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Linking Rigor and Learning Outcomes. Group 1. Defining Rigor.

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Linking Rigor and Learning Outcomes

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Linking Rigor and Learning Outcomes

Group 1


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Defining Rigor

Courses where students work hard but are not engaged in rigid or busy work. It has to involve both students and faculty in reflective engagement and problem solving. It also requires changing culture among students so that they take responsibility for signing up for rigorous courses and do not decide on courses solely because you can get a good grade.


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Assess our current understanding of linking rigor with learning outcomes

  • Describe the discipline-specific learning outcomes. These may already exist in Major Assessment Plans or Capstone Courses.

  • Measure these outcomes through assessments defined by the unit, but rigor and outcomes must be linked by looking first at the outcomes and building rigor into courses to match those outcomes


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Best Management Practices

  • Use existing outcomes defined in AccreditationorMajor Assessment Plans. These need to be authentic assessments and not just busy work.

  • These plans need to be developed to include outcomes as well as how the faculty plan to accomplish these outcomes.

  • The level of awareness among the faculty of these plans should be raised. Students and alumni should be asked to provide input into what they think in terms of managing the outcome measures. That information should be provided back to the faculty.


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Best Management Practices

  • Determine a procedure to deal with failures in accomplishing desired outcomes by both students and faculty. This would involve answering questions like:

    • How do you “do over” if students fail to meet these expectations?

    • When should this be assessed?

    • When should more coursework be recommended or faculty courses reviewed? The timing of assessment is key.

    • Best Management practices must be defined by the unit.


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Strategies for Establishing Institutional Goals

  • Backward Design.

    • First determine how you as an instructor would know if students had met your learning outcomes,

    • Work backwards to define how you would assess those outcomes

    • Determine how you would get students to achieve those outcomes.


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Strategies for Establishing Institutional Goals

II. We need to be open in terms of transparency (include on the syllabus what we expect students to be able to do).

  • Ideas:

    • Pre-approval of course syllabi so that faculty define how they plan to engage students in rigorous forms of assessing learning.

    • Faculty define how they plan to evaluate their teaching plan or style.

    • Faculty teaching the same course should coordinate syllabi.


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Strategies for Establishing Institutional Goals

3. Hold departments to accreditation or Major Assessment Plans and encourage departments to review program more frequently in light of these goals. Look at program, see what they will be doing in each course, and make the learning outcomes easy enough to understand and specifically defined by how the students will demonstrate these outcomes (operationalize).


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Strategies for Establishing Institutional Goals

4. Increase Student input into curricular decisions.


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Strategies for Establishing Institutional Goals

5. Institute Peer-Mentoring: between a senior and junior faculty member.

  • Must be non-punitive, not tied to evaluation for tenure, but rather to improvement of instruction

  • Needs to be reciprocal. With both the senior and junior member of the pair evaluating each other.

  • CTL could play a role in institutionalizing this process?

  • We might be able to tap into emeritus faculty or the teaching academy should do it.We should remember the value of having someone outside your discipline evaluate your teaching.

  • Peer consultation teams to provide support when requested either voluntarily or as an intervention.


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Group Members

  • Alison AlexanderBob Boehmer

  • Peggy BrickmanChristopher Cook

  • Angela FertigAnne Glass

  • Jan HathcoteTracie Jenkins

  • Kathy KeenanAmie Koenig

  • Denise LewisDenise Mewborn

  • David SmildeMatt Suber


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