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Joshua Yeidel

The Answer Sheet - A principal on standardized vs. teacher-written tests - 0 views

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    High school principal George Wood eloquently contrasts standardized NCLB-style testing with his school's performance assessments.
Joshua Yeidel

Performance Assessment | The Alternative to High Stakes Testing - 0 views

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    " The New York Performance Standards Consortium represents 28 schools across New York State. Formed in 1997, the Consortium opposes high stakes tests arguing that "one size does not fit all." Despite skepticism that an alternative to high stakes tests could work, the New York Performance Standards Consortium has done just that...developed an assessment system that leads to quality teaching, that enhances rather than compromises our students' education. Consortium school graduates go on to college and are successful."
Joshua Yeidel

Higher Education: Assessment & Process Improvement Group News | LinkedIn - 0 views

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    High School Principal George Wood eloquently contrasts standardized NCLB-style testing and his school's term-end performance testing.
Joshua Yeidel

Refining the Recipe for a Degree, Ingredient by Ingredient - Government - The Chronicle... - 1 views

  • Supporters of the Lumina project say it holds the promise of turning educational assessment from a process that some academics might view as a threat into one that holds a solution, while also creating more-rigorous expectations for student learning. Mr. Jones, the Utah State history-department chairman, recounted in an essay published in the American Historical Association's Perspectives on History how he once blithely told an accreditation team that "historians do not measure their effectiveness in outcomes." But he has changed his mind. The Lumina project, and others, help define what learning is achieved in the process of earning a degree, he said, moving beyond Americans' heavy reliance on the standardized student credit hour as the measure of an education. "The demand for outcomes assessment should be seized as an opportunity for us to actually talk about the habits of mind our discipline needs to instill in our students," Mr. Jones wrote. "It will do us a world of good, and it will save us from the spreadsheets of bureaucrats."
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    Lumina Foundation pushes a Eurpopean-style process to define education goals state- and nation-wide, with mixed success. "Chemistry, history, math, and physics have been among the most successful", whileothers have had a hard time beginning. "Supporters of the Lumina project say it holds the promise of turning educational assessment from a process that some academics might view as a threat into one that holds a solution, while also creating more-rigorous expectations for student learning. Mr. Jones, the Utah State history-department chairman, recounted in an essay published in the American Historical Association's Perspectives on History how he once blithely told an accreditation team that "historians do not measure their effectiveness in outcomes." But he has changed his mind. The Lumina project, and others, help define what learning is achieved in the process of earning a degree, he said, moving beyond Americans' heavy reliance on the standardized student credit hour as the measure of an education. "The demand for outcomes assessment should be seized as an opportunity for us to actually talk about the habits of mind our discipline needs to instill in our students," Mr. Jones wrote. "It will do us a world of good, and it will save us from the spreadsheets of bureaucrats."
Gary Brown

Graphic Display of Student Learning Objectives - ProfHacker - The Chronicle of Higher E... - 2 views

  • Creating SLOs or goals for a course is simple to us, usually.  We want students to learn certain skills, we create assignments that will help students reach those goals, and we’ll judge how well they have learned those skills. 
  • This graphic displays the three learning objectives for the course, and it connects the course assignment to the learning objectives.  Students can see—at a glance—that work none of course assignments are random or arbitrary (an occasional student complaint), but that each assignment links directly to a course learning objective.
  • The syllabus graphic is quite simple and it’s one that students easily understand.  Additionally, I use an expanded graphic (below) when thinking about small goals within the larger learning objectives.
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  • In fact, The Graphic Syllabus and the Outcomes Map: Communicating Your Course (Linda Nilson) is an interesting way to organize graphically an entire course.
  • An example of a graphic syllabus can be found in Dr. W. Mark Smillie’s displays of his philosophy courses [.pdf file].
  • Some students won’t care.  Moreover, they rarely remember the connection between course content and assignments.  The course and the assignments can all seem random and arbitrary.  Nevertheless, some students will care, and some will appreciate the connections.
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    Perhaps useful resource
Gary Brown

The Future of Wannabe U. - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 2 views

  • Alice didn't tell me about the topics of her research; instead she listed the number of articles she had written, where they had been submitted and accepted, the reputation of the journals, the data sets she was constructing, and how many articles she could milk from each data set.
  • colleges and universities have transformed themselves from participants in an audit culture to accomplices in an accountability regime.
  • higher education has inaugurated an accountability regime—a politics of surveillance, control, and market management that disguises itself as value-neutral and scientific administration.
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  • annabe administrator noted that the recipient had published well more than 100 articles. He never said why those articles mattered.
  • And all we have are numbers about teaching. And we don't know what the difference is between a [summary measure of] 7.3 and a 7.7 or an 8.2 and an 8.5."
  • The problem is that such numbers have no meaning. They cannot indicate the quality of a student's education.
  • or can the many metrics that commonly appear in academic (strategic) plans, like student credit hours per full-time-equivalent faculty member, or the percentage of classes with more than 50 students. Those productivity measures (for they are indeed productivity measures) might as well apply to the assembly-line workers who fabricate the proverbial widget, for one cannot tell what the metrics have to do with the supposed purpose of institutions of higher education—to create and transmit knowledge. That includes leading students to the possibility of a fuller life and an appreciation of the world around them and expanding their horizons.
  • But, like the fitness club's expensive cardio machines, a significant increase in faculty research, in the quality of student experiences (including learning), in the institution's service to its state, or in its standing among its peers may cost more than a university can afford to invest or would even dream of paying.
  • Such metrics are a speedup of the academic assembly line, not an intensification or improvement of student learning. Indeed, sometimes a boost in some measures, like an increase in the number of first-year students participating in "living and learning communities," may even detract from what students learn. (Wan U.'s pre-pharmacy living-and-learning community is so competitive that students keep track of one another's grades more than they help one another study. Last year one student turned off her roommate's alarm clock so that she would miss an exam and thus no longer compete for admission to the School of Pharmacy.)
  • Even metrics intended to indicate what students may have learned seem to have more to do with controlling faculty members than with gauging education. Take student-outcomes assessments, meant to be evaluations of whether courses have achieved their goals. They search for fault where earlier researchers would not have dreamed to look. When parents in the 1950s asked why Johnny couldn't read, teachers may have responded that it was Johnny's fault; they had prepared detailed lesson plans. Today student-outcomes assessment does not even try to discover whether Johnny attended class; instead it produces metrics about outcomes without considering Johnny's input.
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    A good one to wrestle with.  It may be worth formulating distinctions we hold, and steering accordingly.
Judy Rumph

Blog U.: It Boils Down to... - Confessions of a Community College Dean - Inside Higher Ed - 4 views

  • I had a conversation a few days ago with a professor who helped me understand some of the otherwise-puzzling opposition faculty have shown to actually using the general education outcomes they themselves voted into place.
  • Yet getting those outcomes from ‘adopted’ to ‘used’ has proved a long, hard slog.
  • The delicate balance is in respecting the ambitions of the various disciplines, while still maintaining -- correctly, in my view -- that you can’t just assume that the whole of a degree is equal to the sum of its parts. Even if each course works on its own terms, if the mix of courses is wrong, the students will finish with meaningful gaps. Catching those gaps can help you determine what’s missing, which is where assessment is supposed to come in. But there’s some local history to overcome first.
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    This is an interesting take on what we are doing and the comments interesting
Gary Brown

Western Governors U. President Wins a McGraw Prize in Education - The Ticker - The Chro... - 1 views

  • The university's president, Robert W. Mendenhall, was cited for creating "a compelling example of how technology and a competency-based academic model -- where students earn degrees by demonstrating what they know and can do -- can expand access to higher education."
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    Western Governor's getting some attention
Joshua Yeidel

Using Outcome Information: Making Data Pay Off - 1 views

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    Sixth in a series on outcome management for nonprofits. Grist for the mill for any Assessment Handbook we might make. "Systematic use of outcome data pays off. In an independent survey of nearly 400 health and human service organizations, program directors agreed or strongly agreed that implementing program outcome measurement had helped their programs * focus staff on shared goals (88%); * communicate results to stakeholders (88%); * clarify program purpose (86%); * identify effective practices (84%); * compete for resources (83%); * enhance record keeping (80%); and * improve service delivery (76%)."
Joshua Yeidel

Outcomes and Distributions in Program Evaluation - 2 views

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    "The key here is to understand that looking only at the total outcome of a program limits your ability to use evaluation data for program improvement."
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    Eric Graig discusses the need to slice and dice the data.
Gary Brown

Faith in Prior Learning Was Well Placed - Letters to the Editor - The Chronicle of High... - 1 views

  • The recognition that a college that offered credit for experiential learning could stand with traditional institutions, while commonplace today, was a leap of faith then. Empire State had to demonstrate its validity through results—educational outcomes—and on that score, it stood tall. In fact, focusing on outcomes, as we did, led many of us to question how well traditional institutions would measure up!
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    an important question.
Gary Brown

YouTube - Assessment Quickies #1: What Are Student Learning Outcomes? - 3 views

shared by Gary Brown on 22 Apr 10 - Cached
  • Assessment Quickies #1: What Are Student Learning Outcomes?
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    a useful resource for our partners here at WSU from a new Cal State partner.
Nils Peterson

Views: Changing the Equation - Inside Higher Ed - 1 views

  • But each year, after some gnashing of teeth, we opted to set tuition and institutional aid at levels that would maximize our net tuition revenue. Why? We were following conventional wisdom that said that investing more resources translates into higher quality and higher quality attracts more resources
  • But each year, after some gnashing of teeth, we opted to set tuition and institutional aid at levels that would maximize our net tuition revenue. Why? We were following conventional wisdom that said that investing more resources translates into higher quality and higher quality attracts more resource
  • But each year, after some gnashing of teeth, we opted to set tuition and institutional aid at levels that would maximize our net tuition revenue. Why? We were following conventional wisdom that said that investing more resources translates into higher quality and higher quality attracts more resources
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  • year we strug
  • year we strug
  • those who control influential rating systems of the sort published by U.S. News & World Report -- define academic quality as small classes taught by distinguished faculty, grand campuses with impressive libraries and laboratories, and bright students heavily recruited. Since all of these indicators of quality are costly, my college’s pursuit of quality, like that of so many others, led us to seek more revenue to spend on quality improvements. And the strategy worked.
  • Based on those concerns, and informed by the literature on the “teaching to learning” paradigm shift, we began to change our focus from what we were teaching to what and how our students were learning.
  • No one wants to cut costs if their reputation for quality will suffer, yet no one wants to fall off the cliff.
  • When quality is defined by those things that require substantial resources, efforts to reduce costs are doomed to failure
  • some of the best thinkers in higher education have urged us to define the quality in terms of student outcomes.
  • Faculty said they wanted to move away from giving lectures and then having students parrot the information back to them on tests. They said they were tired of complaining that students couldn’t write well or think critically, but not having the time to address those problems because there was so much material to cover. And they were concerned when they read that employers had reported in national surveys that, while graduates knew a lot about the subjects they studied, they didn’t know how to apply what they had learned to practical problems or work in teams or with people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Our applications have doubled over the last decade and now, for the first time in our 134-year history, we receive the majority of our applications from out-of-state students.
  • We established what we call college-wide learning goals that focus on "essential" skills and attributes that are critical for success in our increasingly complex world. These include critical and analytical thinking, creativity, writing and other communication skills, leadership, collaboration and teamwork, and global consciousness, social responsibility and ethical awareness.
  • despite claims to the contrary, many of the factors that drive up costs add little value. Research conducted by Dennis Jones and Jane Wellman found that “there is no consistent relationship between spending and performance, whether that is measured by spending against degree production, measures of student engagement, evidence of high impact practices, students’ satisfaction with their education, or future earnings.” Indeed, they concluded that “the absolute level of resources is less important than the way those resources are used.”
  • After more than a year, the group had developed what we now describe as a low-residency, project- and competency-based program. Here students don’t take courses or earn grades. The requirements for the degree are for students to complete a series of projects, captured in an electronic portfolio,
  • students must acquire and apply specific competencies
  • Faculty spend their time coaching students, providing them with feedback on their projects and running two-day residencies that bring students to campus periodically to learn through intensive face-to-face interaction
  • After a year and a half, the evidence suggests that students are learning as much as, if not more than, those enrolled in our traditional business program
  • As the campus learns more about the demonstration project, other faculty are expressing interest in applying its design principles to courses and degree programs in their fields. They created a Learning Coalition as a forum to explore different ways to capitalize on the potential of the learning paradigm.
  • a problem-based general education curriculum
  • At the very least, finding innovative ways to lower costs without compromising student learning is wise competitive positioning for an uncertain future
  • the focus of student evaluations has changed noticeably. Instead of focusing almost 100% on the instructor and whether he/she was good, bad, or indifferent, our students' evaluations are now focusing on the students themselves - as to what they learned, how much they have learned, and how much fun they had learning.
    • Nils Peterson
       
      gary diigoed this article. this comment shines another light -- the focus of the course eval shifted from faculty member to course & student learning when the focus shifted from teaching to learning
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    A must read spotted by Jane Sherman--I've highlighed, as usual, much of it.
Gary Brown

Changing Higher Education: An Interview with Lloyd Armstrong, USC « Higher Ed... - 1 views

  • There are obviously real concerns that outcomes measures are measuring the right outcomes.   However, those expressing those concerns seldom are ready to jump in to try to figure out how to measure what they think is important – a position that is ultimately untenable
  • Learning outcomes risk changing the rules of the game by actually looking at learning itself, rather than using the surrogates of wealth, history, and research.  Since we have considerable data that show that these surrogates do not correlate particularly well with learning outcomes (see e.g. Derek Bok’s Our Underachieving Colleges),
  •  As Bok pointed out, to improve learning outcomes, the faculty would have to learn to teach in new ways.  Most academic leaders would prefer not to get into a game that would require that kind of change!  In fact, at this point I believe that the real, critical, disruptive innovation in higher education is transparent learning outcomes measures.  Such measures are likely to enable the innovations discussed in the first question to transform from sustaining to disruptive.
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    another executive source, but notes the critical underpinning reason we NEED to do our work.
Gary Brown

Learning to Hate Learning Objectives - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher E... - 4 views

  • Brottman's essay is a dangerous display of educational malpractice. Those who argue that principles of good assessment intrude upon teaching and learning disclose the painful fact that many educators are not adequately prepared to teach.
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    Read it and weep.
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    I think this reader comment captures it: Right--it's not about the students learning anything--it's about YOUR learning, and you let them come along for the ride. How could you fit that into learning objectives? Please. This is why people think all of us are navel-gazing, self-indulgent mopes.
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    Doesn't it depend on the nature of the learning objectives? I mean, you could list a set of facts and skills levels students should have attained. You could specify a number of discrete facts and skills to be attained within certain areas of the course curriculum. Or, you could do something more creative such as measure the number of claims with evidence in student writing that is within the subject matter of the course to demonstrate a level of articulation.

    At CTLT, I never did become fully settled on certain subject types though, like mathematics and natural sciences. Depending on the subject matter, specific facts like natural laws and methods must be discretely learned and learned perfectly. And, indeed in some subjects, there is such a thing as perfect understanding where anything even slightly less is failure to learn. This is rigid, yes.. But I do not see the alternative in some subjects and teachers of those subjects certainly don't either. I do think that sometimes there can be more flexibility in the order of learning of discrete fundamentals. Learning out of order often convinced me of the importance of things skipped, causing me to go back and study more comprehensively on my own, in my own time, and according to my own interest.
Gary Brown

Renewed Debate Over the 3-Year B.A. - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Ed... - 0 views

  • Zemsky, chairman of the Learning Alliance for Higher Education, wrote in The Chronicle in August. Shifting to a three-year baccalaureate, Zemsky added, would force universities to "judge whether their shorter degree programs were achieving the same learning outcomes as their four-year programs had promised; they would find themselves in need of the performance measures they had hitherto eschewed." The idea has stirred some support, as well as considerable opposition.
  • the reality is that the question of whether or not this makes sense may have already been made for us by the Bologna Process, which has been moving toward mainstreaming and standardizing three-year degrees across the European Union and beyond (46 countries are participating) for some time now.
  • This idea treats an academic credit as a purchasable commodity, and a college experience as quantifiable, subject to rules of efficiency rather than humane values. In reality, so-called "credits" have no standard meaning or value. Furthermore, the idea on its own is superficial. Why not two years? One? Five?
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  • For those who see college as a place to learn marketable skills, the less time and money it takes, the better. For others who see college as a place to learn to think and to learn about the world and others as broadly as possible, and to grow into one's own, why rush? (The Choice, NYTimes.com)
  • they might want to rethink not just what time of year and how long students are in the classroom, but how student accomplishment is measured.
  • The high schools are not going to suddenly become more rigorous because the colleges reduce their expectations.
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    Today's rip-tide toward measures, this time from Alexander and Zemsky (and others), and the implications of standardized measures.
Joshua Yeidel

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment - 1 views

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    This sounds like an arena in which our work ought to appear, and in which we might find others of like mind and mission. It's a surprisingly non-social site, however.
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