Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

How to Assess Students’ Prior Knowledge

In order to gauge how much students have learned, it is not enough to assess their knowledge and skills at the end of the course or program. We also need to find out what they know coming in so that we can identify more specifically the knowledge and skills they have gained during the course or program.

You can choose from a variety of methods to assess your students’ prior knowledge and skills.  Some methods (e.g., portfolios, pre-tests, auditions) are direct measures of students’ capabilities entering a course or program. Other methods (e.g., students’ self-reports, inventories of prior courses or experiences) are indirect measures. Here are links to a few methods that instructors can employ to gauge students’ prior knowledge.

CONTACT US to talk with an Eberly colleague in person!