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Classroom Assessment Practices

For In-Person and Online Courses

Mid-Semester Feedback

The SATAL team can help you collect the data you need to gauge what helps student learning in your class and determine what else they need to succeed.

A. In the SATAL program, we implement a Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID) tool consisting of three questions, as shown below, following the Think-Pair-Share approach. Students respond to the three questions individually, then in groups of 3-5 students through Qualtrics surveys, and finally, the students reconvene to provide a consensus on the responses. 

1. What helps your learning in this class?

2. What suggestions do you have for the instructor to help your learning?

3. What actions are you taking to improve your learning? (self-assessment)

Also, the instructor could suggest adding more questions based on their interest. For, e.g., we have courses using labor-based contracts, and instructors would like feedback specific to that. The SGID takes 30 minutes of class time at the beginning of class or the end, depending on the instructor's choice.

Once in the classroom, SATAL students set clear expectations for their peers:

  • They will explain to their peers in the class that you/the instructor value their input/feedback and that you care about their learning​ and will respond/incorporate students’ feedback in the course as you see appropriate.
  • ​Also, SATAL students will facilitate the input to make sure your students provide complete comments about how and why the teaching practices have been helpful and the why and how of their suggestions​.

​The only challenge is ensuring the students stay after the instructor leaves the class. Some students feel that the class is over and leave after the instructors. We encourage instructors to let the class know they will return after the assessment session concludes.

Within a week of our class visit, the instructor will receive a spreadsheet generated by the SATAL interns. The spreadsheet has two tabs: group survey results and class consensus. The students' comments are grouped into categories and included from the highest to the lowest frequency. We recommend instructors start with the class consensus document since it summarizes the statements most students agree on collected using Turning Points. 

BClassroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS)

A classroom observation using a validated tool provides quantitative data to complement the student feedback collected using the SGID for a holistic approach to teaching. The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) is a tool to code instructor and student behaviors over two-minute intervals. Data are then analyzed and reported in a document noting how much time (as a percentage of two-minute intervals) each of the behaviors and interactions was observed during the class session. These data help instructors identify how much time is spent on each behavior and their practices utilized during class time (Reisner, 2020). The COPUS observation involves videotaping the class session to be able to revise the codes once the session is over. The video recording is available for instructors to request through a Box link. Here are some guidelines on how to use the COPUS data. Moreover, SATAL interns will map the instructor-student and/or student-student interaction during the observation [sample map].

To close the assessment cycle, we encourage instructors to meet with us after collecting the classroom data to analyze findings in community. The students will share their expertise as UCM students, and Adriana will share evidence-based teaching practices to respond to the students' needs. Read what other instructors say about their experience meeting with us [here]. 

C. Final Course Evaluation Questions as Mid-Semester Feedback

Unless instructors would like to receive specific feedback on an intervention (specific practice), I suggest using the same questions found in the final course evaluation so the students get practice at providing feedback at mid-semester. For small classes the following open-ended questions could be used based on instructors' specific interventions.

1. Describe your efforts and engagement in this course

2. Describe the learning environment in this course

3. Describe the instructor’s interactions with students

4. Describe the instructor’s responses to your work

5. Please assess the overall effectiveness of the instructor and explain your reasoning.

6. Please assess the overall quality of the course and explain your reasoning.D.


SATAL Mid-Semester Feedback Interpretation Guide

Closing the Assessment Cycle COPUS results presentation slides.pdf 

CDOP Handout.pdf 

COPUS Guidelines 



Other Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT)

--> Gathering Feedback During the Class Session

For Students: A quick survey will provide insight into how your students are coping with the changes implemented and what they need to succeed.

1) Using the "chat function" and can be paired with the Quality Matters rubric.

A 3-2-1 assessment using the chat box feature at the end of the class session if you feel you have the capacity to do this (e.g., 3 things you learned, 2 questions you still have, 1 action you are going to take).  Zoom gives you the option to download the chat feature immediately after the event and you can then analyze the answers to these questions later.

2) Using the Catcourses Quiz function or Qualtrics surveys.

 1) What is working for you, and what isn’t?
 2) What do you need that I'm not addressing?
 3) What else do you need to succeed in this remote evironment?

For FacultyAdvise for gathering feedback during significant disruptions

   1) What did I do as an instructor to reduce student apprehension and anxiety during this time of disruption? What might I do more of next time?

   2) Which course modifications were most/least successful in terms of my ability to:
   a. maintain student engagement in their learning?
   b. effectively identify student progress and barriers to learning along the way? c. effectively assess student learning for their final grade?

   3) What (specifically) worked well?

   4) What unexpected student, instructor, and/or TA needs did I encounter? What did I learn from those experiences?

   5) What (if anything) might I do differently in the future to build flexibility into my course, in case of other (hopefully less significant) disruptions to my teaching?

   6) Given my students’ experience in my course this semester, what adjustments or special considerations should be made for AY2020-21 courses? For example, is there       an anticipated impact on student readiness for the next course in a specific sequence?

--> Course Assessment Rubrics:

Quality Matters Rubric

Sunny Rubric

--> Syllabus Assessment Rubric:

Univeristy of Virginia: Syllabus Rubric


Make Assessment Routine

What are the advantages of assessing throughout the semester?

(1) Improved understanding of learning needs.

(2) Opportunity for structured dialogue about teaching and learning with students.

(3) Evidence for teaching effectiveness portfolio/education research.

Assisting with Data Collection

Students working for SATAL are trained to gather, analyze and report indirect evidence in support of student learning outcomes. SATAL students can lead a number of assessment support, depending on the type of feedback instructors or programs want to obtain (see options below).

Class Assessment Options

1Class Entry Survey:

A growing body of research stresses the important role that prior knowledge plays in student learning. Instructors who seek this prior knowledge are taking a very direct interest in the students. If instructors expose what students already know, they will have more success in attaching new knowledge to the schematic frameworks that students bring to class. Capturing students’ questions at the beginning of the semester also provides an interesting way to refine the curriculum around student needs (Fleming, 2003).
The data collected through needs assessment tools will benefit instructors and students alike:
1) It will provide students with a clear and understandable vision of the learning target.
2) It will guide instructors to shape assignments to develop the target skills and concepts that students find most challenging.
3) Instructors will identify what activities engage students most productively.
4) What interventions advance student progress.
Source: Fleming, Neil. Establishing Rapport: Personal Interaction and Learning . Idea Paper # 39.IDEA Center Website.

2Mid-Course Feedback:

Research shows that mid-course feedback activities improve the instructional experience for both faculty and students. The best result is when faculty seek mid-course feedback, discuss it in class, and then act on it.
Mid-course feedback: (1) allow students to reflect on course goals and individual progress, (2) inform the instructor about what is working and not working in the course, and (3) recognize that the instructor cares about their learning. Midsemester feedback is a tool to give instructors and students information on how the class is going and what might be done to improve the learning environment. Request SATAL services to discover students' concerns before it's too late and keep results confidential.

The following links will provide more information on mid-course evaluations: North Carolina State University, Office of Faculty Development: Mid-Semester Evaluations

3Exit Survey:

An exit survey/interview is usually conducted with graduating students to assess what should be improved, changed, or remain intact. More so, a class/ program can use exit interviews to reduce absenteeism, improve innovation, and increase engagement and retention. It is important for each class/ program to customize its own exit interview according to its own needs.

Class Assessment Tools Samples

Surveys of General Applicability

How to respond to feedback results

Discipline Specific Tools

Entry Survey1

Mid-Course Feedbackl2

Exit Survey3

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts WRI 101

 Course Feedback Form


Brief Mid-Course Feedback

School of Natural Sciences

PHYS 008

PHYS 008 w/clickers

BIO 001

BIO 002

PHYS 008 (abridged version)

1. Course Feedback Form 

2. Course Feedback Form 

School of Engineering ME 021

1. Course Feedback Form 

2. Course Feedback Form