Best Practices in Course-Embedded Assessment

April 27, 2008

We’re just finishing up three day’s at NC State’s Assessment Symposium. 500 educators from around the USA have come together to talk about student learning, “closing the loop,” and accreditation.

Many of the sessions are focused not just on data-gathering, but on teaching and learning. A number of attendees have talked about the change they’ve seen since even last year: a focus on bringing assessment into the process of teaching (!). That is, avoiding the mad dash to develop data just for accreditation that often results in two databases of student learning outcomes. One presenter said that on her campus administrators referred to the “shadow database,” which reminded me of a business owner keeping two sets of books – one for the IRS and one for the real world.

We gave a 60 minute presentation on best practices in course-embedded assessment. We must have had at least 50 people in attendance…not to learn about Waypoint as much as to gain insight into how schools execute.

I spoke in three general areas:

  1. Getting faculty help with the challenges of formal assessment
  2. “Closing the loop” – using data to inform changes in curricula
  3. Using a sampling approach to gather data quickly and efficiently for benchmarking purposes

Getting faculty help with the challenges of formal assessment:

We increasingly talk to senior administrators about the need to look at authentic assessment and course-embedded assessment as more than a challenge in software training. This work is not about clicking the right buttons in Blackboard or Waypoint. Read the rest of this entry »