Assessment Methods

Assessing Skill in Syntheses and Critical Thinking
Assessment Type Description Objective Implementation
One-sentence Summary Students answer investigative questions such as "Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?" Student responses must be written in one sentence To assess students' skill levels in synthesizing information and thinking critically Use this as a class opener to confirm that students completed required homework reading and/or assignment; use this as a mid-point activity to facilitate class discussion
Word Journal Ask students to summarize a short text in a single word, and then to write a paragraph on why the chose the word To assist students with reading carefully, and to improve skill at explaining and defending with concise writing Use this as a class opener to confirm that students completed required homework reading and/or assignment; use this as a mid-point activity to facilitate class discussion; allow students to critique each other's responses
Approximate Analogies Students complete the second half of an analogy To determine students' understanding of relationship between concepts and terms Use this as a written homework assignment; use as a class activity to review for quiz or test and to facilitate class discussion; use to confirm that students completed required homework
Concept Map Provide drawings or diagrams of mental connections that should be made between a major concept and other learned concepts To provide an observable graphic record of students' conceptual schema and associations made in relation to a given focal concept Use this as a written homework assignment; use as a class activity
Invented Dialogues Ask students to synthesize knowledge or issues, persons, or events into a structured and illustrated conversation To reveal students' ability to capture essence of other personalities and exression styles, theories, controversies, and opinions Use this as a group assignment for teams to prepare dialogue
Annotated Portfolios Ask students to compile selected examples of their work and provide written commentary on each item selected To assess synthesis, critical thinking, communication, and progressive achievement Allow each student five minutes to present his/her portfolio to the class; use as part of a final course assessment

source: Fenton, C. and B. Watkins (2008) Learner-Centered Assessment: Real Strategies for Today's Students. The Cross Papers 11, 1-46.