Assessment

"For assessment to be successful, it is necessary to put aside the question, 'What’s the best possible knowledge?' and instead to ask, 'Do we have good enough knowledge to try something different that might benefit our students?'"

-Blaich, C. F., & Wise, K. S. (2011). From gathering to using assessment results: Lessons from the Wabash National Study (NILOA Occasional Paper No.8). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.


Key Definitions & Frameworks

Data sources that are useful to consider in assessing student learning are:

  1. Evidence of learning outcomes

    Direct measures of learning

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"Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance."

Angelo, T.A. (1995). Reassessing and defining assessment. AAHE Bulletin, 48(3): 149.

Designing an Assessment Plan

Key elements of an assessment plan include:

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Key Definitions & Frameworks

Curriculum

The curriculum is an “academic plan,” which should include: the purpose of the curriculum (i.e., goals for student learning), content, sequence (the order of the learning experience), instructional methods, instructional resources, evaluation approaches, and how adjustments to the plan will be made based on experience or assessment data.
(Lattuca, L. & Stark, J. (2009) Shaping the college curriculum: Academic plans in context. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.)
  • The intended curriculum is the documented, official plan -- or what faculty hope students will learn.
  • The achieved curriculum includes knowledge, skills and attitudes that are truly learned and remembered.
    (Cuban, L. (1992). Curriculum stability and change. In Jackson, Philip (Ed.) Handbook of Research on Curriculum. American Educational Research Association)

Assessment can be helpful in better understanding alignment between an intended and achieved curriculum.

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Evaluation of teaching can have many purposes, including collecting feedback for teaching improvement, developing a portfolio for job applications, or gathering data as part of personnel decisions, such as reappointment or promotion and tenure. Most of the methods described below can be used for all of these functions. In general, efforts to collect information for improvement can be informal and focus on specific areas an individual instructor wishes to develop. Information for job applications involves presenting one’s best work and meeting the requirements outlined in job ads. However, when the purpose of evaluation is personnel decision making, it is important to use a comprehensive and systematic process. Because there are many dimensions to pedagogical work, it is best to use multiple measures involving multiple sources of data to evaluate the range of instructional activities, which can include the following: Read more »

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You may also wish to browse resources related to student evaluations of teaching.

Consultation services are available to faculty, post-docs and graduate students affiliated with the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor campus.

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