Linking assignments with course and program goals Lehman College Assessment Council and Lehman Teaching and Learning Commons November 28, 2012 - 3:30 - 5:30 pm
Agenda • Opening Remarks – Salita Bryant Ray Galinski • Overview of Gen Ed assessment – V. Prohaska • Ice Breaker exercise – G. Foster • Small Group Analysis of Individual Assignments • Debrief – G. Foster & V. Prohaska • Wrap-up and announcements
Intro: Where we are in Assessment Cycle? 1.Devising Program Learning Goals 2. Mapping Learning Opportunities 3. Assessing Program Learning Goals / Objectives 4. Devising Course Objectives 5. Designing Effective Assignments 6. Summarizing and Analyzing Results 7. Discussion of Outcomes 8. Using Results to Improve Student Learning
Program / Course / Assignment Linkage Program Goals Program Objectives (ELO) / Accreditation Standards Course Objectives Course Assignments Learning Outcomes Grades
Designing Effective Assignments Consider: 1. What do you want students to learn or understand? 2. What do you want students to be able to be able to eventually do? 3. Is material a stepping-stone to more difficult levels of work or is it reinforcing previously learned concepts? 4. Consider students and what their challenges and strengths may be. What might you need to teach beforehand? Is it feasible Consider your Considerations: 5. Where does the material fit into the overall arc of your course as a whole? 6. What course objectives might this material achieve. 7. What is it that you are valuing? Why does this material matter to you?
Designing Effective Assignments Construct: Construct assignments based on the above considerations. Should it be low stakes or high stakes? Will it be qualitative (descriptive/analytical) or quantitative (measurable/numerical)? Is there a sequence of assignments or a single manageable assignment, (i.e. would a series of assignments on the same material be more effective to reach your goals)? Construct assignments that both teach and test. Be explicit with assignment directions and weight of assignments.
Overview of Gen Ed Assessment 2011-2012 Core Fluencies Basic to all coursework in the Gen Ed Curriculum
Overview of Gen Ed Assessment 2011-2012 Fluency: Communication and Language Objective 1: demonstrate skillful use of high-quality, credible, relevant sources to develop ideas that are appropriate for the discipline and genre of the writing Objective 2: use graceful language that skillfully communicates meaning to readers with clarity and fluency and is virtually error-free
Overview of Gen Ed Assessment 2011-2012 Fluency: Critical and Analytical Objective 1: provide conclusions and related outcomes (consequences and implications) that are logical and reflect the student’s informed evaluation and ability to place evidence and perspectives discussed in priority order Objective 2: independently create wholes out of multiple parts (synthesize) or draw conclusions by combining examples, facts, or theories from more than one field of study or perspective
Overview of Gen Ed Assessment 2011-2012 Design Half of all LEH 300 and LEH 301 courses during fall 2011. 1 assignment that reflected one objective (N = 23) Work of 8 randomly-selected students (N = 190) 15 faculty volunteers reviewed assignments and student work Used AAC&U rubrics to review student work
Overview of Gen Ed Assessment 2011-2012 Design “For each assignment, please indicate your feeling as to how well the assignment addressed the specific learning objective.” Reviewers used a scale in which: 4 = Excellent, 3 = Good, 2 = Okay, 1 = Poor.
Overview of Gen Ed Assessment 2011-2012 Results Average rating = 2.7 (between “okay” and “good,” closer to “good”) 35% (8/23) of the assignments were rated as “excellent” 17% (4/23) of the assignments were rated as “good” 30% (7/23) of the assignments were rated as “okay” 17% (4/23) of the assignments were rated as “poor”
Questions to Address in a Prompt for an Assignment Why are you giving students this assignment? What is its purpose? What do you expect students to learn by completing it? For example, are students simply to summarize information or use the information to persuade? Barbara Walvoord and Virginia Anderson (1998) point out that the title of an assignment is a powerful way to convey to students what you want them to do. They suggest using terms like argumentative essay, original research project, or sociological analysis, which make the assignment clearer than the usual term paper. Does the assignment link to program goals and course objectives? Are the linkages clear? Does the assignment meet the expectations set out by the program for this course? Does the assignment help to build upon previous learned information? How will you score or grade the assignment? The best way to communicate this is to give students a copy of the rubric that you will use to evaluate completed assignments.
Questions to Address in a Prompt for an Assignment What should the completed assignment look like? Who is the (perhaps hypothetical) audience for the assignment: academicians, people working in a particular setting, or the general public? What skills and knowledge do you want students to demonstrate? Explain terms that may be fuzzy to your students even if they are clear to you, such as compare, evaluate, and discuss. What should be included in the completed assignment? How should students format the completed assignment? How are students to complete the assignment? How do you expect them to devote their time and energy? How much time do you expect them to spend on this assignment? If this is a class assignment, how much will it count toward their final course grade? If the assignment is to write something, what is an optimal length for the paper? What readings, reference materials, and technologies are they expected to use? Can they collaborate with others? If so, to what extent? What assistance can you provide while they are working on the assignment? (Are you willing to critique drafts, for example?)
Assignment Analysis Questions 1. What is/are the learning objectives of the assignment? Where and how are these objectives stated? 2. What is/are the assessment methods that will be used to decide the success of the assignment? Are these indicated for students to anticipate how their work will be assessed? 3. Which learning objective(s) in the syllabus match the learning objective(s) in the assignment? Does the assignment make this connection explicitly or implicitly (or not at all)? 4. Which program goal(s) for the department/program can be matched to both the learning objective(s) in the syllabus AND the learning objective(s) in the assignment? 5. How might the assessment methods for the assignment also connect to assessment methods for departmental/program goals?