After creating student learning objectives and selecting content, it’s important to assess student learning: what knowledge, skills, and values do you want students to demonstrate? Assessments are how students show you what they’ve learned and in which areas they can improve their performance.

Any activity, assignment, or project that measures a specific learning objective and for which students receive feedback can be used to assess student learning. Examples of feedback include a grade, individual written comments, homework solutions, interactive polling, exemplar responses to case studies, and completed assignment rubrics.

If you are familiar with the ADDIE design process and are ready to dive deeper into assessment, explore the Assessing Student Learning section of our site.

Continue exploring the page or request assistance from the Center for Instructional Technology and Training.

Best Practices

Follow these best practices when creating assessments:

  • Refer to the student learning objectives (SLOs) you wrote in the writing SLOs phase of course design. SLOs are written with specific verbs describing the performance of the student after mastery. These verbs help to indicate which type of assessment is most appropriate.
  • Explicitly outline the relationship between each SLO and assessment. On the module pages in your course, list SLOs with the accompanying assessment name. This will help guide student learning and increase usability.
  • Verify that the level of learning that is taking place in the assessments is appropriate for the level of the course. Taking the time to create and analyze your SLOs and assessments will help you in ensuring academic rigor.
  • Set expectations for performance on a given assessment through detailed instructions and assignment rubrics.
  • Provide opportunities to give students constant feedback during the learning process. When outlining the placement of your assessments, look for opportunities to provide peer and self-assessments.
  • Scaffold larger, complex assessments into smaller stages or phases.
  • Design creative and engaging assessments that encourage students to make personal connections to the material through real-world application and problem solving.


Refer to this table when aligning assessments to SLOs:

Example Assessment Multiple-choice quiz Concept diagram that illustrates the relationship between concepts.  Case study that asks students to apply a strategy to the situation 
Example Verbs Define, describe, find, highlight, identify, label, list, locate, match, name, observe, recall, recognize, relate, retell, select, state  Cite, classify, compare, contrast, demonstrate, discuss, explain, extend, infer, illustrate, interpret, outline, paraphrase, predict, relate, summarize  Apply, build, calculate, categorize, classify, choose, develop, edit, interview, model, organize, plan, represent, translate, utilize 
Question Types
  • List the...
  • How would you describe...?
  • How would you explain...?
  • When did ___ Happen?
  • How would you show...?
  • Select the...
  • Who was...?
  • Why did...?
  • Explain what is happening...
  • How would you classify...?
  • How would you summerize...?
  • Which is the best answer?
  • Which statements support...?
  • What is meant by...
  • How would you compare...?
  • How would you contrast...?
  • What examples can you find to...
  • How would you organize...?
  • How would you apply what you have learned to develop...?
  • What other way would you plan to...?
  • What questions would you aski in an interview with...?
  • What elements would you choose to change...?
  • How would you classify...?
  • What would result if...?
LEVEL IV – AnalyzingLEVEL V – EvaluatingLEVEL VI – Creating
Example Assessment Dissection that requires students to identify, classify, and examine multiple parts Concept diagram that illustrates the relationship between concepts.  Presentation that illustrates research that was developed and implemented by the student
Example Verbs Analyze, appraise, arrange, categorize, discover, dissect, distinguish, divide, examine, investigate, order, prioritize, research, separate, simplify, survey Appraise, assess, compile, convert, critique, deduct, defend, disprove, dispute, estimate, evaluate, hypothesize, improve, influence, justify, predict, prioritize, recommend, revise, transform Adapt, improve, design, invent, propose, change, develop, solve, combine, elaborate, compile, estimate, modify, compose, create, formulate
Question Types
  • What inference can you make...?
  • What conclusions can you draw...?
  • How would you categorize...?
  • What evidence can you find...?
  • What is the relationship between...?
  • Can you make a distinction between...?
  • How would you prioritize...?
  • Why is it better that...?
  • How would you justify...?
  • How would you prioritize...?
  • What information would you use to support the view...
  • Why is it better that...?
  • How would you modify the...?
  • How would you adapt ___ to create different ...?
  • What way would you design...?
  • What could be combined to improve...?
  • Suppose you could... what would you do...?
  • Can you construct a model that would change...? 


References and Additional Resources

Further Exploration

Available Instructional Development