The USask Assessment Principles describe assessment practices that are supportive of students’ learning and likely to generate trustworthy representations of how well students have learned.
USask Assessment Principles
Effective assessment of students:
1. Is aligned with learning outcomes and instructional strategies (assessment of learning).
2. Is inclusive and transparent, so students have equitable opportunities to demonstrate their learning.
3. Gives students multiple opportunities to learn through practice and feedback, so they have sufficient time and support to reflect and improve (assessment for learning).
4. Develops student's ability to learn effectively and prepares students to be self-directed, reflective, and engaged learners (assessment as learning).
5. Is designed so students apply disciplinary learning under authentic, or as close to authentic as possible, circumstances.
6. Is designed and sequenced to optimize students' success.
Effective assessment is embedded in departments, colleges/schools, and system-wide when it:
7. Provides a valid and trustworthy representation of student achievement that students, educators, disciplines, accrediting bodies, and employers can have confidence in.
8. Is manageable and sustainable for educators, and appropriately facilitated by policy and resourcing.
9. Provides useful information for ongoing course and program enhancement.
10. Forms an integral part of program design, aligning with what programs of study are aiming to achieve within disciplinary communities.
Using the Assessment Principles in a course
- Calculate grades so they represent student achievement of course outcomes.
- Explain how the assignments create a course grade by describing either the value or weight of each assignment, or the value or weight of each outcome or competency.
- Provide timely feedback to students early in the course, enabling them to implement it and improve throughout the duration of the course.
- Offer clear information about what each assessment is looking for, not just a description of the required parts or structure.
- Choose the type of final assessment. If there is a final exam, a form is needed to schedule it. See this webpage for more information.
Discussing college, school, and departmental assessment practices and policies
In addition to choices made by educators, assessment practices come from disciplinary traditions and expectations in colleges, schools and departments.
It is important to have conversations about Principles 7-10 to ensure your department or school policies and procedures are consistent with the new principles. Facilitation support and workshops tailored for your department are available through the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning (GMCTL).
Development and implementation of the Principles
In the 2021-22 academic year, TLARC completed a review of common assessment practices in Higher Education globally and changes to assessment theory. The review determined there were four key reasons to consider changes:
- TLARC and APC struck a joint working group that also included student and staff representatives to examine assessment policy and process on campus relative to the principles. The group completed an initial update to Academic Courses Policy in 2022-23.
- Academic leaders were invited to consider implications of the principles for their colleges and schools.
- TLARC directed the Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching and Learning (GMCTL) to start working with individual departments on assessment based on departmental interest and direction from their academic leaders.
- TLARC directed GMCTL to offer a series of workshops related to the Assessment Principles.