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Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment. Harriet R. Fayne, Ph.D. Otterbein College Westerville, Ohio. Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment.

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professional learning communities taking the angst out of general education assessment
Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment

Harriet R. Fayne, Ph.D.

Otterbein College

Westerville, Ohio

professional learning communities taking the angst out of general education assessment2
Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment

This roundtable will highlight Otterbein’s formation of a professional learning community focused on the assessment of general education. Four years of success with teaching and learning communities prompted Otterbein’s assessment committee to adapt this model to focus on college-wide outcomes assessment.

Our professional learning communities (PLCs) are made up of faculty, administrators, staff, and, in some cases, students. Generally we hope that PLCs will allow individuals to transcend disciplinary and/or status boundaries, reflect on their own practices, and collect evidence to inform decisions. During the roundtable, we will talk a bit about how the assessment learning community is working at Otterbein and encourage others to think about the potential of this type of change structure for their campuses.

what makes a learning community work
Challenge

Mutual support

Strong facilitation

Commitment on the part of members

Cultivation of atmosphere/collegiality

Clear structures for meetings

Nature of the “space” for meetings (off campus, if possible)

Regularity of meetings

Inquiry orientation

Projects/outcomes shared in process

What makes a learning community work?
professional learning community project at otterbein college 2003 present
Professional Learning Community Project at Otterbein College, 2003-present
  • “Professional” learning communities (PLCs) because they include non-faculty members
  • Cohort- and topic-based
    • 6 new faculty learning communities
    • 7 topical learning communities:
      • Service Learning
      • Diversity
      • Undergraduate Research
      • Scholarship of Teaching and Learning-SoTL (3 years)
      • First Generation College Students
      • Greater Expectations
      • General Education Outcomes
general education outcomes geo learning community
General Education Outcomes (GEO) Learning Community

Membership: Niki Fayne, Assessment Fellow and Education Faculty; Leslie Ortquist-Ahrens, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning; Mary Gahbauer,Chair, Assessment Committee and Life Science Faculty; Alison

Prindle, English Faculty; Regina Kengla, Academic Support Center Writing

Faculty; Amy Jessen-Marshall, future Chair, Integrative Studies Program and Life Science Faculty; Kate Porubcansky,

Asst. Dean/Director of Center for Student Involvement; Terry Contenza, Math Faculty;

Susan Thompson, Math Dept. Chair; Doris Ebbert, Librarian; Rick Mosholder, OSU Doctoral Candidate, Preparing Future Faculty Participant

Meetings:Regular 90 minutes meetings scheduled every other week during the three academic quarters; two day-long meetings during winter and spring breaks.

Core Readings: Maki, P.L. (2004) Assessing for Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing and the following AAC&U

Monographs: The Art and Science of Assessing General Education Outcomes,Advancing Liberal Education: Assessment

Practices on Campus; General Education: A Self-Study Guide for Review and Assessment

Conferences Attended:2006 Assessment Institute at IUPUI, “Writing Across the Curriculum”

at Quinnipiac U, and AAC&U Assessment Conference in Miami

Blackboard Site:Announcements, Minutes, Readings, and Discussion Board

general education outcomes
General Education Outcomes
  • How does Otterbein “add value”? Do we add more value in some areas than in others?
  • Are there students for whom we add more value than for others? If so, who are our greatest success stories? Who are our greatest challenges?
two key questions
Two Key Questions
  • Does our core curriculum meet Otterbein’s aspirations (i.e. help to realize the mission of the College)?
  • Do students achieve the targets that have been established?
operating assumptions
Operating Assumptions
  • Assessment is not an end in itself.
  • Don’t test what you can’t change.
  • The focus of assessment is on improving instruction. Use the data that you collect.
  • Faculty buy-in is essential to the success of any assessment effort. Data collected must have face validity and be easy to translate into teaching practices.
progress to date
Progress to Date
  • Value-Added Framework
  • Locally Developed Assessment Strategies
  • Consideration of Norm-Referenced Assessments
locally developed assessment strategies reading writing
Locally Developed Assessment Strategies: Reading/Writing

Writing prompt developed based on Common Book; administered

in freshman level INST Comp and Lit sections

Rubric, based originally on ACT Writing Rubric, refined after pilot testing by

GEO; now addresses key Information Literacy standards and

acknowledges the relationship between reading and writing

Over 100 essays will be graded using the revised rubric by 10 INST

instructors during spring break, 2007

17 essays written during 2005-2006 will be re-graded using the rubric; the

student authors, currently in INST 270, will submit compare/contrast

essays. A GEO subgroup will be attempting to determine whether or not the rubric

is a sensitive measure of growth from freshman to sophomore year

locally developed assessment strategies quantitative literacy
Locally Developed Assessment Strategies: Quantitative Literacy

GEO members participated in answering and deconstructing QL

items.

GEO members read material about QL Standards

GEO members reviewed QL course syllabi at two other institutions

QL rubric drafted

Goal: Use rubric with embedded items in Integrative Studies sophomore level science courses and again in junior/senior level Integrative Studies science courses

locally developed assessment strategies information literacy
Locally Developed Assessment Strategies: Information Literacy

Review of three years of data: locally prepared skills test

administered to freshmen. What does the data reveal?

Review of research on IL Standards

Selected IL Standards integrated into GEO Reading/Writing Rubric

Proposed consultation model: Library liaisons work with

departments on integrating additional IL standards in major

Courses (upper level courses)

consideration of norm referenced assessments
Consideration of Norm-Referenced Assessments
  • Web Conference: Introduction to CAE
  • ACT CAAP Guide Distributed
  • Overarching Question: Would the campus community find the results of an external assessment useful? Would test results have an impact on curriculum or instruction?
the future
The Future
  • Course-embedded assessments in Integrative Studies Courses (general education core)
  • Exploring how Senior Year Experience courses can contribute to outcomes assessment
  • Role of Academic Departments: Consideration of W, Q, IL designated courses
  • An Exit e-Portfolio for All Graduates?