A knowledge survey is a method of evaluating the delivery of a course through the gathering of feedback from the learner on the level of the knowledge they acquired after the completion of the instruction. It usually consists of questions that cover the content of the course. The surveys evaluate student learning and content mastery at all levels: from basic knowledge and comprehension through higher levels of thinking. Knowledge surveys can serve as both formative and summative assessment tools. They are effective in helping:
- students learn,
- instructors improve their delivery,
- departments explore new curricula and pedagogies.
Structure of the survey
A standard knowledge survey consists of questions that cover the content of a course addressing all levels of Bloom's scale of thinking. A survey may include as many as 200 questions. The key feature of knowledge surveys is that students do NOT answer the questions. Instead, they say whether they COULD answer the question and with what degree of confidence. So students complete the surveys quickly.
For easy assessment, the questions might follow the multiple choice format with choices that address the level of knowledge and confidence in a certain topic. For example, a typical multiple choice answer could be of the following form:
- (A) I know the topic quite well.
- (B) I know at least 50% of the topic partially, and I know where I can find more information about it. Within 20 minutes, I am confident I can find the complete answer.
- (C) I am not confident I can answer the question.
- Feldman, K.A., 1998, Identifying exemplary teachers and teaching: Evidence from student ratings: in Teaching and Learning in the College Classroom: in Feldman, K.A., and Paulsen, M.B., editors, 2nd edition, Simon and Schuster, Needham Heights, MA, p. 391-414.
- Fink, L.D., 2003, Creating Significant learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses: Jossey-Bass, 295 p.
- Wiggins, G., McTighe, J., 2001, Understanding by Design: Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 201 p.
- Building a knowledge survey online.
- http://www.macalester.edu/geology/wirth/CourseMaterials.html Knowledge Surveys: The ultimate course design and assessment tool for faculty and students.
- Knowledge Surveys: Being Clear, Organized, and Able to Prove It - ITL Newsletter - Vol. 2, No. 2