Section 6: Course Assessments

Quality Standard 6 focuses on course assessments, their variety, and how they align to course outcomes and module-level learning objectives.

Assessments are integral to the learning process and consists of both formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are designed to provide feedback to students to assist them in recognizing problem areas in their learning and also to aid instructors in understanding where students are struggling, so that the instructor can provide students with additional support in those areas. Summative assessments are designed to evaluate learner progress in achieving the stated learning objectives or mastering the competencies.

Assessments provide instructors with a broad perspective on the students’ mastery of content and allow students opportunities to track their progress and provide commentary.

The main components of assessment consist of cognition, observation, and interpretation, as illustrated in the “assessment triangle” diagram below (NRC, 2001). An analogy for an instructor’s role in course assessment is to imagine a detective, whose job it is to find evidence of what students have or have not learned.

assessment triangle, with observation, interpretation, and cognition at the three vertices

Section 6 of HCC’s online course quality rubric contains these standards:


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HCC Online Course High Quality Standards by Hillsborough Community College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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