Course-Level Assessment Resources

Assessment in Challenging Learning Environments

Many aspects of good teaching and learning remain unchanged in any structure, however, there are some considerations and resources for assessment that may be helpful for navigating equitable and inclusive practices in the on-going pandemic:

Course Learning Objectives & Goals

Starting in the 2016-17 academic year, all Bates faculty were asked to include specific learning objectives for their courses. These learning objectives can be included on formal course evaluations and integrated into voluntary mid-semester assessment data collection as well.

For some insights and guidance about the Bates College expectations and implementation, refer to the following guides:

Course Learning Objectives Guide – Bates College (2018)

Developing Goals and Objectives – Bates College (2016)


For external resources to support and examine development of course learning objectives and how they fit into assessment, the following resources offer templates, approaches and frameworks:

VALUE rubric design & align webinar – AAC&U (2018)

Backward Design – Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University

Integrated Course Design  – Fink (2003)

Blooms Taxonomy and Verbs

5E Instructional Model – Biological Sciences Curriculum Study

Syllabus Development 

Bates College course syllabus includes description, policies, requirements, schedule and measurable learning objectives assessed by faculty during the evaluation of student work. There are multiple examples of Bates faculty syllabi at various department/program webpages (ex. Anthropology, French & Francophone Studies). The links below connect to resources at Bates to help in development, review, or building consistency in format of syllabi:

Sample Syllabus Accessibility Statement – Bates College

Syllabus Design Handout – Faculty Commons at Bates College

Syllabus Template Language – Faculty Commons at Bates College

There are a myriad of syllabus development resources in the world of education beyond Bates. The links listed below highlight just a few of these external resources:

Universal Design for Learning: Syllabus – CAST, Boston MA

Syllabus Toolkit – Mailman School, Columbia University

The Open Syllabus Project – Columbia University

Engage students in reviewing and understanding the syllabus with pre-course syllabus quiz or readiness activity.

Curriculum Development & Course Planning

Course development is often done within the scope and sequence of the larger department or program curriculum. However, the individual course curriculum can be seen “as a vehicle for public discourse and democratic engagement” (Ladson-Billings, 2016). The following resources of a few of the many perspectives and tools available:

Design Project Guide – Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, Stanford University

An Integrative Approach to Curriculum Development…- Khan & Law (2015)

Diversifying the Higher Education Curriculum: Queering the Design and Pedagogy – Reddy (2018)

Understanding by Design – Wiggins & McTighe (2005)

Plan-Do-Check-Act – Westminster College

Offering Student Options – Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory

Instructional Strategies

Bates College encourages faculty to engage students in active learning and other instructional approaches that can enhance the educational experiences for all learners and instructors. Specific departments, programs, divisions are aligning practices with goals of various initiatives and institutional work to develop and explore inclusive pedagogy and create more equitable learning experiences across campus.

Also to this effort, Bates has Active Learning Classrooms in Carnegie Science Hall, rooms 225 & 339 (reserve here).

Inclusive Teaching Strategies – Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University

Inclusive Teaching Strategies – Focus: International Students – The Ohio State University

Leading Discussions – Bok Center for Teaching & Learning, Harvard University

Discussion Guidelines – Stanford Teaching Commons

Group Work (Duke University) with Inclusive Facilitation and Team-based Learning

Active Lecturing – University of Georgia

Think-Pair-Share – Stanford University

Interactive Presentations (Swink, 2010)

Interactive Lecturing – (Barkley & Major, 2016)

Lecturing – Vanderbilt Center for Teaching

Flipped Classroom – Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University

Pedagogies of Care – West Virginia University

Student Learning Assessments

Bates College academic experiences include course-level assessments such as portfolio, thesis, written essay, on-demand exam, demonstration, lab report, exhibition, capstone experience and others. Many departments/programs have student work shared on their webpages. Some examples include the Art and Visual Culture Studio Thesis Exhibitions , Mathematics placement exam, mapping described in Geology Short Term: West, and many others. Additional resources listed below include templates, models, theory, and other materials intended to support and facilitate existing faculty work in assessing their students’ learning.

Formative Assessment: Definitions & Theories

Developing the Theory of Formative Assessment – Black & Wiliam (2009)

Formative Assessment in Higher Education – Yorke (2003)

Formative Assessment: Models & Examples

Case-based Learning – Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University

A Defense of Multiple-choice Exam – Katz Rothman (2016) The Chronicle of Higher Education

Exit/Entry TicketsHumanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory

Designing Problem SetsUChicago, Center for Teaching

Classroom Assessment Techniques – Angelo & Cross (1993) with some selections of formative assessment compiled in these Examples

Summative Assessment: Research, Models & Examples

Retrieval Practices – Karpicke & Blunt (2011)

Rubric Development Webinar (slides) & (checklist) – Stanford University (2017)

VALUE rubric design & align webinar – AAC&U (2018)

VALUE Rubrics – AAC&U (2018)

The Risk of a Halo Bias… – Malouff et al. (2013) re: blind grading

Assessing Group Work – Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon University

A-Rubric-for-Rubrics – B.Mullinix, Monmouth University


Teaching & Assessing Writing

Writing @ Bates has wonderful resources, guides and opportunities to connect with Bates professional writing specialists during individual consultations and faculty workshops.

How Students Learn

Toxic Stress – Harvard University

Metacognition – Sheridan Center for Teaching & Learning, Brown University

Multiple Intelligences (are not learning styles!) – Howard Gardner, more on the Learning Styles myth:  Yale Center for Teaching & Learning

Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes – precursor to Lev Vygotsky’s “Zone of Proximal Development” (described in Shabani et al., 2010)

Transfer of Knowledge – National Science Foundation (2002)


Feedback on Teaching & Student Learning

“For when we hide our light we collude in the overall cultural devaluation of our teaching vocation.” – bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope

Examining and understanding how and what students are learning in their experiences and academic work is an essential element of the continual process of providing high quality educational experiences…for students and educators (educators = faculty, staff, administration, parents, peers, etc.). Bates Dean of Faculty, Faculty Commons and the Learning Assessment Specialist facilitate this reflection by offering support and resources from Bates and other colleges/universities across the globe for collecting student opinions, evaluating curriculum and programming and providing colleague feedback. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; the list below connects to a few of these tools.

Bates Mid-semester Assessment Process (FMI contact Kika Stump

Faculty Self-assessment – Smith College

From Traditional Accountability to Shared Responsibility – M. Cook-Sather (2009)

Samples of Mid-semester Assessment Models  – (Princeton, UC Berkeley, Brown, and others) via Smith College

Midterm Student Course Evaluations – Yale University

Dr. Poppy McLeod (video clip) – Cornell University

Mid-semester Assessment Feedback Question Bank – UC Berkeley


We would enjoy hearing about resources, materials or ideas that have worked for you, too!

To share resources, learn more about materials above, or discuss ways in which our office can support your teaching and course-level learning assessment work, contact Kika Stump at or 207.786.8220.