KNOWLEDGE SURVEYS: AN IDEAL TOOL FOR ASSESSING LEARNING AND FOR EVALUATING INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES AND CURRICULA
Knowledge surveys consist of numerous items that cover the full breadth of course learning objectives and levels of understanding (e.g., Bloom levels). Students interact with the survey at the beginning, end, and during the course. Surveys at the beginning of a course provide information on student background and preparation. During the course, surveys are learning guides for students, helping them prepare for exams and reflect on their learning.
Evaluation of knowledge survey responses yields a wealth of both formative and summative information. The instructor can use survey results to monitor student mastery of course content, and to evaluate the effectiveness of methods employed in the classroom. Data from the end of a course, paired with that taken at the start, reflects student-learning gains. Student self-assessment skills can be inferred by comparison of responses from several knowledge surveys and exams. Multi-year results allow direct measure of knowledge retention. Knowledge survey data from required courses allows a unit to examine curricula in ways no other tool provides. Knowledge surveys completed by exiting seniors can be used to evaluate departmental majors and programs.