|Posted on November 13, 2018 at 6:50 AM||comments (9)|
I’m mystified by how Bloom’s taxonomy has pervaded the higher education assessment landscape. I’ve met faculty who have no idea what a rubric or a test blueprint or a curriculum map is, but it’s been burned into their brains that they must follow Bloom’s taxonomy when developing learning goals. This frustrates me no end, because I don’t think Bloom’s is the best framework for considering learning outcomes in higher education.
Bloom...Read Full Post »
|Posted on October 27, 2018 at 10:30 AM||comments (0)|
Collaborative learning, better known as group work, is an important way for students to learn. Some students learn better with their peers than by working alone. And employers very much want employees who bring teamwork skills.
But group work, such as a group presentation, is one of the hardest things for faculty to grade fairly. One reason is that many student groups include some slackers and some overactive eager beavers. When viewing the product of a group assignment̵...Read Full Post »
|Posted on September 23, 2018 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
A recent Inside Higher Ed piece, “The Contamination of Student Assessment” by Jay Sterling Silver, argued that behaviors such as class attendance and class participation shouldn’t be factored into grades because grades should be “unadulterated measurements of knowledge and skills that we represent them to be...Read Full Post »
|Posted on September 2, 2018 at 8:25 AM||comments (2)|
In a recent guest post in Inside Higher Ed, “What Students See in Rubrics,” Denise Krane explained her dissatisfaction with rubrics, which can be boiled down to this statement toward the end of her post, “Ideally, rubrics are assignment specific.”
I don’t know where Denise got this idea, but it’s flat-out wrong. As I’v...Read Full Post »
|Posted on August 14, 2018 at 8:50 AM||comments (1)|
A while back, a faculty member teaching in a community college career program told me, “I don’t need to assess. I know what my students are having problems with—math.”
Well, maybe so, but I’ve found that my perceptions often don’t match reality, and systematic evidence gives me better insight. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Example #1: you may have noticed that myRead Full Post »
|Posted on July 30, 2018 at 8:20 AM||comments (2)|
I often hear questions about how long an “assessment cycle” should be. Fair warning: I don’t think you’re going to like my answer.
The underlying premise of the concept of an assessment cycle is that assessment of key program, general education, or institutional learning goals is too burdensome to be completed in its entirety every year, so it’s okay for assessments to be staggered across two or more years. Let’s unpack that premise a bit....Read Full Post »
|Posted on July 15, 2018 at 7:45 AM||comments (7)|
The word “demonstrate” in learning goals raises a red flag for me. Consider these (real) learning goals:
- Demonstrate fundamental business and entrepreneurship skills
- Demonstrate critical and creative thinking.
- Demonstrate information literacy skills.
- Demonstrate teamwork and collaboration.
- Demonstrate ethical self-awareness.
- Demonstrate personal responsibility.
Clearly the people who wrote these learning go...Read Full Post »
|Posted on June 24, 2018 at 4:30 PM||comments (1)|
A recent paper co-sponsored by AALHE and Watermark identified some key professional development needs of assessment practitioners.
While a book is no substitute for a rich, interactive professional development experience, some of the things that assessment practitioners want to learn about are discussed in my booksRead Full Post »
|Posted on June 10, 2018 at 8:45 AM||comments (2)|
Architecture critic Kate Wagner recently said, “All buildings are interesting. There is not a single building that isn’t interesting in some way.” I think we can say the same thing about assessment: All assessment is interesting. There is not a single assessment that isn’t interesting in some way.
Kate points out that what makes seemin...Read Full Post »
|Posted on May 27, 2018 at 7:40 AM||comments (0)|
When I help faculty and co-curricular staff move ahead with their assessment efforts, I probably spend half our time on helping them articulate their learning goals. As the years have gone by, I’ve become ever more convinced that learning goals are the foundation of an assessment structure…and without a solid foundation, a structure can’t be well-constructed.
So what are well-stated learning goals? They have the following characteristics:
...Read Full Post »
|Posted on May 2, 2018 at 6:55 AM||comments (0)|
I look on learning goals as promises that we make to students, employers, and society: If a student passes a course or graduates, he or she WILL be able to do the things we promise in our learning goals.
But there are some things we hope to instill in students that we can’t guarantee. We can’t guarantee, for example, that every graduate will be a passionate lifelong learner, appreciate artistic expressions, or make ethical decisions. I think these kinds of statem...Read Full Post »
|Posted on March 28, 2018 at 6:25 AM||comments (1)|
In my February 28 blog post, I noted that many faculty express frustration with assessment along the following lines:
- What I most want students to learn is not what’s being assessed.
- I’m being told what and how to assess, without any input from me.
- I’m being told what to teach, without any input from me.
|Posted on March 13, 2018 at 9:50 AM||comments (9)|
In my February 28 blog post, I noted that many faculty have been expressing frustration that assessment is a waste of an enormous amount of time and resources that could be better spent on teaching. Here are some strategies to help make sure your assessment activities are meaningful and cost-effective, all drawn from the new third edition ofRead Full Post »
|Posted on March 4, 2018 at 8:05 AM||comments (0)|
The vitriol in some recent op-ed pieces and the comments that followed them might leave the impression that faculty hate assessment. Well, some faculty clearly do, but a national survey suggests that they’re in the minority.
Read Full Post »
|Posted on February 28, 2018 at 10:25 AM||comments (14)|
|Posted on February 22, 2018 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted on February 13, 2018 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
Today marks the release of the third edition of my book Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. I approached Jossey-Bass about doing a third edition in response to requests from some faculty who used it as a textbook but were required to use more recent editions. The second edition had been very successful, so I figured I’d update the refer...Read Full Post »
|Posted on January 28, 2018 at 7:25 AM||comments (0)|
A couple of years ago I did a literature review on rubrics and learned that there’s no consensus on what a rubric is. Some experts define rubrics very narrowly, as only analytic rubrics—the kind formatted as a grid, listing traits down the left side and performance levels across the top, with the boxes filled in. But others define rubrics more broadly, as written guides for evaluatin...Read Full Post »
|Posted on January 9, 2018 at 7:25 AM||comments (3)|
Just before the holidays, the Council of Graduate Schools released Articulating Learning Outcomes in Higher Education. The title is a bit of misnomer; the paper focuses not on how to articulate learning outcomes but on why it’s a good idea to articulate learning outcomes and why it might be a good idea to have a learning outcome framework such as ...Read Full Post »
|Posted on December 22, 2017 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
Virtually all U.S. accreditors (and some state agencies) require the assessment of student learning, but the specifics--what, when, how--can vary significantly. How can programs with multiple accreditations (say regional and specialized) serve two or more accreditation masters without killing themselves in the process?
I recently posted my thoughts on this on the ASSESS listserv, and a colleague asked me to make my contribution into a blog post as well.
Bot...Read Full Post »