|Posted on June 8, 2019 at 6:25 AM||comments (0)|
I have the honor of serving as one of the faculty of this year's Mission Fulfillment Fellowship of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). One of the readings that’s resonated most with the Fellows is Equity and Assessment: Moving Towards Culturally Responsive Assessment by Erick Montenegro and Natasha Jankowski.
A number of the themes of thi...Read Full Post »
|Posted on May 10, 2019 at 8:50 AM||comments (4)|
A recent question posted to the ASSESS listserv led to a lively discussion of direct vs. indirect evidence of student learning, including what they are and the merits of each.
I really hate jargon, and “direct” and “indirect” is right at the top of my list of jargon I hate. A few years ago I did a little poking around to try to figure out who came up with these terms. The earliest reference I could find was in a government regulation. That makes sense...Read Full Post »
|Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:00 AM||comments (3)|
Another week, another critique of assessment, this one at the Academic Resource Conference of the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
The fundamental issue is that, more than a quarter century into the higher ed assessment movement, we still aren’t doing assessment very well. So this may be a good time to reconsid...Read Full Post »
|Posted on March 27, 2019 at 5:40 AM||comments (1)|
Burning Glass Technology recently released a report on a study of skills that employers included in online job postings in over 50,000 online job boards, newspapers, and employer websites.
Before I get to the meat of their findings, an important caveat: While 50,000 online employment sites sound impressive, they’re clearly not representative of all jobs sought and f...Read Full Post »
|Posted on February 23, 2019 at 5:55 AM||comments (4)|
Curriculum maps have become trendy in the last few years. They’ve built into some commercial assessment management systems. But to some faculty they’re simply one more pointless chore to be completed. Why bother creating a curriculum map?
First, what is a curriculum map? It’s a simple chart identifying the key learning goals addressed in each of the curriculum’s key elements or learning activities. A curriculum map for an academic program identifies t...Read Full Post »
|Posted on January 31, 2019 at 7:45 AM||comments (5)|
Last year was not one of the best for higher ed assessment. A couple of very negative opinion pieces got a lot of traction among higher ed people who had been wanting to say, “See? Assessment is really as stupid and pointless as I’ve always thought it was.” At some American universities, this was a major setback on assessment progress.
The higher ed assessment community came together quickly with aRead Full Post »
|Posted on January 16, 2019 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
A recent discussion on the ACCSHE listserv reminded me that setting meaningful benchmarks or standards for student learning assessments remains a real challenge. About three years ago, I wrote a blog post on setting benchmarks or standards for rubrics. Let’s revisit that and expand the concepts to assessments beyond rubrics.
The first challen...Read Full Post »
|Posted on December 19, 2018 at 10:55 AM||comments (1)|
One of my treats this time of year is getting the latest annual report from the National Survey of Student Engagement. I’m an enormous fan of this survey. One reason is that it’s research-based: the questions are all about practices that research has shown help students learn and succeed. Another is that, because the questions mostly ask about specific experiences rather than satisfaction, the results are “actionable”: they make clear what institutions need to do to im...Read Full Post »
|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 (3)|
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 (6)|
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.