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Resources for Effective Teaching

Topic:  Assessing Learning Using Knowledge Surveys

General information
A knowledge survey (KS) is an easily used device for indirect assessment of student learning. KSs consist of a series of questions that cover course material that are given at the beginning and end of the course. KSs provide a profile of class knowledge prior to the class as well as assess the student learning gains at the conclusion of the semester. Students rate their confidence in answering the question rather than answering the question itself. This provides an indirect assessment of learning from students’ perspectives. This webpage is designed to help you learn more about knowledge surveys so you can institute them in your curricula.

Links to OSET Resources:
Assessing Student Learning Gains and Instruction: This link will take you to the 2009 Success in the Classroom presentation abstracts. From there you can scroll down to page 13 to find a one page abstract describing knowledge surveys and the benefits of using them in the classroom; Gary Smith, University of New Mexico.


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FacNet Resources – UNM faculty who are happy to help in this area:
UNM faculty have volunteered to offer one-on-one advice about assessing learning using knowledge surveys and will welcome you to watch them teach in their classrooms.  Contact OSET and we will make arrangements for you to meet.

Click here if you would like to volunteer your expertise to colleagues by joining FacNet.

Links to Useful Resources Outside UNM:

Using Knowledge Surveys to Understand What Students are Learning:  This website provides information about what knowledge surveys are, why they are useful, and how to use them effectively; Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College.

An Indispensable Tool Course Design and Assessment Tool : This paper offers research data pertaining to the use of knowledge surveys in designing the course and assessing student learning; Karl Wirth, Macalester College and Dexter Perkins, University of North Dakota. 

Knowledge Survey Case Study : This webpage provides short video clips detailing what knowledge surveys are and how they are used in practice;  Edward Nuhfer, California State University.