Feeling Good About Assessment


I am a big fan of big-band jazz and I love the song “Feeling Good” – the lyrics include the phrase “It’s a new dawn, it’s new day, it’s a new life for me.  And I’m feeling good!”    Well it’s a new year, 2015, a new semester, a new conference, and I’m feeling good about the line-up that we have set-up for the 5th Regional Assessment Conference hosted this year by Johnson County Community College on April 20, 2015. Let’s start with this year’s keynote.  Dr. Tom Angelo’s keynote for the conference is “Seven Levers for Higher and Deeper Learning: Research-Based Guidelines and Strategies for Improving Teaching, Assessment and Learning.”   Just the opportunity to hear more from Dr. Angelo breathes new life into my teaching and assessment strategies.  I had the opportunity this past summer to attend one of his workshops and was impressed to find a great blend of Continue reading

Professional Development – A Plethora of Opportunities

Definition of Professional Development – “the process of obtaining the skills, qualifications, and experience that allow you to make progress in your career.” (Macmillan Dictionary, 2014) Looking ahead over the next several months at JCCC, I find the opportunities for faculty development in the assessment of student learning remarkable in both breadth and depth. Leading off the new academic semester in January, the Office of Outcomes Assessment (OOA) will host a workshop that was piloted last summer. Assessment by Design – Comprehensive Overview, is a day-long, hands-on workshop which provides participants with an interactive and theoretical framework for addressing the assessment needs of their courses or programs. Come to this workshop as an individual faculty member working on assessing student learning in your courses, or bring your colleagues to address assessment initiatives for your program. During Professional Development Days, find your development opportunity in sessions such as: “Hits and Misses” Continue reading

Assessment More than Numbers

Assessment – More than Numbers From my first forays into assessment work, I heard colleagues assert that assessing student learning is the responsibility of faculty with the goal of improving student outcomes.  I agree wholeheartedly with the statement, but then encountered examples of assessment processes that seemed to be driven more by the need to satisfy accreditors, state agencies, or other external bodies, all of which seemed ill-suited to foster faculty interest and involvement in assessment.  While I believe that Institutional Research or Assessment offices are colleagues that partner with faculty to assist, the actual work of assessment belongs to faculty and processes of assessment within institutions should be constructed in a way to ensure faculty ownership and use of assessment results.   At Johnson County Community College we have found that using the cycle of assessment provides a theoretical and practical framework to engage faculty in authentic assessment activities. What Continue reading

OOA Over the Summer…

Over the summer – We were still busy in the Office of Outcomes Assessment… The OOA hosted a faculty workshop with Dr. Tom Angelo, on “CATs and COLTs: Classroom Learning Techniques and Collaborative Learning Techniques.” Dr. Angelo has consulted on teaching, assessment and learning improvement in 17 countries and throughout the United States for more than 60 higher education associations/systems and more than 250 postsecondary institutions. Internationally, Tom has been awarded fellowships from the Fulbright Program (Italy), the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Portugal), the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (Australia) and the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia. He has authored or co-authored five books and more than thirty-five articles and chapters. His best-known publication is Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd Edition, with more than 100,000 copies in print. The truly great news is he is coming back to JCCC in Continue reading

Excellence in Outcomes Assessment Award Winners

Congratulations to our Winners! Patty Titus, Jane Zaccardi, David Luoma, Ginny Radom, Connie Reischman  “To ensure that our students are prepared to meet the challenges of the future, we are committed to continuous program improvement.”  This attitude is the defining feature of the team that will receive the Excellence in Outcomes Assessment award for 2013-14.   Their project looked at the students’ ability to collaborate respectfully as part of an emphasis on professionalism for their practical nursing students.  Key components of the project included curriculum mapping to identify objectives specific to their project, a qualitative survey, and a faculty-designed rubric to evaluate aspects of professionalism during clinical practicum and simulation experiences. The most crucial component of the assessment work involved the changes that the project brought to the practical nursing curriculum.  Some of the changes that were made based on the data include the use of behavioral objectives regarding professionalism that Continue reading

Reporting Assessment Data

Reporting & Using Assessment Results   Assessment results are meant to improve teaching and learning as well as inform planning and decision making. Results of assessment activities can highlight successes such as:  better alignment of the curriculum with desired outcomes; creation of useful rubrics; development of explicit standards and corresponding samples of student work; evidence that students are meeting or exceeding learning expectations. Elements to include in an Assessment Report   Things to consider The outcome(s) that was addressed. Is this a department/course level or general education assessment? The type of data that was collected and the timeframe for collection. Was this a pilot or department wide assessment? Was the data collected in Fall or Spring semester or over the course of the academic year?  If sampling was used, how was the sample collected? Who submitted data How many students were used? How were they selected? How was the student Continue reading

Does this Rubric Make my Assessment look big?

Does this Rubric Make My Assessment Look Big?  In my office, rubrics are frequently a topic of conversation.  Usually I am meeting with a faculty member, or a department chair about an assessment planned for the coming semester.  The conversation usually comes around to needing a rubric to evaluate a student performance.  So in this article I am sharing the basics about rubrics.  Something to get you started if you are currently a non-rubric user, or if you want to improve the rubrics you currently use.   Rubrics at their most basic are a tool used by faculty to help in the task of assessing student learning.  Rubrics can be holistic or analytic, general or task specific.  Rubrics can assist faculty in assigning grades, or can be used for collecting assessment data.  Holistic vs. analytic Rubrics  Holistic rubrics provide a single score based on the overall performance of a student on Continue reading