Student Assessment

Active learning graphic

Assessing students can be one of the most challenging parts of using active learning. Traditional methods of grading, like exams, may not accurately measure the type of learning that occurs in group-based learning. Similarly, learning spaces that are designed for interaction may not function well for exams. The following sections are intended to aid your approach to assessment by offering various types of assessments, some of the advantages or challenges faculty encounter when they are used in an active learning course, and variations on each type that can be used to overcome these challenges. Click on each sub-section for more information.

Alternative Grading Structures

Assessment to Encourage Reading


Polling (e.g. iClicker, Poll Everywhere)




  • Baepler, P., Walker, J, Brooks, D., Saichaie, K, Petersen, C. (2016). A Guide to Teaching in the Active Learning Classrooms: History, Research, and Practice. Sterling, VA. 153-165.
  • Education and Society Program. (2007). The Role of Interim Assessments in a Comprehensive Assessment System: A Policy Belief. Achieve, Inc., The Aspen Institute, The National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessments, Inc. Available at