Designing Assessments

Faculty Assessment Toolkit

Designing Assessments

Plan how you will evaluate students' attainment of the stated outcomes. This could be through formative course activities, summative assignments, capstones, or other means for determining students’ progress toward meeting outcomes. Use multiple types of evidence, direct and indirect.

Key Assessment Types

Capstone courses or projects: These often involve a course project, set of activities, or complex and integrated demonstration of learning that engages students in synthesis and application of multiple outcomes. Capstone courses or projects usually occur in the last term of a course sequence or a program and provide students the opportunity to demonstrate culminating attainment of course and program outcomes.

Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs): Classroom activities (often ungraded) designed to gauge students’ knowledge and skills, learner attitudes and self­-awareness, and to determine effectiveness of instruction at points throughout the course.

Signature assignments: Course-embedded assignments that are used across multiple sections of a course in order to determine students’ proficiency in particular course outcomes. Signature assignments are collaboratively developed by faculty to assess the specific outcomes and help determine whether current instructional strategies are achieving the intended learning.


Rubrics further describe learning outcomes in practical, illustrative language tailored to the assignment, along with a scale to rate demonstration of the outcomes. It is a best practice to use a common rubric or other agreed upon assessment tool to evaluate student knowledge and skills across multiple sections of a course. Rubrics can be effective learning tools when shared with students before and after completing an assignment. See Rubrics Examples

CLO rubrics identify specific criteria related to each of the five outcome areas. In order to assess progress on CLOs, faculty should examine the rubrics and may decide to tailor the rubrics to their own disciplines.