Assessment & Measurement

Assessments are fundamental to the learning experience. They are the tools by which the instructor measures the degree to which the students have achieved the stated learning objectives of a course, unit, or content. Assessments may take many forms; for example, they might include instructor assessment of the student, student self-assessment, and peer assessment. Instructors are encouraged to include a variety of assessment methods, such as quizzes or exams, papers, projects, online discussions, journals, case studies, or presentations—to name a few.


Why Is It Important?

Assessment is important for both online course instructors and their students. Without assessments, online instructors would have a difficult time determining whether or not their students have achieved mastery of the course content. Thus, assessments are a critical component of the online course, to which instructors should devote considerable planning and development time. From the online student’s perspective, assessments help them gauge the level and quality of their learning. Knowing which learning objectives or competencies they have fully mastered and which they still need to work on provides students important feedback and identifies opportunities for improvement.


How to Put Into Practice?

There are three primary forms of assessment of student learning. Each should be used strategically depending on the type of material and the timeframe for the assessment:

Where to Find Resources?

Examples of Assessments

The following table provides examples of diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments and links to resources and samples.


Diagnostic Formative Summative


* Additional Creative Formative Assessments


  • Case Studies
  • Essays
  • Final ePortfolio
  • Group/Individual Projects
  • Online Discussions
  • Papers
  • Plans/Proposals/Reports
  • Presentations/Demonstrations/Role Playing, Digital Storytelling/Narratives
  • Quizzes/Exams


Please note: Not all of the listed technologies are officially supported by the university.



  Want More?

The “Assessment & Measurement” deep dive topic examines a variety of assessment techniques. These assessment methods provide both instructors and students with clear expectations.

Topics covered include:

  • Types of Assessments
  • Quizzing and Exams
  • Peer Review


Visit the Assessment & Measurement
deep dive topic

Note: These courses are available for FREE to all UW-Madison faculty and staff. When you click the links you will be prompted to sign in with your UW-Madison NetID and password. Then you will be taken to the topic homepage where you can learn more and complete activities.