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EIU Faculty Development and Innovation Center


Assessment Strategies Toolkit

According to Dee Fink, assessment is an attempt to measure the “quality of something” and therefore requires an appropriate method depending on its purpose. Further, student assessment can be an integral part of both course design and process (formative assessment), course learning outcomes (summative assessment), and project-based and active learning activities (authentic assessment).

The Toolkit is a fluid site allowing for adaptations and growth to incorporate novel ideas from the latest scholarship of teaching and learning as well as assessment activities from faculty and instructor colleagues across campus as well as from other universities' centers of teaching and learning.

Formative, Summative, and Authentic Assessment Method Resources

The FDIC uses McTighe and Ferrara (2021) for training and consulting on assessing student learning. When designing an assessment plan, it is important to keep in mind assessment principles, purposes, and methods. Here, both formative and summative assessments are considered a purpose, but authentic assessments are considered a method which can (and should) be included in both summative and formative assessments.

Another good general resource on rethinking and rebooting classroom assessment is available from the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Northern Illinois University.

Formative Assessment

The goal of formative assessment is to monitor student learning to provide ongoing feedback that can be used by us faculty to improve our teaching and by students to improve their learning. Formative assessment is assessment for learning.

Understanding Formative Assessment (WestEd 2013)

Classroom Assessment Techniques (Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching)

Classroom Assessment Techniques (Johns Hopkins University Center for Teaching and Learning)

How can you incorporate active learning into your classroom? (University of Michigan Center for Research on Teaching and Learning)

Summative Assessment

The goal of summative assessment is to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit by comparing it against some standard or benchmark. Summative assessment is assessment of learning.

Summative Assessments (Baylor University Academy for Teaching and Learning)

Summative Assessments (Kennesaw State University Center for Teaching and Learning)

What will you do about tests now that you are teaching remotely? (University of Vermont Center for Teaching and Learning)

Authentic Assessment

The goal of authentic assessment is to provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge on authentic, real-world tasks. Authentic assessment is learning through assessment.

Authentic Assessment (Indiana University Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning)

Moving Toward Authentic Assessments with a People-Centered Approach (Silverman, et al. 2021)

Creating Wicked Students (Hanstedt 2018)


Comparison of Three Assessment Types



Assessment for Learning


Assessment of Learning


Learning through Assessment


Improve learning outcomes

Measure learning outcomes

Improve applied learning, knowledge, and skills


Through the process    of the course

At the end of the unit    or the course

Through the process of   the course; at the end of a unit or course

  Centered on

Learning process and feedback

Learning outcomes

Authentic tasks, active learning, and applied skills


No- or low-stakes,      process-oriented

High-stakes,     outcome-oriented     

Low- and high-stakes; process and outcome


Faculty and students


Faculty and students


Feedback and adjustments

Final evaluation

Feedback and guidance


FDIC @ EIU Assessment-Related Workshops and Webinars

Student Self-Assessments and Reflective Learning

In this video, Michael Gillespie demonstrates techniques for using student self-assessments with course assignments and projects. Scholarship on teaching and learning has shown that students who engage in opportunities to reflect on their work see beyond the grade or points as the arbiter of success. Simple surveys and opportunities for reflexive learning can deepen engagement with course material and ownership of learning outcomes.

Related Pages

Contact Information

Dr. Michael Gillespie, Director, FDIC


Kim Ervin
Instructional Designer


Faculty Development and Innovation Center

1105 Booth

David Smith
Instructional Support and Training Specialist


Keerthana Saraswathula
Instructional Support and Training Specialist


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