Tools and Resources

Search Results

This document provides methods for doing classroom assessment (usually ungraded) to help faculty keep students in large classes engaged and to provide feedback about student knowledge of specific concepts to both faculty and students.

Brief explanation of several easy-to-use Classroom Assessment Techniques, with examples.

This document is a 1993 teaching newsletter from Stanford University that addresses the topic of classroom assessments - brief, typically non-graded assignments, that reveals to both teachers and students the extent to which students have the knowledge the teacher expects them to have.

This is a link to an online article that describes rubrics generally and also differentiates between holistic and analytic rubrics. Templates of each type are provided.

Few of us would argue that quality feedback is useful, yet classroom-based research indicates that teachers do not give as much feedback as they think they do (e.g., Ingvarson & Hattie, 2008). This article shares a variety of resources regarding feedback.

Making the Right Impressions on the First Day of Class
What can be done then to make a positive first impression in the classroom? In a study
(Hayward, 2001) where students were given a survey after the first class meeting, factors
contributing to positive perceptions of teaching effectiveness were identified.
The power of knowing, in the first two seconds, is our ability to make quick judgments. Think back to when you were in school and how long did it take you to size up a professor? Did you know the first day how good a teacher was, or did it take several classes or the entire semester? Research has found that students watching a silent two-second video clip of a teacher they have never met reach very similar conclusions about that teacher’s effectiveness when compared to students who have sat in the teacher’s class for a semester.
Students have been found to quickly size up a professor on these four factors:

Information about the Technology Classrooms and Student Computing Labs on the University Park Campus and related services.

Shows number of seats, type of seating, technology category, and photographs for most classrooms at University Park.

This book describes a research-based approach to teaching science to help students gain conceptual understanding. Originally based on biology courses, the book describes an approach rooted in active learning, backward design, and assessment.

This book summarizes what is known about teaching and learning from fields such as education and cognitive psychology and provides applications for use in post-secondary science classrooms.

This book is a collection of 24 articles, written from the two-year college perspective, featuring the most useful and relevant insights and advice from NSTA’s Journal of College Science Teaching. The collection is divided into four sections: unique issues associated with teaching science in two-year colleges, curricular issues, teaching strategies, and using technology in the classroom.

This book defines assessment, and explains how both teachers and students do it to assess student learning and teaching effectiveness. The book describes assessment practices and best practices for assessment in the college classroom.

An online tutorial designed to help program faculty learn how to assess programs so that student learning can be improved.

This is a faculty peer evaluation form (peer observation, classroom observation). It has a "checklist" format, it does not have a scaled rating (Likert scale) format. This form asks faculty peer reviewers to note the presence of teaching activities/behaviors that have already been established as indicative of high quality teaching. This form is intentionally designed to be shortened by the faculty in an academic unit so that it reflects the unit's teaching values and the priorities of the unit. It should not be used "as is" because it is too much to expect to reviewers to evaluate; fewer items per section list will make the form easier for faculty to use.

The form was created based in January 2006 based on information in: Chism, N.V.N. (1999) Chapter 6: Classroom Observation, Peer Review of Teaching: A Sourcebook. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing.

This document describes each step in the program assessment or learning outcomes assessment process beginning with developing goals and ending with developing a plan for ongoing assessment. Included are instructions for how to develop learning goals and learning objectives as well as how to check for alignment between courses and learning objectives. Additional steps include choosing evidence to assess learning objectives and interpreting the results of the assessment.

This 2 page handout describes tips for preventing and dealing with classroom incivility and other disruptive behavior.

This sample score report is generated by our paper exam scanning system. The score report is an important tool that will help you evaluate the effectiveness of a test and of the individual questions that comprise it. The evaluation process, called item analysis, can improve future test and item construction. The analysis provides valuable information that helps instructors determine which are the “best” test questions to secure and continue to use on future course assessments; which items need review and potential revision before a next administration, and which are the poorest items which should be eliminated from scoring on the current administration.

List of references and citations for creating inclusive courses and classrooms; and in support of teaching diverse students.

Links to websites about microagressions, stereotype threat, implicit attitudes (hidden biases), teaching for diversity, teaching in multicultural classrooms, diversity resources. URLs for videos about how microaggresions feel to recipients, reverse-microaggressions on white people (helps some white people understand microaggressions better)

We use this handout in our inclusive teaching workshop. It is adapted from “Managing Hot Moments in the Classroom” by Lee Warren at Harvard's Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. It includes suggestions about how to manage difficult conversations by planning before the course as well ideas for what to do during the course ("in the moment").

Link to article written about a Quality of Instruction (QOI) survey at Penn State supported by grants from the Schreyer Institute.
Fern Willits & Mark Brennan (2017) Another look at college student’s ratings of course quality: data from Penn State student surveys in three settings, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 42:3, 443-462, DOI: 10.1080/02602938.2015.1120858

Active Learning Spaces and Active Learning Classrooms, the built environment for learning, is a growing field and of increasing interest to faculty teaching in newly (re)designed classrooms and institutional space planners. This list of resources was collected in March 2017 by Michael Palmer of the University of Virginia's teaching center from colleagues in the professional society of faculty developers, the POD Network.

The Lecture/Discussion Facilitation Template was distributed at the 2017 Lilly Evidence-based Teaching & Learning Conference held in Bethesda, MD June 1 - 4, 2017. Use it during lectures as a low-stakes, largely anonymous method to gauge students’ understanding, as a pop quiz or survey, or to keep track of in-class group activities. The template can improve student participation and engagement by minimizing their fears of low (or even “too high”) performance before their classmates, and it provides a demonstrable, observable, measurable, and active way to gain a sense of how well students are “getting it,” beyond the glint in their eyes. In that sense, it serves as a quick formative assessment tool that can be customized on demand.

A customizable observation tool used observations of teaching. The tool is a protocol that produces robust and nuanced depictions of classroom dynamics between teachers, students, and technologies. Based on research-based learning theories, the TDOP has been extensively field-tested and is being used by over 300 researchers, program evaluators, and professional developers to create detailed descriptions of what happens inside classrooms.

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) Guides
Discovering the Art of Mathematics includes a library of 11 inquiry-based books freely available for classroom use. These texts can be used as semester-long content for courses or individual chapters can be used as modules to experiment with inquiry-based learning and to help supplement typical topics with classroom tested, inquiry based approaches (e.g. rules for exponents, large numbers, proof). The topic index provides an overview of all our book chapters by topic.

Professor Christine Hockings (UK), April 2010
Inclusive learning and teaching in higher education refers to the ways in which pedagogy, curricula and assessment are designed and delivered to engage students in learning that is meaningful, relevant and accessible to all. It embraces a view of the individual and individual difference as the source of diversity that can enrich the lives and learning of others.
This publication includes summaries of key research on how inclusion practices impact students' learning, identities, and belonging.

This webpage includes suggestions that will help faculty to create a safe classroom environments in which all students, regardless of identity, will feel welcomed. The page includes suggestions for how to create inclusive classrooms from diverse classrooms.

This page lists resources that can help faculty create inclusive classrooms. Resources are related to diversity and inclusivity.

The SALG website is a free course-evaluation tool that allows college-level instructors to gather learning-focused feedback from students. It can be used for mid-semester feedback that will help instructors improve student learning in the course.

This resource is from Texas Tech University and is written by Jenny Lloyd-Strovas, Ph.D. at TTU's Teaching, Learning, and Professional Development Center
Texas Tech University in August, 2015.
Teaching large classes can be a daunting experience. How do you keep students engaged and active without losing control of the classroom? With so many students, how do you know if they are learning? Should you attempt to take attendance or risk losing students? How do you build rapport when learning 200 names isn’t a possibility? If you have taught (or are preparing to teach) a large class, you have probably asked yourself these questions. Here, I will discuss possible solutions for these challenges and more. This resource is organized to be a quick and efficient reference for challenges that you are experiencing in your classroom.

Teaching Large Classes by Adam Wilsman, Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University
Teaching a large class poses many challenges, both in and out of the classroom. In the classroom, large enrollments can promote student disengagement and feelings of alienation, which can erode students’ sense of responsibility and lead to behaviors that both reflect and promote lack of engagement. Logistics can also be a challenge when teaching a large class. How does one best manage the daily administration of what can often feel like a small city? This resource presents strategies to help instructors deal with some of the challenges associated with teaching large classes.

For use in course design or revision, this Course Outline assists you aligning course topics with course learning objectives, finding and filling gaps in that alignment, and planning how much class time is necessary for students to achieve the learning objectives. The outline is particularly useful in developing shared learning goals for multiple course sections, integrated courses, and linked courses, as well as for submissions for curricular review and assessment planning.

For use in course design or revision, this Course Outline assists you aligning course topics with course learning objectives, finding and filling gaps in that alignment, and planning how much class time is necessary for students to achieve the learning objectives. The outline is particularly useful in developing shared learning goals for multiple course sections, integrated courses, and linked courses, as well as for submissions for curricular review and assessment planning.

The following teaching tips are based on books and articles addressing some of the most important issues any faculty member in their first years (and beyond) will face in the classroom. The intent for presenting them in this handout format is to provide just enough on each issue to give you some idea for your next class, but not enough to convince you that’s all there is to it. All these tips are based on more substantial treatments in the literature, and the references at the end of each tip sheet will show you where to look next for more in-depth discussion. On the last page, you will find additional references in three different media that help you reflect on many more issues in higher-education teaching.

Based on backward design principles, this Course Assessment Plan helps you to align course learning objectives with the formative and summative assessment tools and with the instructional activities that enable students to demonstrate their learning. The document is particularly useful in preparing for course design, course revision, and assessment planning, as well as for curricular and/or accreditation review.

Based on backward design principles, this Course Assessment Plan helps you to align course learning objectives with the formative and summative assessment tools and with the instructional activities that enable students to demonstrate their learning. The document is particularly useful in preparing for course design, course revision, and assessment planning, as well as for curricular and/or accreditation review.

This document guides faculty interested in course- or classroom-based research on student learning in the design process. Following the guidelines will help ensure that the research projects will be sound and robust and resulting insights can inform and extend our understanding of the processes of learning and of supporting that learning with effective, evidence-based instruction. While created to meet requirements for Canadian standards, the resource is also useful for researchers in the U.S.
The guide takes researchers through the essentials of the Canadian standards for ethical practice in the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) which are unique because of participants (human subjects) are also typically the researcher’s students. This Guide translates the Canadian TCPS2 (2014) for the researcher conducting SoTL research.

This resource is written by Lisa Fedoruk at the University of Calgary, with contributions by 18 scholars across Canada. It is grounded in the Canadian document governing research ethics, but the specific strategies listed throughout will be useful and helpful for researchers in other countries. Provided by Nancy Chick, Academic Director of the Taylor Institute for Teaching & Learning, University Chair in Teaching and Learning, University of Calgary.

Heavily abridged version of Weinstein, Y., Madan, C. R., & Smith, M. A. (in press). Teaching the science of learning. Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications, prepared for and presented at "Reframing Testing as a Learning Experience: Three Strategies for Use in the Classroom and at Home" on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.

Six key learning strategies from research in cognitive psychology can be applied to education: spaced practice, interleaving, elaborative interrogation, concrete examples, dual coding, and retrieval practice. However, a recent report (Pomerance, Greenberg, & Walsh, 2016) found that few teacher-training textbooks cover these principles; current study-skills courses also lack coverage of these important learning strategies. Students are therefore missing out on mastering techniques they could use on their own to learn effectively. This handout contains the six key learning strategies to address those concerns.

Using Mental Health and Wellness as a Framework for Course Design
Patricia Dyjur, Gabrielle Lindstrom, Nahum Arguera, Haboun Bair
Proceedings of the University of Calgary Conference on Postsecondary Learning and Teaching, Vol. 2, 2017

Mental health and wellness is a concern, not only for students, but for instructors in higher education as well. Course design can have a positive or negative impact on both student and instructor wellness, especially around stress and anxiety with assessments, workload, and due dates. Factors of course design such as policies and values, academic expectations, learning environment and learning experiences, student assessment, and reflection and resilience can play an important role in supporting wellness. In this paper we provide examples of how each factor can affect wellness, and offer questions that an instructor can consider when designing a course with wellness in mind.

The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Campus, has released five short videos that we have created to help build capacity for peer reviewers and for instructors being peer reviewed on their teaching. This is video 4 of 5.

For most teachers, leading classroom discussion on difficult topics is a perennial challenge. Part of the challenge lies in the fact that we never fully know which issues will be “hot buttons” for our students. Conversations can become heated very quickly, and before long, it can feel like the class is careening out of control. This guide seeks to help teachers feel more confident leading difficult dialogues by encouraging reflection on how such discussions connect with larger learning goals, and by providing specific strategies and resources that teachers can use to create more productive conversations in their classrooms.

Best Practices in the Evaluation of Teaching, by Stephen L. Benton, The IDEA Center and Suzanne Young, University of Wyoming
Effective instructor evaluation is complex and requires the use of multiple measures—formal and informal, traditional and authentic—as part of a balanced evaluation system. The student voice, a critical element of that balanced system, is appropriately complemented by instructor self-assessment and the reasoned judgments of other relevant parties, such as peers and supervisors. Integrating all three elements allows instructors to take a mastery approach to formative evaluation, trying out new teaching strategies and remaining open to feedback that focuses on how they might improve. Such feedback is most useful when it occurs in an environment that fosters challenge, support, and growth. Rather than being demoralized by their performance rankings, faculty can concentrate on their individual efforts and compare current progress to past performance. They can then concentrate on developing better teaching methods and skills rather than fearing or resenting comparisons to others. The evaluation of teaching thus becomes a rewarding process, not a dreaded event.
Keywords: Evaluation of teaching, summative evaluation, formative evaluation, mastery orientation

This is a great online resource from the University of Texas at Austin. It contains accessible information on university level course assessment.

Adobe Connect of the Learning Outcomes Assessment program from January 30, 2012. Includes descriptions of assessment plans in psychology, biology and Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures.

This diversity case study was designed to help faculty think about and discuss how best to address a classroom that includes students from diverse backgrounds. This document is most useful for faculty developers.

This article, from Stanford's teaching and learning center, addresses strategies for improving assessment and grading practices in the classroom.

This document provides suggestions for thinking about addressing diversity in the classroom and incorporating those thoughts into your teaching portfolio.

Case study for classroom management

This worksheet can be used to help instructors develop classroom activities that align learning objectives with assessments and course activities.

Presentation from a 2011 workshop by Becky Albitz on legal use of copyrighted materials in the classroom.

This PowerPoint presents a research project by Peter M. Eberle and Anthony J. Hoos in that includes data collected by asking students about their perceptions of using digital textbooks, such as iPads and e-readers, for their course reading.

This is a matrix that can be used to align course assignments with program goals for faculty working on program assessment.

This survey is used at Penn State Berks to assess student teachers. It includes questions that are completed by the administrator who supervises the student teacher. It is used for program assessment purposes.

This is an example of a survey administered to graduating seniors. It is used by the Penn State Berks elementary education program for learning outcomes assessment (program assessment) purposes.

This survey is used by the Penn State Berks teacher education program to assess student teachers for learning outcomes assessment (program assessment) purposes.

This is curriculum matrix was completed by the faculty in the Elementary and Kindergarten Education program at Penn State Berks. It is used to determine which program goals/objectives are addressed in the various courses included in the program. A curriculum map is an important step in the process of learning outcomes assessment (program assessment).

This document is the master Learning Outcomes Assessment plan for the College of Information Science and Technology.

This essay, written by Penn State's Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, John Lowe, describes several useful strategies for collecting course-level assessment about students' study habits and learning, which can be used to improve student learning.

This document describes methods for developing surveys for collecting learning outcomes assessment (program assessment) evidence from graduating seniors, alumni and employers.

This excerpt from "Student Learning Assessment: Options and Resources" provides three sample rubric types including simple, detailed and holistic. These rubrics can help to improve the grading process. The publication was written by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

This report is the first in a series encompassed by the Quality of Instruction project. The research question guiding this report is: How do students and teachers view the instructional process at University Park? Information to address this question was obtained by surveying both students and faculty concerning their attitudes and experiences at University Park during the 1995-1996 academic year. These student and teacher surveys were made possible by support from the Penn State Alumni Association provided Fern (Bunny) Willits as the 1995-96 Alumni Teaching Fellow awardee and the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. Class Attendance data were provided by the Office of Student Affairs Research and Assessment Pulse Survey.
The complete citation for the report is:
Willits, Fern K., Moore, Betty L., & Enerson, Diane M. (1997). Penn State, Quality of Instruction: Surveys of Students and Teachers at University Park. Pennsylvania State University.

An eight question survey for students to assess how they prepared for a class and how they rate the difficulty of the exam.

This PowerPoint presentations describes the instrument called the Perceived Difficulty Assessment Questionnaire and provides its theoretical background. A few examples of its use are also included.

This 1997 publication, written by Diane Enerson, R. Neill Johnson, Susannah Milner and Kathryn Plank, addresses all issues related to teaching, including course design, evaluation and assessment. Included are examples and perspectives from many Penn State instructors.

Brief (2-page) handout about strategies to promote effective student discussion.

A short handout with suggestions for creating a classroom climate conducive to learning.

This document is a case study that can be used to spark workshop discussion among instructors about issues related to race and ethnicity in the classroom. This case study would be most useful for faculty developers.

Focuses on program assessment and the role that grades do (or do not) play in providing evidence that program goals are being met.

Example of a curriculum matrix or map that is for a business program at Penn State Berks. Development of curriculum maps are important parts of the learning outcomes assessment process.

IST's 2010 master assessment plan is a great model for similar programs trying to map their objectives, courses, and assessments.

This FAQ sheet offers many suggestions for making good use of teaching assistants and classroom space.

Three learning outcomes from Penn State Mont Alto along with suggestions on next steps are briefly described in this paper.

This classroom observation form (faculty peer evaluation) provides both scaled and open-ended questions for use by anyone who is observing an instructor.

Case study about a disability rights issue in a classroom.

This PowerPoint, giving by Bill Welsh, provides suggestions for how faculty can accommodate students with disabilities in their classrooms.

This worksheet was developed for faculty involved in program assessment. The document will help program faculty link program learning objectives with appropriate assignments that can be used as evidence that students have achieved those objectives.

This document provides examples of measures that are classified as direct or indirect evidence. It provides a list of appropriate direct or indirect measures of student learning which can be used in the process of program assessment.

This template can be used to develop a curriculum map, or matrix, which allows faculty to see which courses address each program level learning objective. Developing a curriculum map is an important step in the learning outcomes assessment (i.e. program assessment) process.

Example goals (from the discipline of psychology) for program assessment

This document describes an alternative method for assessment in which students work collaboratively on an exam.

This document is an example of a survey that can be given to administrators of student teacher programs to determine the student's performance. This example is from Penn State Berks.

This document is an example of a survey that can be used to determine graduating students' perceptions of the knowledge and skills they have developed during their program. This tool can be used for learning outcomes assessment (aka program assessment).

This document is an example of a curriculum matrix, used for learning outcomes assessment (aka program assessment), in which general education program objectives are matched with the courses that address them.

This document is an example of a survey used to gather assessment data from student teacher mentors about the student teacher's performance. This survey is useful for learning outcomes assessment (program assessment). This example comes from Penn State Berks.

This is an example of a survey that can be given to the principal of a school at which a student teacher has been assigned. The survey provides an assessment of the student's performance from the perspective of the school principal. It is a useful tool for learning outcomes assessment (program assessment).

This PowerPoint slide shows an example of evidence resulting from the learning outcomes assessment process at the course level (accounting in this example). It shows the extent to which students achieved the learning objectives of the course. This information can also be used to assess course learning objectives or course learning outcomes at the program level.

This document provides an example of how an accounting program collected, displayed and used evidence of student learning to make decisions that would lead to improved student learning in the program. This exemplifies an important step in learning outcomes assessment process.

Drawing upon new data obtained from surveys of students and instructors at the University Park Campus of Penn State carried out in 2011, this report addresses the following research questions:

• What are the elements that students and instructors believe are most important to achieving quality teaching?
• How frequently do these occur in University Park classrooms today?
• How do University Park students rate the quality of the instruction they receive?
• What factors influence students’ ratings of teaching quality in a course?
• How have the perceptions of students and instructors changed since the 1996 survey?