Develop effective and fair assessments


Assessment can serve many purposes, such as measuring mastery, ranking students, communicating feedback, motivating students, or rewarding effort. Fair grading practices ensure that grades provide meaningful information to instructors and students. What’s more, assessments don’t just determine a student’s final grade, they can enhance learning [1][2] and allow you to monitor class understanding of difficult concepts [3].

The way you grade will affect how students learn and behave; for example, grading on a curve may promote competition since success of one student comes at the expense of their peers, whereas mastery-based grading may encourage collaboration since the success of one student is not contingent on the performance of their peers.



Determine how well your assessments align with your goals using this assessment evaluation rubric (long read, but the rubric itself is provided in the appendix at the end).

Watch a short video on using Kahoot! as “clicker”-type software (a few 1-2 minute videos).

Watch a video on creating and managing bCourses Quizzes (4 minute video).

Learn how to use Gradescope to create and grade exams and assignments (short videos for different assignment types, each 2-5 minutes long).


  1. Brame, C. J., & Biel, R. (2017). Test-enhanced learning: the potential for testing to promote greater learning in undergraduate science courses. CBE Life Sciences Education 14(2).

  2. Roediger, H. L., & Karpicke, J. D. (2006). Test-enhanced learning: taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science 17(3) 249-255.

  3. Xu, X., Lewis, J. E., Loertscher, J., et al. (2017). Small changes: using assessment to direct instructional practices in large-enrollment biochemistry courses. CBE Life Sciences Education 16(1).

  4. Why should assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies be aligned? Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon University.