Course Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes. Danielle Mihram, Ph.D. Distinguished Faculty Fellow USC Center for Excellence in Teaching firstname.lastname@example.org. Course Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes Our Goals for this Session.
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Danielle Mihram, Ph.D.
Distinguished Faculty Fellow
USC Center for Excellence in Teaching
Course and classroom assessment techniques range from simple to complex strategies to motivate and engage students while collecting feedback on their learning.
At the end of this workshop instructors should be prepared to:
Huba, M. E. & Freed, J. E. (2000). Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses - Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.One Definition of Assessment in Education
Three types, each with a very different focus:
Our focus today: Course and classroom assessments
General objectives: A course objective is a simple statement of what you expect your students to know.
What your students will learn within the content of a body of knowledge
N.B.: Students’ understanding of the task and their achievement will be maximized if both the achievement criteria and the learning outcome(s) are shared with them prior to the lesson
These criteria need to be the main focus of the feedback given to students
2. Develop or select assessment measures
3. Create experiences leading to outcomes
4. Discuss and use assessment results to improve learning
Art History - Survey II
Systematic collection and analysis of information to improve educational practice
Method for understanding student learning
Based on the belief that the more you know about what your students know and how they learn, the better you can plan your learning activities and structure your teaching
Angelo, Th. A. & K. P. Cross (1993) Classroom Assessment Techniques. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (2nd ed.)Classroom Assessment Techniques
2. Muddiest Point: Remarkably efficient, since it provides a high information return for a very low investment of time and energy.
3. One sentence summary: This simple technique challenges students to answer the questions "Who does what to whom, when, where, how, and why?" about a given topic, and then to synthesize those answers into a simple informative, grammatical, and long summary sentence.
(All three techniques provide useful cumulated information if you have a course wiki or blog)
From the National Teaching and Learning Forum
From Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
From Honolulu Community College.
From the Field-Tested Learning Assessment Guide (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math)
From Robert L. Harrold (Assessing Problem-Solving Skills) http://www.ndsu.nodak.edu/ndsu/marmcdon/assessment/assessment_techniques/problem_solving_skills.htm
The answer: For most courses: Critical thinking and problem solving
From the perspective of cognitive psychologists three types of knowledge interact in the process of thinking critically and solving ill-defined problems:
Kurfiss, J. G. (1988). Critical thinking: Theory, research, practice, and possibilities. (ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report No. 2). College Station, TX: Association for the Study of Higher Education.
Is carried out at intervals when achievement has to be summarized and reported
Looks at past achievements
Adds procedures or tests to existing work
Involves only grading and feedback of grades to students
Is separated from the act of teaching
Informal: carried out frequently and is planned at the same time as teaching
Provides interactive and timely feedback and response: which leads to students recognizing the (learning) gap and closing it (it is forward-looking)
In addition to feedback, includes self-monitoring
Fosters life-long learning: It is empirically argued that it has the greatest impact on learning and achievementSummative and Formative Assessment
Designed in such a way that the questions, conditions for administering, scoring procedures, and interpretations are consistent
Multiple-choice and true-false questions (can be tested inexpensively and quickly by scoring special answer sheets by computer or via computer-adaptive testing. )
Short-answer or essay writing components that are assigned a score by independent evaluators.
Can be graded by evaluators who use rubrics [rules or guidelines] and anchor papers [examples of papers for each possible score] to determine the grade to be given to a response.
Are not prescriptive
Give capsulated view of a student’s learning
Used in conjunction with performance-based assessment
Popham, J. (1999). Why standardized tests don’t measure educational quality. Educational Leadership, 56(6), 8-15.Summative Assessment: Standardized Tests
A selective list …
Paper/thesis; written composition
Project (including group projects [collaborative learning])
Development of a product
Community-based experience (service learning)
Case study / Critical incident
Oral exam or presentation
3. What metacognitive knowledge [e.g., setting goals, determining when additional information is needed, and assessing the fruitfulness of a line of inquiry] do I expect student to develop and reveal?
7. Which assessment format will work best for this task?
8. What criteria should my students and I use in shaping and critiquing student work?
9. In view of 8, and if necessary, how can I improve the task so as to reflect more clearly the characteristics of an exemplary assessment task?
Valid Yields useful information to guide learning
Coherent Is structured so that activities lead to desired performance product
Authentic Addresses ill-defined problems/issues that are enduring or emerging
Rigorous Requires use of declarative, procedural, and metacognitive knowledge
Engaging Provokes student interest and persistence
Challenging Provokes, as well as evaluates, student learning
Respectful Allows students to reveal their uniqueness as learners
Responsive Provides feedback to students leading to improvement
As applied to assessment of student work:
[a rubric] “explains to students the criteria against which their work will be judged (the “scoring rules”).
It makes public key criteria that students can use in developing, revising, and judging their own work
-What criteria or essential elements must be present in the student’s work to ensure that it is high in quality?
-How many levels of achievement do I wish to illustrate for students?
For each criterion or essential element of quality, what is a clear description of performance at each achievement level?
-What are the consequences of performing at each level of quality?
-What rating scheme will I use in the rubric?
-When I use the rubric, what aspects work well and what aspects need improvement?
-Include these as rows in your rubric
-Include these as columns in your rubric and label them
-Include descriptions in the appropriate cells of the rubric
-Add descriptions of consequences to the commentaries in the rubric
-Add this to the rubric in a way that fits in with your grading philosophy
-Revise the rubric accordinglyDeveloping Useful Rubrics for Specific Assessments
Rubrics by Subject
In addition to providing rubrics for assessment …
Takes more responsibility for their learning
Works independently without continually relying on instructor’s direction
Looks at success criteria and talk about how and why they have met them
For the Instructor
Lets go of his/her total control of the students’ learning
Becomes better at sharing learning goals and success criteria
Focuses on providing feedback to students and “looking ahead” techniques
Spends less time recording assessment data by taking into account the students’ self and peer assessmentsEncouraging Active and Intentional Learning: From a Teaching to a Learning Environment
Pregent, Richard (2000). Charting your course: How to teach more effectively. Madison, Wisc.: Atwood (Fig. 9.2.1)
Ask each student to respond in writing to the following questions:
An analysis of the students comments about their learning and expectations provides:
Teaching and Learning Resources on the website of the USC Center for Excellence in Teaching:
Assessment of Teaching & Learning
Bibliography on Assessment - See Handout