Assessing Cases:
Learning and Teaching

Learning Assessment
Teaching Assessment
Learning with Cases

There are many opportunities to assess performances for students who use case-based learning approaches. You may evaluate the quality of student work during work activities, ask specific questions, or choose among numerous assessment strategies. You may find it helpful to gather information from students on how they view learning with cases. Here is a sample field testing form.

Activities students engage in as they work on their investigations
  • participation and contribution to work in groups
  • identification of issues,
  • development of questions,
  • proposal of investigations,
  • location of resources,
  • carrying out investigations,
  • production of materials, and presentations.

Questions you may wish to ask

Are your students:

  • actively acquiring information about an appropriate topic within this problem space?
  • re-organizing this information?
  • using strategies to select resources beyond text materials?
  • using a problem-oriented approach? (Is there a question for investigation?)
  • collaborating with other individuals in problem posing or problem solving?
  • choosing among alternative approaches to solve problems?
  • negotiating, arguing, or attempting to convince others?
  • generating graphs, tables, charts, or other graphics?
  • presenting conclusions?
  • presenting evidence to support their conclusions?
  • generating further questions as a result of this activity


Faculty may decide to evaluate any of the following (note: student products are in bold):

  • observe students at work with a task check list to include general items such as communicates clearly and/or specific items such as successfully rotates molecule in Protein Explorer,
  • evaluate a product students create such as a brochure on their case question targeting a specific audience,
  • use a case-based exam (Students might be asked to individually analyze the same case and generate questions, identify what they need to know, carryout an investigation, and/or present a product.),
  • require peer evaluations of a presentation such as a poster session or an in class debate request a group self-evaluation such as assignment of group points to individual members for their contributions,
  • and include traditional examination questions that cover the content and process objectives of the cases.
Assessing the Case for Teaching
Faculty need to take opportunities to reflect on their own practice. There are many opportunities to assess teaching with cases. You may find the attached form helpful in summarize how teaching with this case is changing your course.

Some questions to ask once the case has been used:

  • How well does the case work as a learning tool with students?
  • What were stumbling blocks for the students?
  • Were the students led "down the wrong path" by anything in the case?
  • Was the time allotted for case study adequate?
  • Were the students able to generate questions that they could investigate? Was there a problem with the case in this regard (too vague, difficult, long)
  • Did student discussion generally address the objectives of the case? Were there any other important objectives that should be included?
  • Were the students able to locate useful additional resources? Were the resource materials and readings useful?
  • How well did the case study fit with other elements of the course (lectures, labs, discussions, recitations)?
  • What worked especially well?

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