SALTISE Webinar: Better Assessments with Backward Design – Feb. 25

Better Assessments With Backward Design: Bringing critical thinking into the questioning
February 25, 2022 | 2:30 – 4:00 PM


There have been several national calls in the US to increase critical thinking in college classrooms, particularly in science classrooms. Despite improving the cognitive level in instruction and classroom activities, assessments are often poorly constructed and measure low-level cognitive skills, emphasizing memorization. In 2018, HHMI BioInteractive partnered with several biology faculty and the book’s authors, The College Instructor’s Guide to Writing Test Items: Measuring Student Learning to situate these evidence-based practices in the biology context. Since 2019, BioInteractive has provided professional development opportunities around Backward Design and assessment writing and design. In 2022, BioInteractive will be launching the tool Assessment Builder to support faculty and highlight exemplar items submitted by the community.

Learning objectives and assessment items should address the field’s breadth of complexity, and thinking skills and instructional learning objectives should convey what a student will do as a result of instruction. This session will highlight the importance of communicating clear, well-written learning objectives with your students and aligning them to assessment items. We will share our learnings over the last three years and tools to take back to your classroom to improve your articulation of expectations to students and your ability to assess students fairly.



Melissa Csikari

Program Manager, BioInteractive

Rebecca Orr

Biology Professor, Collin College

Michael Rodriguez

Co-director of the Educational Equity Resource Center and the Campbell Leadership Chair in the Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota


Last Modified: February 18, 2022