Harnessing Faculty Power with Better Outcomes Assessment
In today’s higher education environment, faculty regularly find themselves being pulled in more directions than ever. No longer debating whether they should be a sage on the stage or a guide by their students’ side, faculty now are asked to think about their roles in admissions, retention, graduation rates, and student success. Beyond the long-standing faculty triad of teaching, research, and service, the all-hands-on-deck approach to finding students, keeping them enrolled, and then assuring...
Your General Education Program: Is It Time for a Redesign? Part 2
In a previous post, I wrote about how to assess your general education program. After you’ve gathered data on your current program, you can make decisions about what you have, what you need, and what you’d like to change. You can also determine if you really need to redesign your program with new goals and a different structure, or simply rebrand and reintroduce it to campus. Whichever way you go, there are a few things that are essential to consider.
Moving Away from the Course Evaluation Numbers Game
Is your course evaluation data being used to develop or to evaluate your faculty? That was the key question in my recent conversation with Ken Ryalls, PhD, President of IDEA. In episode 4 of our Data in Higher Education podcast, the two of us discussed a global approach to assessing teaching and learning in order to foster classroom engagement, risk taking, and innovation.
Create Meaningful, Measurable, and Manageable Outcomes
When designing learning outcomes, clarity is key. Clear learning outcomes answer the ‘why’ behind your courses and programs. They confirm what your campus is all about. It’s therefore important to clarify intentions, articulate expectations for student success, and understand how your outcomes will be measured. Clear learning outcomes inspire greater contributions to the big picture and support program review, accreditation, and general education programs.
Tell and Show: Demonstrating the Value of Formative Assessment Across the Institution
In Give and Take: Finding the Value in Classroom Feedback, I made a case for the value of formative assessment data in the development of teaching and learning. My personal point of view about classroom feedback is steeped in my own experience and my individual philosophy of education. When I’m donning my Campus Labs consultant hat and working with campuses across the United States, however, my classroom experience fades into the distance. I focus instead on the reality of helping institution...
Advancing Innovation of Teaching and Learning with a More Holistic Approach
In our fourth episode, JD White, PhD, talks with Ken Ryalls, PhD, about shifting the paradigm for teaching and learning. Most current approaches, for instance, emphasize using course evaluations to evaluate a faculty member instead of focusing on professional development to improve instruction methods. Ken advocates a holistic system that neither ignores nor overemphasizes student feedback, and rewards classroom engagement, improved teaching, healthy risk-taking, and a pursuit of innovation. ...
Make Rubrics a Best Practice at Your Institution
A well-designed rubric is an indispensable tool in learning assessment. Academic and student affairs leaders are increasingly using rubrics to provide a shared language for learning and a systematic approach to capturing rich learning data. Rubrics are a scalable assessment method that can be used by anyone – instructors, advisors, programs, departments, colleges, and entire institutions – to better understand student success and uncover opportunities to improve.
Your General Education Program: Is It Time for a Redesign? Part 1
We are revisiting our general education program is a common refrain heard during my visits with campuses. I also hear these words when I'm working with fellow assessment colleagues. It's not surprising, given recent trends. The 2016 AACU publication Recent Trends in General Education Design, Learning Outcomes, and Teaching Approaches reported more than 55 percent of their member institutions are prioritizing general education. Conversations about higher education are increasingly foc...
Give and Take: Finding the Value in Classroom Feedback
Picture yourself as an undergraduate student. Alright, maybe that was another time and place. But try to remember what it felt like to be a learner in a college environment, and give yourself the full sensory experience. Enjoy the feel of a desk under your arms, the sounds of typing in a lecture hall or pens scratching against paper in a lab. Relish in the heat of an early fall semester afternoon on the fourth floor of an academic building, or the chill of a February morning and a paper cup o...
More Is More: Multiple Measures for Better Assessment
What if in order to receive your driver’s license, all you needed to do was pass a written test? The road would be a very dangerous place. Personally, I feel much better knowing that the driver in the next lane went through multiple measures (a written test, driver education course, required minimum hours of driving experience...
Easy Isn’t Enough: Making the Assessment Process Meaningful
Friday is trash day at my house. Every Thursday evening, I break down the recycling, fill the cans, and roll them down to the end of my driveway. It's easy because someone gave me the cans, put wheels on them, and promised to stop by every Friday morning and take it all away. But I don't put the trash out just because someone made the process easy for me. I do it because I want a clean home.
A New Outlook on Outcomes
In our second episode, JD White, Ph.D., talks with Shannon LaCount, Ed.D., Director of Campus Success, about the value of a thoughtfully considered assessment approach. Shannon presents the concept of learning outcomes assessment as so much more than an administrative task. When structured effectively, assessment can clearly demonstrate if, and how well, students have learned– and why this matters. Previously the Director of Student Learning Assessment at the University of Minnesota Duluth, S...
Learn from Your Outcomes
Student learning outcomes are an important data set that must be incorporated into an institution’s educational intelligence ecosystem. Simply linking outcomes to courses and departments is not enough to drive the level of progress needed to transform institutions. What’s needed is a change in how student learning outcomes are perceived, how instructive data is used, and who is given access to it. Only then will institutions truly be able to gain valuable insights for faculty, learners, and l...