Diagnostic assessments (also known as pre-assessments) provide instructors with information about student's prior knowledge and misconceptions before beginning a learning activity and also diagnose students’ strengths and areas of need.
These assessments also provide a baseline for understanding how much learning has taken place after the learning activity is completed. Instructors usually build concepts sequentially throughout a course. A diagnostic pre-assessment provides an opportunity to determine if students remember the concepts they need. If some students don't remember important concepts, then a refresher will make the current activity more meaningful and improve learning outcomes for students.
Indicate students' prior knowledge.
Assess the learning that has occurred during a teaching/learning session.
Can help instructors adjust content and activities to encourage more effective learning.
May make the teaching/learning process more efficient and effective by zeroing in on content that needs to be taught and mastered.
Can help students understand the value of a lesson, module, or entire course.
Can point out to students the gaps in student’s reasoning and misperceptions about subject matter.
May motivate students to seek accurate information and practice.
Demonstrate to students that their instructors care about them as people and about their success as learners.
Consider: What benefits of using diagnostic assessment can you see for your own classes? Consider these when drafting your course map and module worksheet at the end of this module.