Recently in Assessment Category

We hope you are well and that the start of the semester has gone as smoothly as possible! We know there have been a lot of changes this semester which have brought new challenges. Are you interested to know what your students are thinking about your courses and how they are navigating the challenges this semester? If so, we strongly recommend requesting a midcourse survey for just-in-time formative feedback. 

All you need to do is ask your department admin to set up a midcourse survey through Blue, the same system that hosts SIRS. Midcourse reports are not part of the promotion, tenure, or advancement systems, and are instead meant for formative feedback. (Alternatively, instructors can create their own midcourse surveys in Google Forms, Qualtrics, or an anonymous survey in Canvas). Once you have set up a survey, you can personalize your questions so that you can get the most out of your data.

CTAAR is hosting several upcoming sessions to help you set up your surveys:


Interpreting and Utilizing Student Feedback for Change: Midcourse Surveys (virtual interactive workshop)

Monday, October 4th, 2021, 12:30 - 2:00 pm

Do you know what your students think about your lectures, discussions, activities, or your carefully crafted selected assignments? This workshop explores how to conduct a midcourse survey using Blue or another platform like Google Forms. We provide a discussion of how to employ quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze the data you obtain, and how you should share this information with your students. Our underlying focus in this session is to help you develop the insight you need to address student concerns and make course adjustments before the term is over.

If you wish to attend the workshop or you wish to receive the video recording after the workshop, please RSVP here:


Adding Questions in Blue to Midcourse Surveys for Faculty (virtual only)

October 7, 2021, 11:00am-11:30am, RSVP: 

October 7, 2021, 3:00pm - 3:30pm, RSVP: 

This session will bring instructors through the process of how to add questions to their midcourse survey in Blue. Best practices for question design and tips for promoting engagement will also be covered. 

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Managing Large Online Classes

Teaching online is especially challenging when managing large classes, because many activities that work with smaller groups are unwieldy when teaching to 100 or even 400 students. In this session, CTAAR examines how to manage students, assessment, and engagement in large classes. We cover creating and evaluating discussions in discussion forums, developing meaningful assessments that are possible to grade in a time-efficient manner, hosting and managing synchronous sessions using Zoom, and incorporating tools such as iClicker or TopHat to enrich content.

Thursday, July 16th 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Please RSVP at:

Peer Review of Online Teaching

In spring of 2020, peer review of teaching was suddenly halted by the rapid shift to remote teaching. In the fall term, peer review will need to continue so that faculty can have documentation of their successful teaching to use as evidence in teaching portfolios, and departments can better understand what is happening in virtual or partially virtual classrooms. For many instructors, the process of peer review of online teaching is entirely new. In this workshop, CTAAR discusses how to conduct online peer review of teaching, how to develop a rubric or guide that matches best practices for online teaching, and what to expect if someone will be reviewing your online course.

Wednesday August 5th, 9:30 am - 11:00 am

Please RSVP at:

Tuesday August 18th, 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Please RSVP at:

Grading Schemes that Support Student Success

Grades have historically served a variety of purposes, from ranking students among their peers, to identifying high performing students who might excel in further study. However, scholarship of teaching and learning suggests that an instructor's grading scheme can significantly impact student learning. In particular, two related approaches to grading, Master Learning with Competency Based Grading, and Specifications Grading, align grades with learning objectives, and promote greater mastery of course material. In this workshop, CTAAR introduces different grading schemes while also reviewing general best practices for promoting grading transparency and reducing grade challenges including clear weighting, use of gradebook options in the LMS, and development of appropriate rubrics.

Thursday, August 13th 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm

Please RSVP at:

Personalizing Learning to Improve Outcomes

The constructivist approach to pedagogy affirms that learning is an individualistic practice, and that new knowledge is always built on an individual's prior understanding and experience. Personalized learning is an educational approach where instruction and assessments are aligned with individual students to address their diverse cultural backgrounds, interests, strengths, and learning needs. While it can be challenging to tailor activities for each individual in a course, students learn more when instructors create personalized learning environments. This session provides suggestions to move in this direction ranging from quick and simple strategies to more time-intensive approaches.

Tuesday, August 11th, 10:00 am - 11:30 am

Please RSVP at:

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Rutgers Covid-19 Response: What We Learned - June 3, 2020

At the end of the spring 2020 term, CTAAR surveyed faculty about their experiences teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will share the anonymous summary of results in this workshop. We will include statistical analysis of the data and qualitative analysis of instructor comments. We will also include analysis of the Covid-19 questions added to the Student Instructional Ratings Survey. During this event we will provide a space for Q&A and a forum to continue our discussion of how best to address the concerns raised by our instructors and students. We hope the discussion of these sources of data will inform decisions for the fall term.
This workshop is scheduled for Wednesday June 3 at 10:00am. Interested faculty and staff may RSVP using the following link:

Last week, several instructors requested workshops on how to create an exam in the Learning Management System that they use. Our colleagues at TLT and ATS have graciously arranged the following workshops and resources:


Exams & Quizzes Workshop (Provided by Dena Novak at TLT) - Tuesday, April 21 at 11:30am (Register Here)

Technical support for Canvas:


Tests & Quizzes Workshop (Provided by Dena Novak at TLT) - Wednesday, April 22 at 1pm (Register Here)

Technical support for Sakai:


Prerecorded Exams & Quizzes (Provided by Joy McDonald at ATS) (Login Here) -- if you are unable to access this website, please contact Joy McDonald at

Technical support for Blackboard:

Or, make an appointment with an ATS Staff Member (Here)

Writing Exam Questions

Please note that these workshops are being offered in addition to the CTAAR upcoming workshop "Writing Exam Questions that measure Student Learning (April 22 at 3pm). We hope you will take advantage of these opportunities!

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Based on the feedback from our "Options for Remote Exams" workshop, CTAAR is offering a presentation on how to write exam questions that measure student learning on Wednesday, Apr 22, 2020 3:00-4:00 pm. We will cover what makes good multiple choice questions, how to develop essay questions, and how to write rubrics to evaluate open ended questions. The workshop will provide special focus on challenges associated with the remote learning environment, such as developing questions appropriate for an "open book" environment.

 We are also planning workshops on how to create exams in your individual learning management systems -- stay tuned for information on how to attend these future workshops.

Please RSVP here to receive the WebEx Connection details:

** While this session is over, you can obtain a copy of the video by emailing **

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The Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research (CTAAR) invites you to attend a new virtual workshop, "Options for Giving your Remote Final Exam" on Friday April 10th from 10am-11am.

In this workshop we will explore some technological options available at Rutgers, including Canvas, Akindi, Respondus, and ProctorTrack. We will also review practical and policy considerations given academic integrity concerns and the technological limitations of remote instruction. We will provide space for you to ask questions and share solutions.

Please RSVP so we can send advance materials, announcements, and WebEx connection details:

 ** While this session is over, you can obtain a copy of the video by emailing **

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Interpreting and Utilizing Student Feedback for Change 

Midcourse Surveys  

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020

10:00 - 11:30 am

Livingston Student Center, Room 201AB

This workshop explains the process for distributing a customized midcourse survey to obtain student feedback. The process for conducting a midcourse survey will be explained. Quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze the data obtained from the survey will be discussed and templates provided. How this analysis could be extended to other forms of student feedback will also be discussed. The underlying focus will be how to make course improvements while addressing student concerns.



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An Introduction to Unizin with Jennifer Sparrow 

Learning Analytics and Open Educational Resources


Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

11:30 am - 2:30 pm

Livingston Student Center, Room 201AB and 202ABC


Rutgers University's membership in Unizin, a nonprofit higher education consortium consisting of 27 leading institutions, provides a forum for discussion, collaboration, and leverage to advance the university's strategic plan. Jennifer Sparrow will begin this session with an overview of Unizin and then participants will have the choice to join breakout sessions. Breakout sessions will begin at 1:30 pm and focus on Content Creation & OER and Learning Analytics. Lunch will be served.



Dr. Jennifer Sparrow is the Associate Vice President for Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State University. She is also on the Unizin Board of Directors and Teaching and Learning committee. She champions for the following strategic goals: innovation in teaching and learning with technology, strategic opportunities for faculty development, the advancement of flexible, active learning spaces, research in the scholarship of technology-enhanced teaching and learning, and inspiring excellence in teaching and learning with technology at Penn State and beyond. She received her bachelor's from Smith College, a master's from Florida Gulf Coast University, and a doctorate from the University of Central Florida. Sparrow is the winner of the 2013 EDUCAUSE Rising Star Award.

View the Full Flyer

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Using Evidence to Evaluate Teaching

Friday January 31, 11:00am-12:30pm

(116 College Avenue, New Brunswick)

As part of the tenure, promotion, and renewal process, instructors across Rutgers have been observed by colleagues, reviewed by students, and tasked with developing teaching portfolios to represent their teaching. Chairs and deans are now required to consider these sources of evidence to evaluate teaching quality. In this workshop, CTAAR presents rubrics and strategies that department and school leadership can use to determine 1) whether the instructor has shown growth or development and commitment to teaching, 2) whether the evidence of effective teaching supports the instructor's teaching philosophy and goals, and 3) whether the teaching portfolio successfully addresses teaching concerns important to the department. This workshop will be offered in person and by video link.

In-Person RSVP:

Virtual RSVP:

Please check out our workshop page for a list of additional workshops we will be offering in the Spring 2020 semester!

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Learning Analytics

Rutgers has begun looking into the use of learning analytics, which allow instructors to better assess student progress earlier and more often during the learning process. 

The following resources provide some details some of the existing tools and methods:

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