Assessing Student Learning

Veronica Thomas , Ph.D.

March 22, 2006

Video Segments

  1. Why is assessment important?
  2. Who can assess?
  3. What should teachers access?
  4. What is assessment?
  5. What are the steps in the process?
  6. How can teachers choose the best method?
  7. What can teachers do now?


Too often teachers assume that their students are learning. When asked whether their students are learning, they point to the grades on final exams or papers as if those grades will suffice. Or they describe their pedagogy—their lessons, assignments, and tests. Instead, this video explains, teachers need to use baseline, formative, and summative assessments to find out what students are learning and how well they are learning. In other words, teachers should follow the four steps in the “Assessment Loop”: (1) establish what students should know and be able to do by the end of the course, (2) collect evidence, (3) analyze and interpret the evidence, and (4) use data to document, explain, and improve students’ performance.