learning assessment techniques September 12

Three Learning Assessment Techniques to Gauge Student Learning

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A learning assessment technique (LAT) is a three-part integrated structure that helps teachers to first identify significant learning goals, then to implement effectively the kinds of learning activities that help achieve those goals, and finally—and perhaps most importantly—to analyze and report
on the learning outcomes that have been achieved from those learning activities.

LATs are correlated to Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning, such that there are about 6–10 techniques for each of the learning dimensions, including techniques to help students learn the foundational knowledge of the subject and help students apply that foundational knowledge to real situations so that it becomes useful and much more meaningful to them.

There are techniques that help students integrate ideas—different realms of knowledge—so that the learning is more powerful. There are techniques to help students recognize the personal and social implications of what they are learning, which is what Dee Fink calls the human dimension. There are techniques to help students care about what they are learning so that they’re willing to put the effort into what they need to learn. And finally, there are techniques to help students become better and more self-directing learners (learning how to learn).

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October 15, 2013

A Different Kind of Final

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Last semester I implemented a different kind of final exam. In the past I have used the standard multiple-choice and short-answer exams. I was thinking about making a change when I discovered Beyond Tests and Quizzes: Creative Assessment in the College Classroom, edited by Richard J. Mezeske and Barbara A. Mezeske. The second chapter, “Concept Mapping: Assessing Pre-Service Teachers’ Understanding and Knowledge,” describes an assessment method that tests higher-level thinking. The author shared his experience using concept maps as a final exam, included an example of the final exam project, offered rubrics for grading, and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the strategy. I decided this was the change I was going to make.


August 14, 2013

ExamSoft Makes It Easier Than Ever to Access Direct Evidence of Student Learning

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As students and the accreditation bodies that regulate colleges and universities demand direct-evidence of student learning, being able to connect learning outcomes to assessments is increasingly important. ExamSoft, the leading provider of intelligent embedded assessment solutions, today announced updates to its platform that will help faculty members and institutions get information in real time and intervene earlier with students. Built for faculty, the new release offers simpler navigation, streamlined question creation, the ability to blueprint exams by learning outcome, and easier student management and report creation.


August 17, 2012

Establishing a Fair and Supportive Grading Environment

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Grading serves multiple purposes. While the most obvious purpose is to evaluate students’ work — as a measure of competency, achievement, and meeting the expectations of the course — grading can also be a key to communication, motivation, organization and faculty/student reflection. It’s for that reason that Virginia Johnson Anderson, EdD, calls grading “a context-dependent, complex process.”


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.


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.


June 20, 2011

Technology-Enhanced Classroom Assessment Techniques

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In the mid-1990s, college faculty members were introduced to the concept of classroom assessment techniques (CATs) by Angelo and Cross (1993). These formative assessment strategies were learner-centered, teacher-directed ongoing activities that were rooted in good teaching practice. They were designed to provide relatively quick and useful feedback to the faculty member about what students did and did not understand in order to enhance the teaching and learning process.


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.”