At the May 3, 2017 Assessment Breakfast, Hunter’s 2016-17 Quantitative Reasoning Fellows (QRFs), Ernesto Garcia, Richard Gustavson, and Rachel Perlin presented “Using Diagnostic Exams to Run Semester-Long Assessment.” QRFs are doctoral candidate from the CUNY Graduate Center—Ernesto in Economics, Richard in Mathematics, and Rachel in Psychology. This was the culmination of their year working with Profs. Barbara Barone, Ken McLaughlin, and Amber Alliger of the Dolciani Quantitative Reasoning Center, Economics Tutoring Center, and Psychology Tutoring Center, respectively.
Since assessment done at the end of each semester makes it difficult to make instructional adjustments or identify students lacking certain prerequisite knowledge, they showed how the use of diagnostic exams given at the beginning of the semester can improve the way instructors think about assessment. They do so by focusing students’ attention on what they should know coming into the course and allowing instructors to run semester-long assessment projects. Ernesto, Richard, and Rachel discussed designing diagnostics that accurately reflect what is expected to be known and give a preview of what will be learned throughout the semester. They then discussed possible steps to take after identifying students lacking pre-requisite knowledge and demonstrated example adjustments that can be made in the classroom from the information gained from the assessment.