IN THIS ISSUE:
Student & Faculty Assessment
UNK GS Assessment
Best Practices in Student & Faculty Assessment
Primary Research Group ISBN 157440- 183-1
The report is based on a survey of nearly 90 American and Canadian colleges. The study helps its readers to answer questions such as: How many colleges have overall college and/or departmental assessment coordinators? How are they funded and what is the level of cooperation with them? What are the most common assessment tools and tests? How much are budgets for assessment and how are these budgets spent? What role do consultants play?
Just a few findings from the report are that:
- 77.27% of the colleges sampled require their academic departments to develop an assessment plan that identifies key concepts and ideas its students should master.
- For 47.13% of the colleges sampled, the Assessment Office communicates with all or most of the academic departments through designated assessment coordinators.
- On average, the participants spent $2,375.33 paying students to take standardized tests that are primarily used within the college for purposes of aiding assessment efforts.
- While approximately 95% of the institutions surveyed use student faculty assessment questionnaires to assess most--if not all--of their faculty, 17.81% say these questionnaires have no impact on tenure decisions (including 41.18% of community colleges).
- 69.86% of the colleges surveyed maintain at least one center whose purpose is to develop faculty teaching skills. This figure is highest in research universities, where 80% have such a center
- Colleges with less than 2,500 students were the most likely to conduct exit interviews with graduating students.
The report currently is available in PDF format and print format. The price is $89.50; site licenses are also available. For a table of contents, list of participants and an excerpt, or to place an order, contact Primary Research Group at www.PrimaryResearch.com or call 212-736-2316.
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An Uncommon Approach to Common Assessment of General Education
A Webinar Presented on October 4, 2011
Jeanne Butler and Daren Snider
Academic institutions are struggling to develop and implement comprehensive General Education assessment to demonstrate student achievement of general education outcomes and, in turn, meet accreditation requirements. This webinar sponsored by TaskStream provided participants with a process for campus-wide assessment of General Education based on a common set of learning outcomes, common assignments, and an evaluation process using TaskStream and rubrics from the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).
The presenters shared guidelines for developing a multi-year process for General Education renewal that addresses issues of buy-in amongst faculty, students, and other stakeholders, and discussed how these guidelines could be used at other institutions. The presenters also shared lessons learned from their experiences implementing General Education assessment at University of Nebraska at Kearney, as well as the benefits to other institutions of implementing a common General Education assessment process to meet accreditation requirements.
Over 800 faculty and administrators from numerous academic institutions participated in the webinar. The presentation with audio can be accessed by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and requesting the presentation, or the power point can be viewed at the following site: http://www.unk.edu/uploadedFiles/academicaffairs/generalstudies/assessment/CollabExchppt%20_UNK%20updates_10.4.11_FINAL.pptx
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Twenty-First-Century Quantitative Education: Beyond Content
By Shannon W. Dingman, assistant professor of mathematics, University of Arkansas, and Bernard L. Madison, professor of mathematics, University of Arkansas
Being an informed and productive citizen in the twenty-first century is more complicated than ever before, and the educational experiences we offer to students need to reflect this complicated world in which they operate. Traditional education has long centered on content to drive learning, with the surrounding skills and processes being developed from student work with the content. However, with continuing evidence that students are not gaining the skills they need and with technology providing greater access to working with content, we must consider how traditional education can better support the development of these skills and produce students better equipped for citizenship and the workplace. This is not to suggest that content should be ignored; in fact, we must work to ensure that students possess both the knowledge and skills desired of a learned citizenry.
With the explosion of information and instant communication that is now available to the public, a statement attributed to Bell Laboratories mathematician Henry Pollak comes to mind. As computers became more powerful and ubiquitous in the latter part of the twentieth century, Pollak observed, “With technology, some mathematics becomes more important, some mathematics becomes less important, and some mathematics becomes possible.” This is especially true in the general education sector of mathematics and science education, where we work to move college students toward sound and effective quantitative reasoning (QR). How should quantitative education—and really, education as a whole—evolve to reflect the growing capabilities and demands of life in the twenty-first century?
These new possibilities have influenced the creation and implementation of a QR course we teach to hundreds of arts and humanities students each semester at the University of Arkansas. Many of these students are quantitatively phobic and are averse to technology, save that involved in rapid communication (e.g., texting and e-mailing) and retrieval of information (e.g., through Google searches). This QR course has developed over the past seven years in the dizzying environment of changing technology. For curricular materials, we use media articles as the prompts for investigation. First and foremost, the course is not organized by mathematical topics or the development of mathematical content, but rather is driven by quantitative societal issues reflected in public media (e.g., fuel efficiency, the national debt, credit card payments). Additionally, the course caters to student interests and current events, and provides a venue for continued practice beyond both the course and formalized schooling.
The full article can be accessed at:
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Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE)
Resource Room http://aalhe.org/resource-room
This Resource Room allows assessment practitioners access to the work of their assessment colleagues. Designed as an open-access resource, it permits users to post and share documents on the site that describe successful practices that they have developed for their institutions. In effect an on-line warehouse of effective best practices, the Resource Room offers assessment practitioners in need of good models easy, organized access to successful work at other institutions.
The Resource Room will eventually offer a range of examples of good work in a number of areas, from policies and plans to tools for assessment of specific outcomes. Anyone who accesses the site may post his or her work within the room by filling out a form and uploading it to the AALHE website. Because this site will be moderated, and because AALHE wants to encourage professional interaction, all who post will be required to identify themselves and their institutions, and to provide contact information. Postings will appear online within a week after initial posting.
If you wish to access the posted successful work of others, choose among the following categories. To access the following go to www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/assmt/resource.htm.
- Assessment Plans
- Assessment Policies
- Assessment Structures
- Assessment Tools
- Assessment Reporting Devices
- Internet Resources
- 2011 Conference Resources
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