50 Ways To Measure Understanding

Terry Heick
First a preface: itemizing ways to measure understanding is functionally different than students choosing a way to demonstrate what they know—mainly because in a backward-design approach where the learning target is identified first, that learning target dictates everything else downstream. If, for example, a student was given a topic and an audience and were allowed to ‘do’ something and then asked to create something that demonstrated what they learned, the result would be wildly different across students. Put another way, students would learn different things in different ways. By dictating exactly what every student will ‘understand’ ahead of time, certain assessment forms become ideal. It also becomes much more likely that students will fail. If students can learn anything, then they only fail if they fail to learn anything at all or fail to demonstrate learning anything at all.
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