Course-level competency-based assessment can (and should) be achieved by using a variety of formative and summative assessment activities. These activities may be divided into the following categories:
Prior knowledge activities attempt to determine what the student already knows on a given topic. They also attempt to determine what misconceptions or preconceptions the students have.
Affective domain activities assess students’ perceptions, feelings, attitudes or opinions on a given learning topic.
Cognitive domain activities assess what students know. This might include what students can recall, analyze or synthesize.
Behavioral domain activities assess how students apply what they have learned and what students can do with what they have learned.
Learning reflection activities are a way of allowing learners to step back from their learning experience, helping them to develop critical thinking skills and, improve on future performance by analysing what they have learned and how far they have come.
The tabs above provide links to examples of each of these activity types that may be employed during library instruction. To help determine what type of activity would be best for a particular instruction session, the Classroom Assessment Planning Worksheet (file below) is a valuable tool.
Open-ended question survey - prepare a survey in Moodle, Qualtrics or LibWizard asking students to respond in 2-3 sentences to 2-3 of the following questions as appropriate for the lesson topic. The survey can be administered before the class meeting or in the first 5 minutes of class, depending on how the information will be used. Most often, administering the survey before class allows you to gather information about the students' research topics, current knowledge level and helps you gauge the level of instruction. Therefore, prior administration is often the most valuable method:
Snow Ball Fight - Students write the answer to a poignant content-related question on a piece of paper. Students then crumple their paper into a “snowball” and throw their “snowballs” across the room to another student. Each student should end up with a "snowball" that is not their own. Students then open the “snowball” and respond in some way to the content of the “snowball."
Pass the brainstorm - Have students brainstorm alone or in small groups and record their ideas on paper, which can then be passed round to other groups to discuss. The chain can continue as long as new ideas are being generated.
Gallery Walk - place images, graphs, or excerpts from course content on poster paper leaving room for students to write around the images. Hang the posters around the room. Create groups of 2-4 students and assign one group to each poster. Give the students the first 5 minutes of class to write what they know about the material or what they are wondering about the material.
One sentence summary - prepare a survey to administer before class or spend the first 2-5 minutes of class asking students to summarize what they already know about the topic you will teach or some aspect of the topic you will teach.
Focused listing - prepare a survey to administer before class or spend the first 2-5 minutes of class to share the instruction topic with the students and ask them to list the 3-5 most important things a researcher should know about this topic.Answers could be shared in discussion, via Padlet, via a word cloud etc.
Concept inventory - students prepare a concept map, individually or in groups, on the class topic during the first 2-5 minutes of class or prior to class. This is particularly good at revealing misconceptions/preconceptions.
KWL Chart - Before class or during the first 2-5 minutes, have the students fill out a KWL chart. The KWL chart has three columns where the students answer the questions: What do your already know about this topic? What do you want to know about this topic? And, to answer at the end of class: What did you learn today about this topic?
These tools are best applied in library instruction to measure if misconceptions or preconceptions have been altered through class activities. Create a survey in Moodle, Qualtrics or Libwizard with one or more of the following questions, as appropriate for the class topic. Alternatively, give these questions to the students at the end of the class as a One Minute Paper or Exit Ticket. Many of these questions can double as Reflection Questions.
Recall tools - can be used at the end of an activity to emphasize the important points and make sure students remember them.
Focused listing: have students list the important aspects of a topic. For example:
Defining Features Matrix or Pro-Con Grid: requires students to distinguish between related or seemingly similar items or concepts. For example:
One sentence summary - After describing a concept, have the students write a 1-2 sentence summary of it in their own words. Consider telling to structure their answer using this format: “Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?” Consider using Padlet or another tool to display their answers so you can quickly check their understanding and correct misunderstandings before moving on in the lesson. (This is a valuable replacement to the statement, "Any questions before we move on?" because you get more than the automatic shaking head). Sample questions include:
Muddiest point card - at the end of a lesson, have the students write one question they still have on index cards, or better still, in an electronic survey, and turn it in as they leave. Answer the questions and find a way to distribute the questions/answers to the class via Moodle or the professor.
Analysis tools - can be used after a concept/skill has been introduced to check for understanding beyond simple recall of facts.
What's the principle? - This exercise associates problems with the principle of practice that will solve them. For example:
Concept maps - can be used while or after teaching a concept to encourage the students identify all the aspects of the concept and how they relate to one another. For example, have the students create a concept map to illustrate:
Think/pair/share - can be used with reflection, recall or analysis questions either before or after a concept is presented to encourage student/content and student/student engagement.
Content, Form, and Function Outline/Matrix In an outline or matrix form, students analyze the “what” (content), “how” (form), and “why” (function) of a particular concept. For example, the content, form and function of database limiters, the PROVEN/CRAAP acronyms, the parts of a scholarly article, the parts of a citation.
Synthesis tools - can be used to present a complex concept or after presenting one, especially when you have 30+ minutes of class time.
Jigsaw - divide the students into groups. Each group works with one part of a larger concept. Afterwards, each group presents to the other groups what they have learned, so the everyone has all the "pieces of the puzzle." For example:
Invented dialogues -By inventing dialogues, students synthesize their understanding of a concept into a structured and illustrative conversation. The key to setting up the assignment is to select a difficult concept or theory and invent an imaginary dialogue partner for students. For example:
Given the nature of library instruction, most class sessions require students to apply a skill the librarian has taught and demonstrate what they can do (find, evaluate, incorporate, cite etc) as a result of instruction. Therefore, this tab contains some 'quick' behavioral assessment tools. The next tab contains sample activity handouts for the application of common research skills.
"Quick" behavioral assessment tools
Prove me wrong - Make a statement, based on either course content or student personal interest, like, "X is the best." Then give students 5 minutes to search for evidence to prove you wrong (or right). If you chose a claim that is general accepted but refutable, this activity encourages students to challenge their assumptions and look for varied perspectives/opposing viewpoints.
Application cards - students are asked to give a practical, real-world example of how a concept or theory could potentially be applied. This is to be written on a note-card, and collected by the instructor.
Process analysis - for classes in which the librarian is embedded, or while doing one-shot searches, have students keep track of their research processes in a blog or journal including what steps they took, how much time each step took and to describe their process in a narrative.
The exercises below are designed to help scaffold the research process. They can be used in class or assigned as homework. They are in Word format so instructors who wish to use them can easily edit or adapt them to specific lesson parameters. When appropriate, they contain an answer key, so instructors should look at the full handout and remove the answer key before sharing with students.
Create a list of sources with improper citations. Have the students attempt to locate the sources. This should demonstrate to students how citations are used to track down sources and how frustrating it can be for their teachers and fellow researchers when they don’t provide adequate citations. Examples to use here could include books with multiple editions or books with very generic titles.
Breaking citations down: Develop a list of citations. Break these citations down (components: author, date, publisher, title, etc). Type or write them down on larger pieces of construction paper, cardboard, etc. You can utilize a variety of colors, shapes, sizes. Have students work as groups to assemble the parts (you can use pin boards, a wall and tape, magnetic boards, etc). This can easily be turned into a competitive game.
The following question categories and sample reflection questions are adapted to library instruction from "The 40 Reflection Questions" on Edutopia. Use Moodle, Qualtrics or LibWizard to share any of the following questions:
Backward looking reflection
Inward looking reflection
Outward looking reflection
Forward looking reflection