How to Develop Assessment Tasks

What is Assessment?

Assessment is the process of gathering information about how well a student is achieving specific outcomes. Through assessment, faculty gather information about student performance, provide students with formal or informal feedback, and guide students to improve their learning.

Evaluation is an assessment of learning – where students demonstrate their learning through a performance task that faculty can use as evidence of student achievement. This evidence is how we determine whether a student has met the learning outcomes for a lesson, unit, course, or program.

Assessment at Mohawk

Mohawk’s Student Assessment Policy (PDF) explains that faculty develop assessments based on the outcomes students will achieve as part of their course. Program areas work together to determine how the assessments from each course contribute to the overall learning outcomes for the program.

These assessments should provide an authentic representation of students’ abilities, reflect the outcomes (VLOs, EESs, and CLOs) and strike a balance between providing a realistic student workload and providing multiple opportunities to demonstrate learning and receive feedback.

Deciding Which Assessments to Use

Faculty have a wide array of assessments to choose from for their courses, including written assignments, group projects, presentations, case studies, lab activities, simulations, real world projects, quizzes, exams, and student-driven projects. To decide which assessment fits best, consider:

  1. What do I want the students to know, do, and be?
  2. What is acceptable evidence to show that students have achieved those outcomes?
  3. What experiences will help students to demonstrate their achievement of those outcomes?

From: Drake, S. (2007). Creating Standards-Based Integrated Curriculum: Aligning curriculum, content, assessment, and instruction. (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin – page 8.

These questions will help you to choose an assessment task that is aligned with the outcomes students will be performing in the course. Check out some of these examples from courses at Mohawk:

Outcome: Develop a business plan for a small business

Assessment: Students write a business plan for a specific business

Outcome: Apply conflict resolution strategies in a variety of settings

Assessment: Students demonstrate strategies during a series of simulations in class

Outcome: Critically analyze situations that lead to the perpetration of fraud

Assessment: Students examine case studies and present their analysis

As often as possible, you should select an authentic assessment task. That is, the task students perform in the course should:
•    Directly measure students’ performance of an outcome
•    Relate to specific vocational skills
•    Reflect current practices in the industry/field

For help developing assessment tasks that support your curriculum goals, speak one of our Curriculum & Program Quality Consultants (CPQC).

For help developing and integrating assessment tasks into MyCanvas or other online components, speak one of our Educational Technology Specialists.

For a list of workshops on developing assessment tasks, check out our workshop offerings.

More information

Ontario Ministry of Education. (2010). Growing success: Assessment, evaluation and reporting in Ontario's schools: covering grades 1 to 12. Toronto: Ministry of Education.

Library Guide on Assessment Resources