Using a Triad Approach to Student Assessments to Promote More Meaningful Learning


We usually think of testing and grading as a responsibility that lies uniquely in the domain of the professor; after teaching a chunk of material, professors must administer tests to determine how well each student understood the material.

However, as the world of education shifts toward a more learner-centered approach, many educators are beginning to view assessments as an interactive process rather than merely a process of transmission from teacher to student. When students are more involved in evaluating their own work and the work of their peers, they are better able to form a meaningful connection with course material.

To establish a system of meaningful feedback, educational researchers recommend incorporating the following 3 elements into every course:

  1. Self-reflection – students judge their own performance and determine how they can improve.
  2. Peer feedback – students evaluate the work of their peers and offer suggestions for improvement.
  3. Instructor assessments – professors provide ongoing, specific, and meaningful feedback to guide students toward better performance.

Fortunately, many digital tools are available to enable students and professors to collaborate online during the assessment process.

To understand more about the triad approach to assessments and how digital tools can be used to provide feedback, see Investigating How Digital Technologies Can Support a Triad-Approach for Student Assessment in Higher Education by Norman Vaughan of Mount Royal University.

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