions are worth 2.5 points each for 25 possible points

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