Assessment Institute


The Assessment Institute focuses on the assignment as a means of assessing student learning. Through peer feedback and guided work time, this intensive two-day workshop helps individuals and instructor teams to redesign, adapt, or create new assignments for their courses.

Whether you are an individual faculty member seeking to improve an assignment, or an instructor team seeking to link assignments horizontally (within a course or across courses in the same term) or vertically (across courses in different terms or years), the Assessment Institute will provide the space, time, expertise, and peer feedback you need to develop a thoughtful and thorough assignment outline.

This program was first developed by The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Teaching Excellence. We are pleased to have the opportunity to adapt the program for the Western context and now offer the program to faculty on our own campus. 


By the end of the Institute, you will be able to:

  • Articulate what you want students to learn in your course and consider/evaluate assignment types
  • Choose or revise an assignment that best measures the knowledge and skills you most want your students to learn
  • Construct an assignment outline that includes clear instructions for students
  • Incorporate peer and student feedback in revisions to assignments

We are following several frameworks in the design and delivery of the Assessment Institute:

  • The Instructional Skills Workshop peer feedback model, adapted to provide feedback on assignments rather than on lesson planning and delivery.
  • The Design Charrette model offered for several years by the National Institute on Learning Outcomes Assessment.
  • Alignment between outcomes, activities, and assessments as outlined by Biggs (2003).

What to expect

Participants are required to submit an Assignment Proposal prior to attending the workshop, and arrive at the workshop prepared to discuss the preliminary design of the assignment with small groups of peer faculty members.

The workshop is a two-day intensive program that runs from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm each day. Homework between the first and second days includes revising your assignment, to be presented for additional feedback on the second day.


Biggs. J. (2003). Teaching for Quality Learning at University – What the Student Does. 2nd Edition Buckingham: SRHE / Open University Press.

ISW International. (2006). Instructional Skills Workshop Handbook.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. (2013). Organizing Assignment Design Work on Your Campus: A Tool Kit of Resources and Materials. 

Saroyan, A. & Amundsen, C. eds. (2004). Rethinking Teaching in Higher Education: from a Course Design Workshop to a Faculty Development Framework. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Program Information

Upcoming Sessions

No sessions are scheduled at present.


New and/or experienced instructors, librarians, and archivists from all disciplinary backgrounds.


Registration instructions

  1. Login to Western Connect using your Western username and password. 
  2. Go to the Event Calendars section and select the Centre for Teaching and Learning calendar, then select the program you wish to register in (Assessment Institute).
  3. . Details and a description of the program will appear.
  4. Select the Register on Waiting List button. You will receive an automated confirmation email to your Western email account.
  5. To complete your registration and to be considered for enrolment, complete the Assessment Institute Application survey found in your Western Email.
  6. Submit your $50 deposit (cash or cheque only) to the CTL to complete your registration the program. The CTL is typically open Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  7. You will receive a Registration confirmation email to your Western email account, once you have successfully regsitered.

If you have any questions or problems registering for an event, please consult our FAQs or contact

Prerequisites / Recommended Preparation

Participants are required to submit an Assignment Proposal prior to attending the workshop. The proposal will identify the course/level and describe the assignment participants wish to redesign, adapt or create during the workshop. Participants will need to set aside some time (~2-3 hours) between the first and second days of the workshop to revise their assignments.



Completion Requirements

To receive the certificate of completion, faculty must participate in the full two-day program (eight hours each day), complete two mini-assessment preparations, and provide feedback to peers in their group. 


Typically offered once per year.

Applies to following certificates

This workshop applies to the Course Design and Delivery component of the Faculty Certificate in Teaching Excellence.

You may also be interested in these programs: