DePaul University Teaching Commons > Teaching Guides > Feedback & Grading > High-Stakes Assignments

High-Stakes Assignments

High-stakes assessment of student learning often involves the evaluation of a student's final "product," whether it is a term paper, final exam, or other type of project. Students will be better prepared for high-stakes assessment by providing them with 
frequent and timely low-stakes assignments.

Characteristics

  • Encourages synthesis across an entire course or discipline
  • Requires creation of discipline-specific products (research papers, presentations)
  • Is often summative, requiring demonstration of the degree to which students have learned key course concepts and skills
  • Usually represents a larger percentage of the course grade

Examples

Beginning with sample course learning goals, the following chart can help you identify an effective high-stakes classroom assessment or appropriate types of questions.

If you want to assess students'... Then assign or give
Ability to define key course terminology and recall facts
  • Writing assignments that require appropriate use of disciplinary or course terminology
  • Exams with
    • Fill-in-the-blank questions
    • Matching questions
    • Multiple choice questions
    • Short answer questions
Synthesis of key course concepts
  • Case studies
  • Debates
  • Essay exams
  • Final projects
  • Multiple choice questions
  • Presentations
  • Portfolios
  • Research projects
  • Simulations
Application of discrete research, technical, performance, or meta-cognitive skills
  • Writing projects
  • Case studies
  • Debates
  • Performances
  • Presentations
  • Simulations
Ability to transfer knowledge or skills and apply them to new situations
  • Writing projects
  • Case studies
  • Debates
  • Simulations
Creation of new knowledge
  • Portfolios
  • Video essays
  • Artwork
  • Websites
  • Presentations
  • Research projects
  • Thesis or dissertation

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