Monday, October 01, 2007

Assessment from the Ground Up

Thanks to Jonathon Dresner for pointing to this article during his commentary on the Cliopatria blog.

ncouraging Assessment From the Ground Up

By Donna Engelmann

In this space last month, I wrote about how assessment from the ground up means that accountability for colleges and universities ought to flow from the improvement of student learning and not the other way around. In the responses to that article, and in the work that my colleagues at Alverno College have done with other institutions over the last three decades, a compelling question arises: How can we encourage one another as faculty to engage in assessment that will work for our students and for us, and not just be a bureaucratic chore?

Under pressure from accreditors and others, just about every college and university has declared that it has some form of measuring learning. But we also know that assessment data are gathering dust in file cabinets around the country, and that learning outcomes have gone into syllabi and quietly died. But when this has not been the case, when faculty have embraced assessment as central to their teaching, what has made the difference? How and why have faculty tied learning activities and assessment to course outcomes so that students themselves see achieving the outcomes as essential to success in a course or program?

My Alverno colleagues have conducted workshops on the improvement of teaching and assessing at colleges and universities in every state in the union and around the globe. And we have hosted a summer teaching and assessment workshop at the college for over 30 years. Our goal has been to share how assessing students’ performance has improved learning, and has provided us with evidence to document progress in individual student learning and the effectiveness of the curriculum as a whole.

Read more here.

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