Diverse students together

Design Step 4: Plan for Equity and Consistency

How do we ensure equity and consistency?

Assessment is a powerful tool for promoting equity, fairness, and consistency. Following are strategies for reducing bias and error in when reviewing student work for program outcomes assessment purposes (adapted from Suskie, 2018).

Clarify expectations in advance

  • Use an assessment instrument (i.e., rubric) which clearly describes the evaluative criteria for several performance levels, e.g., emerging, approaching expectations, meets expectations, exceeds expectations.
  • Provide rubrics with assignment guidelines.   

Protect student privacy

Apply principles of blind scoring prior to analyzing work for program level assessment efforts. 

  • Remove or obscure personally identifying information.
  • Review data in the aggregate only.
  • Disaggregate by demographic characteristics to identify equity gaps.

Promote inter-rater reliability

  • Use a commonly-accepted instrument (i.e., rubric or scoring guide). 
  • Pilot-test the instrument in advance to ensure that different readers will reliably arrive at similar ratings of student work.
  • Conduct norming sessions prior to analyzing work at program level and and re-calibration sessions as needed.

Assess with others

Assessment of student performance in relation to program goals for student learning (or program learning outcomes) is the responsibility of the entire faculty.

  • In large programs, establish rotating committees with overlapping terms.
  • In small programs, invite faculty from related disciplines to participate in review sessions.