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Student-centered assessment tools

3-2-1 cards and the similar 3 stars and a wish

Typical usage - End of class (4-6 minutes).
What is learned - Gives a basic sense of what students think they have learned and what points are still confusing to them.
Advantages - Quick and easy to administer. Open style of questions allows for flexibility in responses. Comments can be more helpful than numerical scores.
Potential disadvantages - Subjective. Can be hard to read the hand writing. Some responses may not be related to the class and/or cover general things the instructor can't control.
Contacts - Printed 3-2-1 cards may be obtained from Lori Lee.

Attending class presentations

Typical usage - Going to class presentations where student's present the results of their research.
What is learned - Gives a better sense of the full research process in actual practice.
Advantages - At these presentations librarians can ask questions about student research, learn more about how assignments were accomplished, find out what the main challenges were, and possibly offer suggestions.
Potential disadvantages - Time consuming. Presentations may not all be done all at once. Librarian need to be careful that any critiques that are given do not adversely affect student grades.

Audience response system

Typical usage - Uses wireless response keypads. Works in conjunction with Microsoft PowerPoint to allow students to pick an answer from a range of choices.
What is learned - Gives real-time feedback from participants.
Advantages - Helps keep students engaged. Instructor can tailor class session based on responses.
Potential disadvantages - Requires Turning Point software. Should do a quick practice run in advance of class to minimize the chance for technical glitches.
Contacts - Neal Henshaw

Customized online questionnaires

Typical usage - Time frame can vary from during class to several weeks later.
What is learned - Can tailor questionnaire to specific areas of interest such as distance education.
Advantages - Students can answer questions without the professor present and so may be more honest and forthcoming about any problems them had with the assignment or their research. Questionnaire format is also convenient and can be done at any time.
Potential disadvantages - Some dislike questionnaires or won't want to spend the time so response rate may be low.
Links - Survey.VT

Focus groups

Typical usage - Have a sample of students from a particular class come in to be interviewed by library staff not involved with the teaching of the class. Best done with two people, one to do the interview and the other to take notes or tape comments.
What is learned - Can find out what students really thought of the session and the usefulness of the information covered.
Advantages - You can ask questions that really get at learning outcomes. Responses will often be more honest with neither the professor nor the librarian(s) there.
Potential Disadvantages - Labor intensive. May be hard to get a representative sample. If done for extra credit you often get a skewed population made up of disgruntled students who badly need more points along with a few overachievers. You may need incentives to attract students to come (refreshments, small prizes, etc.) Everyone should be given a chance to participate otherwise a few people may dominate.
Contact - Bruce Pencek

Follow-up interviews with classes

Typical usage - Near the end of semester, after they have completed their research. What is learned - Can find out how the students were able to apply the resources covered to their information needs.
Advantages - You can ask questions that really get at learning outcomes. Professors can hear for themselves during the interviews what the problems were and can collaborate to improve things in the future.
Potential Disadvantages - Interviews really need two people: one to do the interviewing and the other to take notes or tape comments. Students are not always forthcoming with the professor present or with the instructors who taught the library session(s) there. Note - if questions are focused on students, and not on the how well the instructor taught, this isn't as great a problem as one might expect.
Contacts - Bruce Pencek

Quick assignments

Typical usage - End of class (5-7 minutes).
What is learned - Gives a reliable indication of whether students have mastered the points covered on the assignment.
Advantages - Quick and easy to administer. Not relying on subjective assessment. Let's you know right away if students really "get it" or not.
Potential Disadvantages - Must be limited to something simple that can be completed in the time available.

Teaching portfolio

Typical usage - Formal self-evaluation process. Compiled over an extended period of time.
What is learned - Review of instructional methods, philosophy, goals, and effectiveness.
Advantages - Very thorough. Documentation may be helpful to demonstrate productivity for internal reviews or for external marketing.
Disadvantages - Requires commitment of considerable time and effort. Must be brutally honest to be most effective.
Special notes - The book The Teaching Portfolio: A Practical Guide to Improved Performance and Promotion/Tenure Decisions offers a good overview and includes helpful examples (especially p.70-77).

Web survey

Typical usage - End of class (5-7 minutes)
What is learned - Incorporates primary elements of the 3-2-1 cards. Also includes evaluation of the pace and usefulness of the session.
Advantages - Quick and easy to administer. Open style of questions allows for flexibility in responses. High response rate. Allows compilation of results.
Disadvantages - Some responses may not be related to the class and/or cover general things the instructor can't control.
Special notes - Preferred form of evaluation. Link on desktop of all computers in the library classrooms. Contacts - Carolyn Meier


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Newman Library tour options

Self-guided audio tour

Our primary tour option for individuals is a self-guided, audio tour with a graded quiz that can be used to show attendance for classes that require participation or give extra credit. Locations and services are highlighted, and the tour takes about an hour. You can use your mobile device or check out an iPad from the Circulation Desk.