HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS
Engagement in a continuous, systematic, and well-documented student learning assessment process has been gaining importance throughout higher education. Indeed, implementation of such a process is typically a requirement for obtaining and maintaining accreditation. Because faculty need to embrace learning assessment in order for it to be successful, any misconceptions about the nature of assessment need to be dispelled. One way to accomplish that is to “rebrand” (i.e., change perceptions) the entire process.
There are those in the academic community who dread hearing and reading about assessment. But aside from the mandatory reporting required by credentialing and accreditation agencies, how can faculty members be sure that all of the assessment activities they are required to report actually produce change and are not just more paperwork?
Requirements from accreditors and the Higher Education Opportunities Act (HEOA) have made assessment more important than ever. The key to doing it well is adopting sustainable assessment practices, says Linda Suskie, author of Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide.
“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.
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.
Of all the activities that go into educational assessment, ironically two of most rewarding also are two of the most overlooked: 1). sharing the results with stakeholders and 2). using the results to effect change.
After devoting so much time and energy to creating assessments, far too often what happens is someone takes the data that’s been gathered and compiles a dense, statistics-laden report that is difficult to find, read, or understand. Meanwhile everyone else turns their attention to more pressing matters; happy they finally got rid of that annoying pebble in their shoe.
Assessing institutional effectiveness is a noble pursuit, but measuring student learning is not always easy. As with so many things we try to quantify, there’s