July 17, 2012

Using a Capstone Course to Assess Learning

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“In this article, we describe an easily adoptable and adaptable model for a one-credit capstone course that we designed to assess goals at the programmatic and institutional levels.” (p. 523) That’s what the authors claim in the article referenced below, and that’s what they deliver. The capstone course they write about is the culmination of a degree in political science at a public university.


June 15, 2012

Students as Formative Assessment Partners

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“Creating a climate that maximizes student accomplishment in any discipline focuses on student learning instead of assigning grades. This requires students to be involved as partners in the assessment of learning and to use assessment results to change their own learning tactics.” (p. 136) The authors of this comment continue by pointing out that this assessment involves the use of formative feedback and that feedback has the greatest benefit when it addresses multiple aspects of learning. This kind of assessment should contain feedback on the product (the completed task) and feedback on progress (the extent to which the student is improving over time). The article then describes a number of formative feedback activities that illustrate how students can be involved as partners in the assessment process. Their involvement means that formative feedback can be given more frequently.


August 8, 2011

To Make Assessment Manageable Keep it Simple and Be Flexible

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Anyone with a 3-year-old knows one of their favorite words is “Why.” As it turns out, asking “why” is a good way to examine your assessment goals and how they align with your institution’s core values.

“My favorite assessment question is ‘Why’ and I ask it over and over again,” said Linda Suskie, president at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


July 11, 2011

Creating a Campus Culture That Values Assessment

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It is only a slight exaggeration to say that resistance to educational assessment comes from almost as many different sources as there are assessment tools, but in the end the reasons usually all boil down to three main issues:

  1. Lack of understanding of the value and importance of assessment
  2. Lack of resources to engage in assessment
  3. Fear of change and risk taking




September 1, 2010

Five Steps to Improving Program-Level Assessment Practices

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Student learning outcomes assessment can be defined in a lot of different ways, but Lisa R. Shibley, PhD., assistant vice president for Institutional Assessment and Planning at Millersville University, has a favorite definition. It’s from Assessment Clear and Simple: A Practical Guide for Institutions, Departments, and General Education by Barbara E. Walvoord and states that student learning outcomes assessment is “the systematic collection of information about student learning, using time, knowledge, expertise, and resources available in order to inform decisions about how to improve learning.”