No I don’t really know how to do assessment in 5 easy steps. Just trying to think of an enticing headline. Sorry to disappoint.
But now that I have your attention….
As an English instructor teaching composition, I would give very elaborate feedback on each writing assignment. Then I was always surprised when I met with students to discuss my feedback on their papers and they didn’t really understand a lot of it. At the time, I thought it was because they hadn’t bothered reading my comments (which of course was probably true in some of the cases). But I wonder now whether providing a rubric beforehand, or maybe going through the student self-assessment process as outlined in the article “Student Self-Evaluation” by Rolheiser and Ross, would have helped them see the problems in their own writing, and thus correct them before turning the papers in.
However, the process outlined in that article would SEEM to take nearly the whole semester to complete! And I wondered “when do you have time to get to the content?” But perhaps going through the self-assessment process with students IS the content if it is making them better at recognizing what is a successful project/performance/assignment. Right? This actually seems like a more effective strategy than providing a rubric, because instead of having them read through a rubric, having them go through the self-assessment steps is having them learn how to assess their work as they are doing it.
I also read an article by Megan Oakleaf “The Information Literacy Instruction Assessment Cycle” that described a seven-stage process of assessment known as ILIAC (Information literacy Instruction Assessment Cycle). The article outlined the process with a specific example and ran through the cycle two times. It was helpful in learning how to put an assessment strategy into practice (7 not entirely easy steps). And I think this combined with the Student Self-Evaluation process might work in an online class.
Example: If I were teaching evaluation of sources, I would choose a few examples for students to evaluate. I would tell them to divide into groups of 3-4, have a synchronous online session with their group (and record it) where they discuss what kinds of things they would look at in order to evaluate the sources. They would need to come up with criteria for judging the source and explain how they made those decisions. I think they could post their findings in a forum or on a blog, and the groups could comment on/critique each other’s work. So the class would come to a shared understanding of how to evaluate a source. Then on their own, they would apply this criteria — using a rubric that was discussed with the class in advance — to another source they found on, and be graded by how well they took into account the criteria. (I realize that’s not following the Student Self-evaluation model exactly.)