Learning Objectives and Assessments

Assessment Circle: Prioritize Learning  Determine Acceptable Evidence   Identify the Assessment Stakes  Safeguard Academic Integrity

Carefully designing effective online assignments and assessments provides an opportunity to reflect on what it is you are trying to achieve when evaluating your students’ academic performance: development of competencies, measuring progress in attainment of concepts, and/or testing for expertise.

Transparent assignment design is a systematic way to be transparent about the purpose, task, and criteria of assignments, small and big. Focusing on these three components of assignments is beneficial to both faculty and students.  PURPOSE: Content, skills, and real-life relevance beyond the context of the course  TASK: How to do the assignment. Steps? What to avoid?  CRITERIA: How the assignment will be graded. Checklist to guide students? Sample student work?


  • Design an assessment strategy or map that communicates clearly to the students what is being achieved with each assessment, what competencies are being developed, and how the assessment contributes to the holistic learning goals of the course.
  • Set dates and/or deadlines for assessments taking into account the administrative calendar as reported on the Office of the Registrar’s website: Course Withdrawal deadlines, Midterm Grade Submission Deadline, Finals Week, Final Grade Submission, etc.
  • When creating assessments, refer to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Process Verbs, Assessments, and Questioning Strategies.
  • When at all possible, break your assessment methods into several modes and pieces. Given the present conditions under COVID 19 and the increased possibility for connectivity disruptions, glitches, and personal emergencies, offering one midterm assessment and one final assessment will increase your students’ stress level and may markedly affect DFUW rates.
  • Make transparent the connection between specific learning goals and objectives and the assessments students need to complete (assignments, quizzes, tests, presentations).
  • Develop and distribute grading rubrics that students can use as guides when completing assignments and that will clearly illustrate for them how they can improve once the assignment is graded.
  • Make explicit the grading scale for all assessments.
  • Be creative with assignments, making it possible for students to collaborate with other students, engage family members or partners at home (especially given the COVID context), and reflect on current topics of interest in the news and in their communities.
  • Focus on Transparent Assignment Design: