About Academic Assessment

This section contains resources for both assessment of student learning and course quality. Select from the menu below to learn more about assessment and evaluation topics in academic assessment.

Students and Learners
Classroom Assessment Techniques
Course Quality
Higher Learning Commission Resources
NDSU Assessment Helix




Assessment and Evaluation of Students and Learners

This is an index of best finds that highlight the various aspects of assessment of student learning in higher education courses. 


Assessment Resources from Professional Organizations

Many professional organizations provide strong support for assessment of student learning. The members of the University Assessment Committee have recommended the following link from the Accrediting Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) for the direct comments about assessment.

Mathematics is another discipline for which good information is available.  See the Mathematical Association of America's main site or its collection of resources webpage.


Philosophy of Assessment


Comprehensive Handbooks


Learning Goals & Objectives
  • Teaching Goals Inventory
    An interactive webpage created by Angelo and Cross and offered through the University of Iowa. From the website: "The Teaching Goals Inventory (TGI) is a self-assessment of instructional goals. Its purpose is threefold: (1) to help college teachers become more aware of what they want to accomplish in individual courses; (2) to help faculty locate Classroom Assessment Techniques they can adapt and use to assess how well they are achieving their teaching and learning goals; and (3) to provide a starting point for discussion of teaching and learning goals among colleagues." The inventory is automated and self-scoring.



Rubrics are one way of establishing criteria that can be used to more objectively rate student work. A rubric is an explicit set of criteria against which student tasks or assignments can be compared, for the purposes of assessment. A rubric describes the characteristics and attributes of varying levels of quality work, and assigns a value to each level - often either a point structure or a corresponding letter grade. It is not uncommon for instructors who use rubrics to make these available to students prior to completing assignments so that students are both fully aware of what constitutes quality work, and can consciously endeavor to meet expectations.

  • Guide to creating and reasons for using rubrics
    This is the website for Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition at the University of Minnesota.
  • Rubrics - University of Wisconsin, Stout
    Includes literally dozens of rubrics for a variety of learning situations including cooperative learning, student-authored media projects (podcasting, PowerPoint, video), oral presentations, math and science, and writing, for a variety of age groups.
  • "Writing Assessment Rubrics"
    This guide offers sample rubrics specifically for writing assignments covering six points of a written assignment: voice, ideas and content, sentence fluency, word choice, organization, and conventions.
  • Rubrics for Student Work
    This website offers specific examples of rubrics for different types of student assignments.
  • Creating Your Own Rubrics
    Here are two online rubric wizards for creating and printing your own rubrics for any class project, paper or assignment.


University Centers & Research Institutions


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles Online


Print Resources
  • Angelo, T.A. & Cross, K.P. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd. Ed.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
  • Miller, M.D., Linn, R.L., & Gronlund, N.E. (2008). Measurement and Assessment in Teaching, 10th Ed. Prentice Hall Publishers.
  • Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. Bolton, MA: Anker.
  • Wiggins, G. (1998). Educative Assessment: Designing Assessments to Inform and Improve Student Performance.San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.







Assessment and Evaluation of Instruction

Resources for assessment to improve the quality of the course and your own teaching.


Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment maintains a huge site on assessment that is a valuable resource. Once you learn how to use this site, it may become a favorite for accessing information on a variety of topics.  

The Professional Evaluation of Teaching (American Council of Learned Societies, 1996)
An overview of the two most common methods of instructional evaluation - student review and peer review.

What Do They Know, Anyway? (Felder, 1992)
Is student evaluation of teaching really valid? A summary of research findings.

How to Evaluate Teaching (Felder & Brent, 2004)
An outline of methods for evaluating instruction, available in PDF format.

The Evaluation of Teaching (Styer, 2000)
An overview of the pros and cons of the most common methods of instructional evaluation.







Evaluation of Course Quality

What constitutes a great online course or training program? Quality can be defined and measured; these resources provide a wealth of guidance for achieving the best possible learning environment.


Chickering and Gamson - The Seven Principles of Good Practice: Using Technology to Improve Learning Outcomes
This web resource is based upon one of the classical works on good practice in teaching, The Seven Principles of Good Practice in Undergraduate Education (1986), and includes updated resources to account for the improvements in technology in education. A recommended read for all educators!

Quality Matters (Maryland Online)
This site provides a practical and useful rubric for instructors to apply to online course designs. The goal of Maryland Online's Quality Matters project was to "develop a ... pathway for inter-institutional quality assurance and course improvements in online learning, [and] create and implement a process to certify the quality of online courses and online components....The project identified 40 elements, distributed across eight broad standards, shown to positively impact student learning. These elements were then incorporated into a web-based rubric and weighted from 1 (important) to 3 (essential). Annotations and multiple examples from real online courses have been provided for each essential element."

Best Practices in Designing Online Courses by Las Positas College
A straight-forward checklist for designing quality course websites and course plans, including templates and example files that can be downloaded.

The Sloan Consortium
"A Consortium of Institutions and Organizations Committed to Quality Online Education." This site includes a members' wiki for best practices and a Quality Framework. Select the "Effective Practices" link.







Classroom Assessment Techniques

An important step in assessment may be identifying our learning objectives for our students as a step toward identifying the classroom assessment techniques (CATs) that we might use. An on-line teaching goals instrument (teaching goals inventory) is available from the University of Iowa. 

After you have identified your teaching goals, you might consult Iowa State University‚Äôs link for quick descriptions of several classroom assessment techniques (CATs).







NDSU Assessment Helix

View a brief video (below) about each step in the NDSU Assessment Cycle.

1. Ask a question about student learning

NDSU's Assessment Helix. Watch the video explanation below.

Extremely brief history of assessment in higher education.
How did we get here? Watch the video to find out.

SLO it down
Getting started with student learning outcomes (SLO). Find out how to get started by watching the video below.

Get a map!
An introduction to curriculum mapping

2. Gather evidence to answer question.

Gathering evidence of student learning

3. Analyze results - answer the question

Resources for analyzing results

4. Use and share results

Sharing and using assessment results

5. Reflect, celebrate, ask new questions.

Celebrating assessment, reflecting on the process, and moving ahead.






Top of page