David E. Tucker University of Toledo
The primary purpose of this chapter is to examine how classroom assessment might best be accomplished by the communication professor. Classroom assessment can be viewed on three different levels: formal procedures, informal procedures, and classroom research. This chapter gives examples of all three and how they can be used in specific communication classes. A secondary purpose of this chapter is to show the actual need for such procedures. Good classroom assessment should be the base of the assessment pyramid, not merely an afterthought.
It is expected that this chapter will be most useful to graduate students and faculty just beginning their teaching careers.
Much has been written since the early 1980s about assessment. Two major issues have involved how to best accomplish assessment and deciding at what level assessment should occur. With accrediting agencies, state legislatures, and taxpayers all clamoring for accountability and educational costs climbing universities are examining ways to answer these questions. Within 5 years of the publication of A Nation at Risk ( National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983) there were hundreds of task forces and more than 60 major reform reports issued ( Cross & Angelo, 1989) calling for standardized testing, exit exams, curricular evaluations, and other forms of outcomes assessment procedures (see chap. 1). The problem, as Cross and Angelo ( 1989) stated it is, "none of the people writing reports, making recommendations, passing legislation, and devising new measures of accountability affect directly what students learn in college. The quality of education depends largely on what happens when teachers meet stu-