Course-Level Assessment Resources
Learning Assessment in Modular Structures
With the recent endorsement of the proposal to engage in a modular semester structure, there has been increased requests for related literature and resources. Many aspects of good teaching and learning remain unchanged in any structure, however, there are some considerations and resources for assessment that may be helpful:
- Increase use of formative assessment: Provide opportunities for students to demonstrate consistency of performance over multiple assessments (scroll below to more formative assessment resources on this page).
- Integrative skills & content: Connect course objectives and assessments to other courses, prior knowledge, and life experiences as much as possible. exs. Thematic Learning Communities, Bruner’s Spiral Curriculum Theory and Model
- Student-centered active learning: Develop collaborative and/or interactive activities and assessments to facilitate communication among students and faculty.
- Non-linear knowledge sequencing: Consider where flexibility to explore one topic deeply or examine a wider scope of information may be possible to be more responsive to student contexts and experiences. Agreeing upon some learning objectives WITH students can facilitate creation of collective learning outcomes and student-engaged development.
- Connect early and often (& efficiently with consideration to self-care and workload). Excellent insights and practical ideas from Bryan Dewsbury (who spent a day teaching us all at Bates in April 2020).
Course Learning Objectives & Goals
Starting in the 2016-17 academic year, all Bates faculty were asked to include specific learning objectives for their courses. These learning objectives can be included on formal course evaluations and integrated into voluntary mid-semester assessment data collection as well.
For some insights and guidance about the Bates College expectations and implementation, refer to the following guides:
Course Learning Objectives Guide – Bates College (2018)
Developing Goals and Objectives – Bates College (2016)
For external resources to support and examine development of course learning objectives and how they fit into assessment, the following resources offer templates, approaches and frameworks:
VALUE rubric design & align webinar – AAC&U (2018)
Backward Design – Center for Teaching, Vanderbilt University
Integrated Course Design – Fink (2003)
Bates College course syllabus includes description, policies, requirements, schedule and measurable learning objectives assessed by faculty during the evaluation of student work. There are multiple examples of Bates faculty syllabi at various department/program webpages (ex. Anthropology, French & Francophone Studies). The links below connect to resources at Bates to help in development, review, or building consistency in format of syllabi:
Sample Syllabus Accessibility Statement – Bates College
Syllabus Design Handout – Faculty Commons at Bates College
Syllabus Template Language – Faculty Commons at Bates College
There are a myriad of syllabus development resources in the world of education beyond Bates. The links listed below highlight just a few of these external resources:
Universal Design for Learning: Syllabus – CAST, Boston MA
Syllabus Toolkit – Mailman School, Columbia University
The Open Syllabus Project – Columbia University
Curriculum Development & Course Planning
Course development is often done within the scope and sequence of the larger department or program curriculum. However, the individual course curriculum can be seen “as a vehicle for public discourse and democratic engagement” (Ladson-Billings, 2016). The following resources of a few of the many perspectives and tools available:
Design Project Guide – Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, Stanford University
An Integrative Approach to Curriculum Development…- Khan & Law (2015)
Understanding by Design – Wiggins & McTighe (2005)
Plan-Do-Check-Act – Westminster College
Offering Student Options – Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory
Bates College encourages faculty to engage students in active learning and other instructional approaches that can enhance the educational experiences for all learners and instructors. Specific departments, programs, divisions are aligning practices with goals of grant-funded initiatives and institutional work with the support of the Office of Equity and Inclusion to develop and explore inclusive pedagogy and create more equitable learning experiences across campus.
Also to this effort, Bates recently opened Active Learning Classrooms in Carnegie Science Hall, rooms 225 & 339 (reserve here).
Inclusive Teaching Strategies – Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University
Inclusive Teaching Strategies – Focus: International Students – The Ohio State University
Leading Discussions – Bok Center for Teaching & Learning, Harvard University
Discussion Guidelines – Stanford Teaching Commons
Active Lecturing – University of Georgia
Think-Pair-Share – Stanford University
Interactive Presentations (Swink, 2010)
Interactive Lecturing – (Barkley & Major, 2016)
Lecturing – Vanderbilt Center for Teaching
Flipped Classroom – Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University
Pedagogies of Care – West Virginia University
Student Learning Assessments
Bates College academic experiences include course-level assessments such as portfolio, thesis, written essay, on-demand exam, demonstration, lab report, exhibition, capstone experience and others. Many departments/programs have student work shared on their webpages. Some examples include the Art and Visual Culture Studio Thesis Exhibitions , Mathematics placement exam, mapping described in Geology Short Term: West, and many others. Additional resources listed below include templates, models, theory, and other materials intended to support and facilitate existing faculty work in assessing their students’ learning.
Formative Assessment: Definitions & Theories
Developing the Theory of Formative Assessment – Black & Wiliam (2009)
Formative Assessment in Higher Education – Yorke (2003)
Formative Assessment: Models & Examples
Case-based Learning – Center for Teaching & Learning, Yale University
A Defense of Multiple-choice Exam – Katz Rothman (2016) The Chronicle of Higher Education
Exit/Entry Tickets – Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory
Designing Problem Sets – UChicago, Center for Teaching
Classroom Assessment Techniques – Angelo & Cross (1993) with some selections of formative assessment compiled in these Examples
Summative Assessment: Research, Models & Examples
Retrieval Practices – Karpicke & Blunt (2011)
VALUE rubric design & align webinar – AAC&U (2018)
VALUE Rubrics – AAC&U (2018)
The Risk of a Halo Bias… – Malouff et al. (2013) re: blind grading
Assessing Group Work – Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon University
A-Rubric-for-Rubrics – B.Mullinix, Monmouth University
Teaching & Assessing Writing
Writing @ Bates has wonderful resources, guides and opportunities to connect with Bates professional writing specialists during individual consultations and faculty workshops.
VALUE Writing Rubric – AAC&U
How Students Learn
Toxic Stress – Harvard University
Metacognition – Sheridan Center for Teaching & Learning, Brown University
Multiple Intelligences (are not learning styles!) – Howard Gardner, more on the Learning Styles myth: Yale Center for Teaching & Learning
Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes – precursor to Lev Vygotsky’s “Zone of Proximal Development” (described in Shabani et al., 2010)
Transfer of Knowledge – National Science Foundation (2002)
Feedback on Teaching & Student Learning
“For when we hide our light we collude in the overall cultural devaluation of our teaching vocation.” – bell hooks, Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
Examining and understanding how and what students are learning in their experiences and academic work is an essential element of the continual process of providing high quality educational experiences…for students and educators (educators = faculty, staff, administration, parents, peers, etc.). Bates Dean of Faculty, Faculty Commons and the Learning Assessment Specialist facilitate this reflection by offering support and resources from Bates and other colleges/universities across the globe for collecting student opinions, evaluating curriculum and programming and providing colleague feedback. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; the list below connects to a few of these tools.
Bates Mid-semester Assessment Process (FMI contact Kika Stump firstname.lastname@example.org)
Faculty Self-assessment – Smith College
From Traditional Accountability to Shared Responsibility – M. Cook-Sather (2009)
Samples of Mid-semester Assessment Models – (Princeton, UC Berkeley, Brown, and others) via Smith College
Midterm Student Course Evaluations – Yale University
Dr. Poppy McLeod (video clip) – Cornell University
Mid-semester Assessment Feedback Question Bank – UC Berkeley
We would enjoy hearing about resources, materials or ideas that have worked for you, too!
To share resources, learn more about materials above, or discuss ways in which our office can support your teaching and course-level learning assessment work, contact Kika Stump at email@example.com or 207.786.8220.