An Assessment Overview. VAG Workshop 2007 Presented by Dr. Barbara Boothe Liberty University. I. What Is The Assessment of Learning?. Assessment is a REFORM MOVEMENT!. History. Accountability movement began in 1970’s. 1973-1983—widespread dissatisfaction.
VAG Workshop 2007
Presented by Dr. Barbara Boothe
Both the external audiences and internal participants of higher education are interested in answers to the same questions: Is college helping students? Is it increasing what they know and can do?”
Banta and Associates, 1993
Assessment is the ongoing process of:
“Counseling skills will be introduced in the sophomore year and reinforced in a senior course.”
“This assignment did help students learn effective counseling skills.”
-They are able to collect far more relevant information from the clients.
“This course does enable students to integrate theory with practice.”
“Is doing assessment really the best use of my time and energy?”
1. Develop measurable learning outcomes for courses
2. Develop measurable learning outcomes for programs
3. Create assignments and other strategies to assess learning
4. Analyze the results in light of learning as the whole
5. Initiate changes as indicated by the assessment
1. Transparent communication and decision processes
2. Base strategic planning and budget planning on assessment
3. Be consistent
1. Assist and facilitate training of faculty in the assessment of learning
2. Summarize data as requested for strategic planning and budget planning
1. Start with important questions
2. Focus on things you can improve
3. Plan, but be flexible and willing to adapt as you learn
4. Start small
5. Build in success from the start
6. Get students, faculty, and others actively involved
7. Set limits on time and effort you’ll invest
8. Collaborate with others who share your concerns
9. Remember that assessment may be new to many of your students and colleagues
10. Enjoy experimentation and risk taking, not success
-Peter Ewell—2005 Assessment Institute
There is still no standard language for assessment terms.
Until there is more consensus, align with definitions from SACS, disciplinary accreditors, and your own institution.
GOAL: What an individual, project/program, or organization aims to achieve. Your destination, not your path.
Example: Help students write better
LEARNING OUTCOME: Learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits of mind that students’gain from a learning experience.
Example: Write with clarity, unity, coherence,
OBJECTIVE: The detailed aspects of goals; the tasks to be accomplished to achieve the goal, the means to the end; the process leading to the outcome.
Example: Explain why each planet except Earth cannot support human life.
BEHAVIORAL OBJECTIVE: A clear and unambiguous description of the educational expectations for students using concrete action words.
It is a statement of the intended outcome of instruction
NOT the process of instruction itself.
A verb that describes an observable action
A description of the conditions under which the student is expected to act
Ask yourself, “What would a student have to do to convince me that he/she is where I want him/her to be at the end of this lesson, unit, or course?”
Keep goals in mind
Toss the outcomes that do not relate to goals
Use the stem, “Students will be able to. . .”
Use words that describe observable behaviors
Make sure you write outcomes at a variety of levels.
Course-Related/Course Connected or Embedded
Locally Developed Test
Embedded Test Items
Assessment strategies are the means by which a department will gather the evidence to determine whether the learning outcomes are being achieved.
Structured, pre-determined response options that can be summarized into meaningful numbers and analyzed statistically
Some audiences find quantitative results more convincing
Flexible, naturalistic methods that are usually analyzed by looking for recurring patterns and themes
Often underused, underappreciated
Can give fresh insight and help discover problems and solutionsTypes of Assessment Strategies
Have been around for a long time
Usually controlled, timed exam setting
“Blue book” essay questions
Ask students to demonstrate skills
If “real life” tasks, are called authentic
Term papersTypes of Assessment Strategies
Tangible, visible, self-explanatory
Scores and pass rates on licensure / certification exams
Portfolios of student work
Signs, indicators, less convincing
Student / alumni satisfaction with learning
Honors, awards, and scholarshipsTypes of Evidence
Grading standards may be vague or inconsistent (or, at best, idiosyncratic)
Grades alone may give insufficient information on student strengths and weaknesses
Grades do not reflect all learning experiences (whole curriculum)Grading vs. Assessment
Source: Redesigning Higher Education by Lion Gardiner
IF THE FACTORS THAT COUNT FOR SCORING ARE EXPLICIT FROM THE OUTSET
Students need not only to know HOW to perform, but also WHEN to perform and HOW TO CHANGE the performance to fit new and different situations.
3.Non-routine problems involve creative problem solving, critical thinking, and an innovative approach to the synthesis of ideas.
4. Open-ended questions probe students’ ability to confront an unusual situation by applying a collection of strategies and ideas.
5. Student-generated questions are formulated and written for other students and the teacher to solve.
6. Performance tasks consist of real-world problems that employ useful, meaningful applications for students to tackle.
7. Portfolios are a collection of student work over time used to demonstrate overall improvement.
8. Presentations, single or group, explain ideas and information to others.
9. Research projects require students to find information not readily available in the classroom and to draw their own conclusion about implications.
Source: Appalachia Educational Laboratory (1993). Alternative assessments I math and science: Moving toward a moving target. Charleston, WV: Author.
4. Check your assessment methods against your goals.
5. Some goals (values, motivation, attitudes, some skills) may not be measurable by conventional tests.
6. Assessment is not synonymous with testing.
McKeachie’s Teaching Tips, by Wilbert J. McKeachie