Assessment and Evaluation

USask Assessment Principles

In the 2022-23, USask adopted an updated set of principles about how we try to assess students.  Here are some tips about using each of the principles in your course.  Each principle is defined and related posts are listed.

Is aligned with learning outcomes and instructional strategies (assessment of learning). Alignment refers to the process of planning your learning outcomes to describe what your students will be able to do, know or value, and then planning how you will assess and teach based on those outcomes. When align to outcomes, you only gather evidence of academic achievement that is critical to those outcomes.

Is inclusive and transparent, so students have equitable opportunities to demonstrate their learning. When assessment is inclusive and transparent, students understand what they are trying to demonstrate through an assessment and what specific characteristics a good assessment product has. When we make assessments more inclusive, they are designed to work for well for a variety of access needs and cultures, often through choice or universal design.

Gives students multiple opportunities to learn through practice and feedback, so they have sufficient time and support to reflect and improve (assessment for learning). When assessment is designed to grow students learning, students get early, often ungraded, feedback on their practice.  They learn how to do well, and then do an assessment designed to grade their completed learning. Timely feedback and reflection are designed into the course.

Develops student’s ability to learn effectively and prepares students to be self-directed, reflective, and engaged learners (assessment as learning).  The assessments that make the biggest long term impact on student learning require them to engage with complex issues and problems, make choices about how to proceed and reflect on how they did.

Is designed so students apply disciplinary learning under authentic, or as close to authentic as possible, circumstances. Our disciplines play important roles in the fabric of our society.  Well-designed assessments help students to think like members of our disciplines and professions, and use the types of skills they will use when they graduate.

Is designed and sequenced to optimize students’ success. A key goal of the assessment process to help as many students as possible learn your course outcomes. To that end, it is important to only assess skills and content you have spent substantial time teaching, and to assess chunks or steps of hard concepts to help students break hard learning into parts.


Assessment Principles beyond one course

Discussions about effective assessment practice impact you when you plan your course, but they are also a part of discussions in your department, college or school.  In addition to the initials 6 principles mentioned above, there are 4 more  (principles 7-10) that focus on the types of assessment decisions made as a group of faculty and academic leaders. Effective assessment is embedded in departments, colleges/schools, and system-wide when it:

  1. Provides a valid and trustworthy representation of student achievement that students, educators, disciplines, accrediting bodies, and employers can have confidence in.
  2. Is manageable and sustainable for educators, and appropriately facilitated by policy and resourcing.
  3. Provides useful information for ongoing course and program enhancement.
  4. Forms an integral part of program design, aligning with what programs of study are aiming to achieve within disciplinary communities.