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Inclusive Assessment

 “Positive feedback places emphasis on improvement and progress rather than on deficiencies and mistakes.”

Ginsberg & Wlodkowski (1995)

 A Few “Principles”

  • Student learning is prompted by early, frequent assessment and feedback for learning.
  • “Effective assessment includes a balanced blend of quantitative and qualitative data on student performance.”
  • Students will rise to high expectations if they have appropriate support.
  • Assessment utilizes multiple and varied methods of student performance.
  • Student learning is enhanced by exercises or assignments that promote self-assessment and self-awareness.
  • “Grading on a curve does not allow all students to see how close they are coming to high standards of performance. If all students reach the standard, it is okay for all to reach the highest grade.” (Ginsberg & Wlodkowski, Diversity & Motivation)
  • Inclusive Assessment provides opportunities for students to express their learning in different modes and modalities.
  • Assessment occurs before, during, and after learning.
  • What would you add to this list?

Effective Practices

  1. Allow for students to have a variety of opportunities to demonstrate their learning (includes in-class and out of class assignments, independent and group work, and draws from multiple sources.)
  2. Find ways to provide performance-improving feedback and opportunities to use that feedback.
  3. Offer early and frequent assessments that mirror larger assessments or build skills for later assessments.
  4. Use some ungraded or low-stakes assignments.
  5. Use rubrics to making it transparent what success should look like.
  6. Share sample assignments from former students as models.


Inclusive Assessment Chart (PDF)

Read through this chart.

Included in the second column are some of the things that most of us do.  As you read through, check off in front of it the ones you already do.

In the fourth column are ideas for how you might enhance what you already do by using more inclusive, student-centered language, and some new ideas that you might like to try.  As you read through this list, check off a few you might like to adopt or adapt.


This primer (PDF) was developed by the Inclusive Assessment Faculty Learning Community at Tufts.

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Teaching for Inclusive Excellence