Design inclusive assessments
Assessments are the primary way for students to demonstrate their learning, and can also help instructors gauge how students learn best. When assessments are designed with a variety of learners in mind, they more accurately capture student progress and learning (Meyer et al., 2014). Here are some strategies for designing inclusive assessments:
- Make sure your assessments align with your learning objectives. For more on alignment, see Align Assessments with Objectives
- Offer multiple types of assessments. There are two ways to do this: first, vary the types of assessments used in the course (e.g. instead of having four exams, include written work, quizzes, projects, or other assignments); secondly, allow students to customize or choose their assessment, where appropriate.
- E.g. If your class typically has a presentation at the end, but your learning objectives do not include oral presentation skills, consider giving students the option to present their knowledge through written words, recorded words, or infographics.
- E.g. If you assign students a final paper, is there another way to convey the same skills without writing? For instance, a final paper in a political science class on the debt of countries from the South could convey the same information and similar argumentation skill through a podcast, a poster, or an in-class presentation.
- Provide students with opportunities to practice the skills they need for formal or high-stakes assessments (this is called “scaffolding”). Use in-class activities and low-stakes, informal assessments to check for understanding as well as identify areas that need improvement.
- E.g. If your learning objectives include oral presentation skills, think about including assignments or activities throughout the semester that involve practicing the skills necessary for oral presentations to help students become comfortable.
- Make sure to give students regular feedback so they have an accurate sense of their progress towards the learning objectives.
- Communicate your assessment expectations to your students clearly and in advance (see further: Be transparent about expectations).
- [Plug TEL/Canvas/Tech team here for integrating tech into assessment process/using tech to enhance assessment process]
Meyer, A., Rose, D. H., & Gordon, D. T. (2014). Universal design for learning: Theory and practice. CAST Professional Publishing.