Assessment Task: The Meaning of XYZ

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A common learning outcome is that the student will know the meaning of XYZ. This example shows an assessment for the log function.


Professionals should know the meaning of a “main idea.” In math, the log function is a main idea. Thus, it is useful to have an assessment task to quantify how well students know the log function.

This assessment task arose when I noticed that the log function appears in equations used in fluid dynamics. I envision using this in a fluids class when the log function appears in a commonly used equation in fluid mechanics.

The Assessment Task

The assessment task is given below. Conditions: Closed book, closed notes, closed calculator. Rationale: See if the student understands that the log is the inverse of the exponential function.



The feedback, shown below, reflects how I solved this problem when I encountered it.


Questions for the Community

Please share any ideas you have with our community by posting below. Address any topics you’d like. Or, address my questions.

  • Do you believe that students should know main ideas? Is the log function a main idea?
  • Is this an idea that an engineering student should know? Or should they just know how to punch the numbers into their calculator?
  • What aspects of the assessment task do you like? Why?
  • How can I make this assessment task better? Do you have specific ideas for me?


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