Skip to main content

Assessment and Evaluation

When students aren’t engaged with class material, don’t understand the connection between course content and assignments, or feel they are being treated unfairly, they act out in a number of ways, from classroom incivility, to plagiarism (Sorcinelli, 2003). Effective assignment design will not only help students learn, but will decrease academic dishonesty and student dissatisfaction.

We hope this page will provide you with some ideas for how to improve the assessments in your courses. Check out our page of Teaching Tips documents for even more ideas.


Creating Effective Assessments

When designing assessments, it is important to make sure that any exams or assignments match the learning outcomes of the course. Assessments should be based on material you’ve covered in the course, and students should perceive the material as relevant and fair.

When designing a new assessment or revising an old one, “the most important component is to be sure there is a match between the objectives of the unit/course/lesson being assessed, the teaching/learning activities used, and the assessment tool.”

Creating Effective Assessments [pdf]

Matching Assessments to Learning Outcomes [pdf]

Degree-Level Expectations and Course Learning Outcomes [pdf]


When designing an exam using multiple choice questions, there are several tricks to making sure the questions are fair, reliable, and measure higher order thinking.

Designing Multiple Choice Questions [pdf]


As described by the Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning, “the worst final exams can seem unfocused, determined to test everything, or random things. The best final exams are learning moments.”

Designing a Final Exam [pdf]


Open book exams can be a way of both assessing whether students have achieved higher level learning outcomes and reducing student anxiety.

Open Book Exams [pdf]


Designing Multiple Choice Exams: Advice from the Teaching Chairs

View/Print Transcript [docx]

View/Print Transcript [pdf]


Additional Resources


Designing Tests and Exams

  • Alternatives to Traditional Testing
    Berkeley Center for Teaching and Learning. University of California at Berkeley.
  • How to Write Better Tests: A Handbook for Improving Test Construction Skills [pdf]
    By Lucy C. Jacobs. IU Bloomington Evaluation Services & Testing. Indiana University.
  • Creating Assignments & Exams
    Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Harvard University.
  • Improving Multiple Choice Tests [pdf]
    By Victoria L. Clegg and William E. Cashin. From IDEA Paper No. 16. Center for Faculty Evaluation and Development. Kansas State University. 1986.
    This paper outlines ideas and strategies for writing fair, accurate and inclusive multiple-choice tests.
  • Improving Essay Tests [pdf]
    By William E. Cashin. From IDEA Paper. No. 17. Center for Faculty Evaluation and Development. Kansas State University. 1987.
    This paper provides strategies and recommendations for constructing and scoring essay tests. These recommendations can also be adapted to term papers, project reports, oral exams and other student assessment processes.
Marking Student Work

Reviewing student work and providing effective and meaningful feedback can be an overwhelming task. The following document provides tips and strategies for quickly providing consistent, helpful feedback.

Marking Essay and Short Answer Questions [pdf]


Numerous courses at Ryerson include lab reports as a method of assessing student work. Marking these labs can often seem like an overwhelming task. The LTO has compiled these best practices to assist Ryerson instructors in developing an efficient and fair method of grading lab reports.

Marking Lab Reports [pdf]


Writing in a second or other language at the university level is one of the biggest challenges many EAL students face. The following document provides strategies for providing feedback to EAL students to help them improve their writing skills.

Supporting EAL Writers [pdf]


Additional Resources

  • Tests and Grading
    Office of Educational Assessment. University of Washington.
  • Plan to Grade
    University of Washington.
    A site that offers resources to encourage faculty to think critically about their own grading practices and develop grading practices that lead to greater learning.
  • Fast and Equitable Grading
    Centre for Teaching Excellence. University of Waterloo.
  • Grading & Feedback
    Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Harvard University.


Grading Rubrics

  • Scoring Rubrics: What, When and How?
    By Barbara M. Moskal. Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(3). 2000.
    This paper describes the different types of scoring rubrics, explains why scoring rubrics are useful, and provides a process for developing scoring rubrics. It concludes with resources that contain examples of the different types of scoring rubrics and further guidance in the development process including Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators with its online Rubric Building tool.
  • Using Rubrics to Promote Thinking and Learning
    By Heidi Goodrich Andrate. Educational Leadership. Vol. 57(5): 13-18. February 2000.
  • Sample Rubrics
    List compiled by Winona State University.
  • Classroom Assessment Techniques: Scoring Rubrics
    By Diane Ebert-May. College Level One. National Institute for Science Education. University of Wisconsin-Madison.
  • Assessment Using Rubrics
    On the Cutting Edge, The National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College.
  • Using Rubrics in Assessment
    Office of Institutional Assessment and Studies. University of Virginia.
  • Rubric Tools
    Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. Penn State University.
Promoting Academic Integrity

The Academic Integrity Office (AIO) is a neutral office and information resource that seeks to promote a culture of integrity and educational excellence by informing, inspiring and educating the members of the Ryerson Community. The AIO exists to ensure that Policy 60: Academic Integrity is carried out in a fair and transparent way and to provide educational resources to the Ryerson community regarding academic integrity and misconduct.

Ryerson University is committed to fostering and upholding the highest standards of academic integrity, the fundamental values of which are honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, courage1, as well as trustworthiness. These values are central to the development and sharing of knowledge. All members of the Ryerson community, including faculty, students, graduate assistants, and staff, have a responsibility to adhere to and uphold them in their teaching, learning, evaluation, scholarly research and creative activity. This includes a responsibility to take action if they have reasonable grounds for thinking that academic misconduct has occurred.

The AIO website has many resources for faculty, instructors, graduate assistants and teaching assistants.  For example:

How to report a suspicion of Academic Misconduct (all suspicions must be reported through the AIO)

Academic Integrity & Misconduct: For Faculty & Instructors

Preventing Academic Misconduct

Workshops and educational tools to share with students (including D2L quizzes)

Frequently Asked Questions about Academic Integrity

1International Centre for Academic Integrity (2013)


Administering Exams

The Office of the Registrar has produced a guide for professors and invigilators which reviews some best practices for ensuring academic integrity during an exam.

Exam Guide for Professors and Invigilators

The LTO has produced a supplementary document to this guide that reviews ways to ensure academic integrity while administering large exams, especially those held in classrooms with tiered or fixed seating.

Download Tiered Seating and Academic Integrity [PDF]


Are these resources helpful?

If you would like to make comments or suggestions, recommend useful resources, or share your practice, please email Michelle Schwartz, Instructional Design and Research Strategist, at

Please check out the LTO's list of current programs for more services to help you improve your teaching.

Search the LTO

Contact the LTO

The Learning & Teaching Office, Kerr Hall West, KHW373
P: 416.979.5000 Ext. 3213 F: 416.542.5879 E: