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Tracking Involvement: A Review of Best Practices in Co-Curricular Transcripts Lisa Endersby, M.Ed. Carolyn Hoessler, M.A. CASEA 2010 Montreal, Quebec.

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Presentation on theme: "Tracking Involvement: A Review of Best Practices in Co-Curricular Transcripts Lisa Endersby, M.Ed. Carolyn Hoessler, M.A. CASEA 2010 Montreal, Quebec."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tracking Involvement: A Review of Best Practices in Co-Curricular Transcripts Lisa Endersby, M.Ed. Carolyn Hoessler, M.A. CASEA 2010 Montreal, Quebec

2 Who Are We? Lisa Endersby –Over 5 years of experience in the design, delivery and evaluation of co-curricular programming, with a focus on leadership development and student transition, and over 7 years of co-curricular involvement at various universities Carolyn Hoessler –With a dual role as both an educational developer and a Ph.D. student, this year marks the 4th year working with teaching assistants and graduate students, and the 8th year of co-curricular involvement

3 Outline What is the Co-Curricular Transcript? Roots Myths – What Is This Thing? Challenges On Route Who’s Using It? Some Examples Best Practices: Creating an Effective Co- Curricular Transcript Next Steps

4 What is the Co-Curricular Transcript? “The student development transcript holds promise for fulfilling a variety of functions and roles that could have value for both institutions and the individual student, … Depending on its form, the transcript could serve as a record of attainments and competencies to be used for job or future schooling applications, much like a painter or photographer uses a portfolio” (Brown & Citrin, 1999, p )

5 Roots Students involved in co-curricular activities demonstrate additional growth in interpersonal skills, leadership abilities and professional development (Astin, 1993) Validating students’ co-curricular involvement through the use of a document began in the 1970s when Robert Brown created the ‘Student Development Transcript’ at the University of Nebraska The National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) (1986) created a Co-Curricular Transcript Library detailing formats and programs that other institutions could use as guidelines NACA (1992) also published a resource guide for institutions looking to develop their own transcript

6 Questions! What are some of the beliefs about co- curricular transcript? What comes to mind when you think about trying to implement one?

7 Myths In our own discussions, we have encountered what we deem as myths surrounding the co- curricular transcript: (1) What isn't already recorded could not be important (2) Universities couldn't/shouldn't measure what occurs outside the classroom (3) There's no way to create a co-curricular record that is concise and meaningful

8 Challenges On Route When trying to implement a co-curricular transcript, questions are raised as to: (1)Why bother? (2)Who’s responsible? (3)What would it look like?

9 We’ve used these questions to frame our search for existing approaches that have demonstrated or reported applicability. As part of our search we sought to consider the use, the process of tracking and our diverse student populations to define best practices in: Utility  Tracking  Context Challenges On Route

10 Why Bother? Utility - What is the purpose/rationale/importance? Tracking - What information would be important to track? Context – How does institutional context affect tracking co-curricular involvement? How do we track involvement for non- traditional student populations?

11 Why Bother? – Utility “…neither credits nor grades accurately represent all of what students learn during college” (Kuh, 1991,p.7) An institution’s culture of assessment includes the assessment of co-curricular activities (Weiner, 2009), and the NSSE includes questions related to students’ ‘outside the classroom’ involvement (http://nsse.iub.edu/redirect.cfm) (Ragan, 2001) noted that co-curricular transcripts are being developed to respond to the needs of involved students and to provide additional motivation to students not yet involved Many institutions recognize the need to provide official documentation of co-curricular learning (Cooper, Healy & Simpson, 1994) and to acknowledge co-curricular involvement as part of the overall education of a well rounded student

12 Why Bother? – Tracking Mentkowski (2000) defines co-curricular involvement as “learning experiences organized as courses … it may include planned or ad hoc student activities, student government … [and] civic commitments …” (p.302) There are many facets of co-curricular involvement that can be tracked, including skill development, activities, positions held, honours and awards This information can provide tangible recognition of a more intangible, complex developmental process

13 Why Bother? – Context A student’s desire to take on leadership roles is strongly influenced by the atmosphere of the institution (Kuh, 1995) Fullan (2002) argues that “Learning in context occurs when principals are members of a … study team for which they examine real problems … in their own systems. Learning out of context … is not the kind of applied learning that really makes a difference” (p.19). More traditional undergraduate student populations rate quality of co-curricular and student involvement higher than their non traditional student peers (Broschard, 2005) Ragan (1991) noted that other co-curricular transcript programs can discriminate against non-traditional student populations, including commuter students, graduate students adult learners and students from diverse backgrounds through administrative practices or prevailing development and leadership theories

14 Who’s Responsible? Utility - If a "verified" document is needed, whose has relevant authority/knowledge to verify it to be the most useful? Tracking - How would information be added? How would the documents be verified? Context - How would different processes support/hinder different students from participating due to Power, expectations, access?

15 Who’s Responsible? – Utility Decentralized: –“… successful assessment of student affairs learning outcomes requires the understanding that units are experts in their particular field; therefore, a decentralized model of assessment, facilitated by a coordinator or director, is most appropriate in student affairs.“ (Green, Jones & Aloi, 2008, p.133). Students –Individual students are also given the responsibility of tracking their own activities and development, as the transcript allows students to become aware of the intended learning outcomes of activities and the overall learning taking place. (Bresciani, 2005)

16 Who’s Responsible? – Tracking Administration and Staff: –Activities are accepted for inclusion on the transcript via an application process by the activity coordinator (e.g. department head, club president) to the department or office housing transcript administration –These learning outcomes and competencies are further defined by student affairs or student life staff –Activities and other transcript information can be verified by a staff member working within a student life department, either as part of the co-curricular transcript team or within their overall duties Students : –Students are often responsible for identifying and reporting the activities they are involved in. Advisors, supervisors or student leaders: –Verifiers can include advisors and supervisors involved in the organization or overseeing the activity. –Student leaders should be responsible for informing campus administrators of what skills students on campus need to learn (Striffolino & Saunders, 1989)

17 Who’s Responsible? - Context Administrative location, personnel, level of responsibility given to students or individual organizations varies to fit with local needs and structure. Generally related to issues of access to co-curricular BEAMS (Building Engagement and Attainment for Minority Students) schools have demonstrated, in part, that emphasis on co-curricular activities can result in increased student engagement and success (Hazeur, 2008). There is also a noticeable gender difference in how engagement affects student success (Ullah & Wilson, 2007).

18 What Would It Look Like? Utility - What presentation format(s) are useful for students during and after? Is it more useful for it to be "official" with stamps or verification? Tracking - Of the information tracked, how much and what is presented in the document? Context - How would different presentations support/hinder the goals/uses for different students due to (e.g.) career plans, next location, access to opportunities, need to demonstrate ability?

19 What Would It Look like? – Utility Ragan (2001) offers three (3) potential formats for co- curricular transcripts: –Student Portfolio –Experiential Checklist –Competency-Based Checklist Most transcripts are labelled with the university’s name and crest/logo to identify it as a university document. Ragan’s (2001) survey of employers indicated strong interest in reviewing potential hires’ co-curricular involvement. Participation in co-curricular activities benefits students’ retention rates and educational outcomes in college (Tan & Pope, 2007).

20 What Would It Look like? – Tracking Online tracking provides 24/7 access for students to check and review their involvement. Astin (1985) argued that “the acknowledgement of student involvement as a major determinant of positive collegian outcomes provides support for leadership involvement” (p.339). The majority of co-curricular transcript models track student engagement in loosely defined by the following categories: On Campus Involvement (e.g. clubs, sports, councils) Community Service ‘One Off’ Activities and Events (e.g. activities participated in or attended but not part of a larger, ongoing commitment) Honours and Awards (including certificates and training) In most cases, transcripts resemble experiential checklists, while some also include competencies and/or associated learning outcomes for each activity listed.

21 What Would It Look like? – Context Co-curricular programs must also address the needs of different and diverse student populations (McIntire, 1989). A co-curricular transcript may be viewed as part of a larger ‘co- curricular programming’ framework within the institution, subject to the same considerations of program development Online access provides students who are currently not on campus during business hours. Online content can be provided in a format that is accessible and meets universal instructional design guidelines. Official print-based documents can be requested to meet any requirements for physical copies by potential employers, graduate and professional schools.

22 Example Sites “Existing programs offer templates by which these ideals can be achieved.” (Best practices related to interdisciplinary education, p. 90)

23 Example Site 1 Wilfred Laurier University Co-Curricular Record (CCR) “An institutionally recognized chronicle of student engagement and student leadership involvement” Activity administrators must first apply to have their activity or program included on the transcript by demonstrating that it provides students with meaningful transformational leadership opportunities CCR ambassadors assist groups and individuals in applying to have their activity included through an ‘application for recognition’ form Students include activities by identifying Levels of Achievement generated as Learning Outcomes When a validator approves the inclusion of an activity, then the activity and related learning outcomes can appear on the student's printed CCR

24 Example Site 2 McMaster University MacStAR (McMaster Student Activity Record) “As partners in learning we provide our students with opportunities to discover, learn and grow.To record these non-academic student accomplishments MacStAR was developed to help students document and showcase their many achievements outside the classroom to potential employers, graduate and professional schools.” Students enter their activity or role with a campus department on an online record housed within the Centre for Student Development (CSD) A ‘verifier’ must authenticate the student’s participation in the particular role or activity The student’s activities are included in official transcripts upon graduation


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