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 »

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Outcomes: LVAIC 2007

August 1, 2007

We spoke at the Lehigh Valley Technology in the Classroom Symposium today.

Higher education institutions from the Lehigh Valley (in and around Allentown, PA – about an hour north of Philadelphia) gathered to share approaches to common challenges, immerse themselves in some of the latest and greatest things going on in ed tech, and relax their way through a very hot PA summer day.

It was a calm and pleasant way to spend some time getting to know some new schools, talk to the Tablet PC wizzes from Gateway, and talk about everybody’s favorite subject, outcomes.

We got the coveted just-before-lunch time slot, just after a very compelling Beth Ritter-Guth described her amazing uses of Second Life to immerse students in the literary worlds of Beowulf, Edgar Allen Poe, and Dante. Tough act to follow. Now if some foundation would just throw a couple of million bucks into making a totally immersing, photo-realistic Yoknapatawpha County.

Read the rest of this entry »