Journal: "Assessment in Action: Evidence-Based Discussions about Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum"

New Directions for Teaching and Learning
 "Assessment in Action: Evidence-Based Discussions about Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum"

The Fall 2018 issue of New Directions for Teaching and Learning is all about assessment! Full-access for UC Davis faculty, staff, and students is available through the UC Davis Library (if logging in on-campus or via the VPN).

Campus-level Initiatives

"Creating a Culture for Evidence-Based Assessment of Learning" 
Sharisse Grannan, Susanna Calkins

The Office of the Provost, the Learning and Teaching Center, and the Assessment/Accreditation Council sponsor an annual peer-led conversation about evidence-based assessment initiatives (Learning, Teaching, and Assessment Forum). Over four years, this event has grown to encompass over 200 faculty representing all academic schools and several co-curricular units. Discussions showcase current assessment initiatives and effective practices for teaching, learning, and assessment; reinforce dialogue about the value of assessment for improving teaching and learning; and celebrate the institution’s commitment to assessment and student learning.

"Partnering with Teaching and Learning Centers for Curricular Assessment: A Case Study of Best Practices"
Tracy Bartholomew, Mary C. Wright, Charlie Michaels

This case study describes the collaboration between the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching and the Stamps School of Art & Design to facilitate faculty interpretation of multiple sources of evidence about student learning and develop implementation plans to address efforts to improve learning on specific outcomes.

"Evidence-Based Discussions of Learning Facilitated through a Peer Review of Assessment"
Claudia J. Stanny, Erin W. Stone, Amy Mitchell-Cook

The Peer Review of Assessment is an annual, campus-wide, facilitated discussion of assessment reports. The review supports ongoing improvements in quality of assessment work by developing faculty expertise with assessment practices and instructional strategies that promote common learning goals and providing guidance for the refinement of reporting templates and procedures.

"Faculty Engagement with Integrative Assignment Design: Connecting Teaching and Assessment"
Kimberly Green, Pat Hutchings

This case study describes an implementation of the NILOA course assignment charrette process at a research-intensive university. The charrettes are a two-day facilitated faculty workshop in which faculty design assignments that align with core learning outcomes to promote student learning and create meaningful assessments embedded as assigned work in courses.

"Creating a Culture of Continuous Assessment to Improve Student Learning Through Curriculum Review" 
Frances Kalu, Patti Dyjur

The authors describe a formal review process for program curriculum that engages students along with multiple stakeholders to align program level learning outcomes, evaluate curricula based on multiple sources of evidence, facilitate discussion among faculty, and develop action plans to improve student learning.

"Evidence-Informed Improvement through Collaborative Professional Integration"
Stephanie T. Brown, Jeanette McGreevy, Nick Berigan

Not all data are equally actionable. The authors describe the disaggregation of assessment evidence into “data buckets” (entering characteristics, on-campus experiences with teaching and learning, and post-graduation experiences). This organization facilitates the interpretation of findings, engages multiple units in collaborative discussions, and focuses attention on realistic actions to improve student learning.

General Education Initiatives

"Assessment of General Education: An Unexpected (but Effective) Faculty Development Opportunity"
Joan Hawthorne, Ryan Zerr, Anne V. Kelsch

The authors describe a faculty development activity that centered on the development of “performance tasks,” scenarios that set a context for an assessment task, and associated rubrics for evaluating the quality of student responses. Collective faculty efforts to administer, proctor, score, and interpret the quality of student work create unexpected opportunities for deep discussions of teaching, learning, and assessment.

"Assessment in the Core: Centering Student Learning"
Robert Todd Bruce

This chapter describes a process for revision of the general education curriculum that included a shift from a distribution model to an “integrative core” of courses. The revision includes a review of courses for inclusion in the curriculum based on course assignments that serve as embedded assessments aligned with specific general education learning outcomes. The authors describe an overarching plan for cross-course assessment of learning outcomes based on artifacts sampled from participating courses. Selected artifacts are reviewed by teams of faculty. Findings produced concrete changes to processes, pedagogy, and assessment procedures.

"Infrastructure Support for Using Assessment Data for Continuous Improvement"
Julia M. Matuga, Jessica M. Turos

The authors describe a general education review that entailed revision of student learning outcomes and a review and re-evaluation of courses designated as a component of the curriculum. The course review included examination of syllabi, alignment of course learning outcomes with curriculum outcomes, and alignment of course assignments with general education outcome assessment. Assessments embedded in the campus learning management system facilitate collection and use of findings.

"Identity, Values, and Reflection: Shaping (and Being Shaped) through Assessment"
Marcy Isabella, Heather McGovern

How a first-year writing program shifted its assessment focus following a long and successful assessment program. The review of program assessments re-examined core learning outcomes for writing and initiated new pedagogies to support revised goals for student writing. 

"Writing and the Undergraduate Curriculum: Using Assessment Evidence to Create a Model for Institutional Change"
Megan O’Neill, Alicia Slater, D. Gregory Sapp

Early assessment evidence on student writing in the general education curriculum prompted campus interest in a new initiative to implement writing enhanced courses throughout the curriculum. The authors describe structures that support faculty engagement, development of pedagogies to support effective writing, and implement assessment and feedback about the quality of student writing.

"Inquiry Scholars Collaborative: Growing a Culture of Assessment"
Zan Goncalves, Thomas Bennett, Lynn Murray-Chandler, Caroline Hall

A multi-institution collaboration improved student skills in information literacy and analysis and inquiry (as defined by AAC&U VALUE rubrics). This project is unusual in that it engages undergraduate students as research collaborators and includes outreach to local primary and secondary schools.

Concluding comments

"Putting Assessment into Action: Evolving from a Culture of Assessment to a Culture of Improvement"
Claudia J. Stanny

Campus structures and processes facilitate the effective use of assessment evidence and implement efforts to improve student learning. The work described in this issue reflects the qualities required to promote broad faculty engagement and deep, meaningful conversations about student learning. In all cases, campus processes shift the emphasis from gathering assessment evidence to systematic reflection on the meaning of assessment evidence.