More information on giving content assessments

Encourage faculty to use content assessments effectively in all sections. Not all faculty may wish to devote class time to assessments beyond their regular course exams. However, there exists a body of research that shows that traditional lectures do little to change students' fundamental conceptual understanding of physics, and this research may help to convince resistant faculty of the usefulness of content assessment.

Encourage faculty to give the assessment twice - once near the beginning of the course and once near the end - on days when nearly all students are present. In order to encourage students to give their best efforts, faculty may consider giving credit for the assessment, possibly mitigating the potential effect on students' grades by allowing them to drop their lowest test score for the semester.

Several PhysTEC sites have been able to collect content assessment data from the same course when taught by both faculty using traditional methods and faculty using interactive methods. In all cases, the interactive courses generated higher student learning gains than the traditional ones. It is this type of evidence that convinces professors and administrators of the benefits of course reform. See also Institutional Commitment.