Develop Quality Assessments With CCARIT

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Improve Assessments in Your Courses With CCARIT

Developed by the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Howe Center for Writing Excellence, Miami University

The CCARIT (Comprehensive Course Assessment Review and Improvement Tool) is a collection of prompts and questions to help you consider, analyze, and improve the features of assessment practices and materials in your courses. Access the CCARIT below as a downloadable Google Doc.

Describe Your Assessment Practices

Identifying Course Learning Objectives

Copy and paste or re-type your course learning objectives here.




Identifying Existing Student Learning Assessments

What are your current assessments?

Current Assessment Table
Assessment When Due Frequency


Assessment Frequency and Variety

Assessment Scheduling & Frequency

  • What campus events or deadlines are important to be aware of as I schedule assessments?
  • How is feedback on assessments distributed across the semester in terms of intensity and frequency? Does the distribution align with the best practices (need to state them here)?
  • What periodic feedback mechanisms have I employed to monitor learning (e.g., graded and non-graded quizzes, tests, lecture-response systems, tests, reflection papers)?

Assessment Variety

  • How many different ways am I assessing student learning?
  • What is the balance among no-stakes, low-stakes, and high-stakes assessments in the course?
  • Have I used both summative and formative evaluations (e.g., oral presentations, group work, self-evaluation, peer evaluation)?
  • Have I included opportunities for students to self-assess their learning or understanding?
  • How do assessments create desirable difficulties (Bjork & Bjork) that activate prior knowledge while pushing students to higher levels of achievement?

Assessment Framing and Purpose

Course Framing and Purpose

  • Have I had a conversation with students about the overall purpose of the course (why the course “matters”)?
  • Have I considered course-level and assignment-level learning goals or objectives when planning my assessments?

The Nature of Learning

  • What opportunities do students have to identify prior knowledge about the subject?
  • What opportunities do students have to find connections between course material?
  • Have I given adequate time for students to engage in the process of learning?
  • What opportunities do students have to engage in the social nature of learning?
  • How have I considered the affective nature of learning?

Helping Students Choose Integrity

  • Have I explained how practicing integrity relates to the overall class or discipline?
  • Have I discussed how specific habits in the course relate to success and integrity?
  • Have I clearly and specifically outlined acceptable and unacceptable forms of collaboration or sharing of work?
  • Have I clearly explained guidelines for source use and citation in assessments and provided resources for this?
  • Have I explained what resources or assistance students are allowed to use on assessments?
  • Have I discussed or assessed students’ assumptions and understanding of what is expected from them with regard to academic integrity in the course?

Communication of Expectations and Instructor Feedback

  • Have I clearly stated expectations for timely and regular feedback from me (e.g. through questions, email, assignments, etc.)?
  • Have I explained the evaluation methods explicitly?
  • Have I explained how final grades will be assigned?
  • Have I provided ways that students can easily calculate or find their grades at any point in the course?
  • Have I explained typical time needs to complete assessments?
  • Have I explained my expectations for academic integrity in the course?
  • Have I explained how each assessment relates to specific course learning outcomes?
  • Are feedback mechanisms designed to be developmental, with the goal of improvement?

Using Learning-Centered Language

  • How does the language used in the syllabus, assignments, and feedback focus on learning rather than grades?
  • What learning improvement strategies are embodied in my course goals, assignments, and feedback offered to students?
  • How does the language I use when giving feedback focus on continuous improvement?
  • How does the language used in my grading mechanisms link assessment to learning?

Assessment Alignment with Course Goals

Assessment and Learning Objectives

  • Which levels of Bloom's Taxonomy of Cognitive Objectives do the assessments address? Does this match what I aspire students to be doing in the course? Use the chart below to help you answer this question.
Charting Bloom's Taxonomy
Bloom's Taxonomy Level # of Course Objectives # of Course Assessments


  • Based on the above chart, do you have any course course objectives that lack a related assessment?
  • Based on the chart above, do you have any course assessments that are not aligned with any course learning objects?

Analyze Your Current Assessment Scheme

This chart can be used to analyze your full assessment scheme for the course. Complete it as you work your way through the questions above to identify gaps between your current assessment practices and the best practices suggested by the questions.

Current Assessment Scheme
Assessment Goals Assessed When Introduced When Due Frequency Feedback



Astin, A. W., Banta, T. W., Cross, K. P., El-Khawas, E., Ewell, P. T., Hutchings, P., . . . Wright, B. D. (n.d.). Nine principles of good practice for assessing student learning. Washington, DC: American Association of Higher Education. Retrieved from

Best practice principles for assessment that are also applicable to preventing plagiarism and cheating in online courses.

Best practices for course design and instruction. (2013). New York, NY: New York University, Faculty Committee on the Future of Technology-Enhanced Education. Retrieved from

Course design principles for planning in-person, online, or hybrid courses that address assessment frequency, variety, and use of both formative and summative assessment.

Carnegie Mellon University. (2021). Why should assessments, learning objectives, and instructional strategies be aligned? Pittsburgh, PA: Author. Retrieved from

An explanation of the how and why of aligning these three components of instruction that includes examples of well-aligned assessments.

Escayg, K-A. (2020, November 20). An anti-racist form of assessment: The C.A.P Model: Creative. Academic. Practical. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from

Proposes a three-dimensional assessment model to promote student engagement that is based in the constructs of anti-racism as well as critical race theory.

Evaluation checklist for online courses. (n.d.). Milwaukee, WI: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements.

A checklist for self- or peer evaluation of online courses before, during, or after completion.

Gannon, K. (2018, September 12). How to create a syllabus: Advice guide. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

A comprehensive guide to syllabus design and creation with an emphasis on clarity and transparency in assessment design.

Howe Center for Writing Excellence. (2021). Best practices and recommendations for advanced writing. Oxford, OH: Miami University. Retrieved from

Includes, best practices, recommendations, and examples of advanced writing assignments and assessments.

Mindful and learner-centered syllabus checklist. (2020). Ames, IA: Iowa State University Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching. Retrieved from

A seven-step checklist for designing a syllabus to promote mindfulness and learner-centered instruction and assessment.

Palmer, M., Bach, D., & Streifer, A. (2021). Measuring the promise: A valid and reliable syllabus rubric guide to assessing the focus of syllabi. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Center for Teaching Excellence. Retrieved from

A rubric designed to assess the extent to which a course syllabus promotes learner-centered instruction, informed by the literature on course design, teaching, and student motivation.

Quaye, B. R. (2018). Cheating as a matter of course: How the course context influences students' decisions about academic integrity. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching, 29(3&4), 9-35.

This qualitative study explores influences on students' decisions about academic dishonesty, particularly how students' course contexts affect their decisions.

Stassen, M. L. A., Doherty, K., & Poe, M. (2001). Course-based review and assessment: Methods for understanding student learning. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Amherst. Retrieved from

A comprehensive handbook for using assessment as a teaching tool for understanding, documenting, and interpreting student learning outcomes.

Sugarman, B., Cooper, J., Garofoli, E., Murphy, L., Nash, S., Pickett, A., . . . White, N. (2015). ACE Course Quality Assessment Rubric. Washington, DC: American Council on Education. Retrieved from

A comprehensive rubric for evaluating course materials to determine whether the quality, content, scope, rigor, and assessments align with the standards being applied to curricula currently being taught at accredited postsecondary institutions.

The Pennsylvania State University. (2020). Course design checklist resources. University Park, PA: Author. Retrieved from

A step-by-step course design checklist with an Assessment section that includes multiple online resources for aligning assessments with course goals and developing assessment questions and rubrics.