Assessment is a critical piece of teaching and learning because it informs both the student and the teacher about what is happening (or not) in the classroom.  Keep in mind that all assessments are not created equal.  Some assessment strategies are diagnostic in that they help us as instructors understand the knowledge and skills that students are bringing with them to the classroom.  Others are formative:  they help us check for progress. Still others are summative, meaning they evaluate what a student has learned at the end of a unit, course, or degree/certificate program.

The difference between formative and summative assessment
This quick guide includes a useful infographic about formative and summative assessments.

Formative Assessment Strategies

Tools for Formative Assessment (.pdf) (Lambert, 2012)
Learn about 60 formative assessment techniques.

Authentic Assessment

There exist a range of summative assessments.  Traditional examples include multiple choice tests, essays, matching, etc.  Authentic assessment is a far more effective way of evaluating what students know and can do because it calls for students to apply their knowledge and skills to real-world examples, possibly for an audience outside the classroom.

Authentic Assessment Toolbox (Meuller, n.d.)
This resource offers an excellent primer on authentic assessment including theory and practice.


Rubrics are assessment tools used to evaluate authentic assessments.  When shared with students at the outset of an assessment (or better yet co-designed with students), they clearly communicate expectations and help guide students’ learning.

Creating a Rubric: An Online Tutorial for Faculty (University of Colorado-Denver, 2006)
This is a thorough tutorial that covers what rubrics are, how they are used, how to create one, and how to judge the quality of the rubric you’ve created.  Click on the “Resources” tab of the tutorial for a wide-range of example rubrics.