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Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment Harriet R. Fayne, Ph.D. Otterbein College Westerville, Ohio Harriet.

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Presentation on theme: "Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment Harriet R. Fayne, Ph.D. Otterbein College Westerville, Ohio Harriet."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment Harriet R. Fayne, Ph.D. Otterbein College Westerville, Ohio Harriet R. Fayne, Ph.D. Otterbein College Westerville, Ohio

2 Professional Learning Communities: Taking the Angst out of General Education Assessment This roundtable will highlight Otterbeins formation of a professional learning community focused on the assessment of general education. Four years of success with teaching and learning communities prompted Otterbeins assessment committee to adapt this model to focus on college-wide outcomes assessment. Our professional learning communities (PLCs) are made up of faculty, administrators, staff, and, in some cases, students. Generally we hope that PLCs will allow individuals to transcend disciplinary and/or status boundaries, reflect on their own practices, and collect evidence to inform decisions. During the roundtable, we will talk a bit about how the assessment learning community is working at Otterbein and encourage others to think about the potential of this type of change structure for their campuses.

3 What makes a learning community work? Challenge Mutual support Strong facilitation Commitment on the part of members Cultivation of atmosphere/collegiality Clear structures for meetings Nature of the space for meetings (off campus, if possible) Regularity of meetings Inquiry orientation Projects/outcomes shared in process

4 Professional Learning Community Project at Otterbein College, 2003-present Professional learning communities (PLCs) because they include non- faculty members Cohort- and topic-based –6 new faculty learning communities –7 topical learning communities: Service Learning Diversity Undergraduate Research Scholarship of Teaching and Learning-SoTL (3 years) First Generation College Students Greater Expectations General Education Outcomes

5 General Education Outcomes (GEO) Learning Community Membership: Niki Fayne, Assessment Fellow and Education Faculty; Leslie Ortquist-Ahrens, Director, Center for Teaching and Learning; Mary Gahbauer,Chair, Assessment Committee and Life Science Faculty; Alison Prindle, English Faculty; Regina Kengla, Academic Support Center Writing Faculty; Amy Jessen-Marshall, future Chair, Integrative Studies Program and Life Science Faculty; Kate Porubcansky, Asst. Dean/Director of Center for Student Involvement; Terry Contenza, Math Faculty; Susan Thompson, Math Dept. Chair; Doris Ebbert, Librarian; Rick Mosholder, OSU Doctoral Candidate, Preparing Future Faculty Participant Meetings: Regular 90 minutes meetings scheduled every other week during the three academic quarters; two day-long meetings during winter and spring breaks. Core Readings : Maki, P.L. (2004) Assessing for Learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing and the following AAC&U Monographs: The Art and Science of Assessing General Education Outcomes, Advancing Liberal Education: Assessment Practices on Campus; General Education: A Self-Study Guide for Review and Assessment Conferences Attended: 2006 Assessment Institute at IUPUI, Writing Across the Curriculum at Quinnipiac U, and AAC&U Assessment Conference in Miami Blackboard Site: Announcements, Minutes, Readings, and Discussion Board

6 General Education Outcomes How does Otterbein add value? Do we add more value in some areas than in others? Are there students for whom we add more value than for others? If so, who are our greatest success stories? Who are our greatest challenges?

7 Two Key Questions Does our core curriculum meet Otterbeins aspirations (i.e. help to realize the mission of the College)? Do students achieve the targets that have been established?

8 Operating Assumptions Assessment is not an end in itself. Dont test what you cant change. The focus of assessment is on improving instruction. Use the data that you collect. Faculty buy-in is essential to the success of any assessment effort. Data collected must have face validity and be easy to translate into teaching practices.

9 Plan 2006-2007 FallWinterSpring Curriculum Alignment: Standardized Tests and Core Curriculum Review of standardized test options Recommendation about standardized testing Review of Best Practices: Refine or Develop Local Measures of Writing, Quantitative Reasoning, Information Literacy Data Collection: INST 100 and 300 Level Essays Data Collection: Information Literacy Development of Quantitative Reasoning Items Data Analysis: INST Essays Data Analysis: Information Literacy Data Collection: Pilot Quantitative Reasoning Items Compare Findings with Past Years

10 Progress to Date Value-Added Framework Locally Developed Assessment Strategies Consideration of Norm-Referenced Assessments

11 Locally Developed Assessment Strategies: Reading/Writing Writing prompt developed based on Common Book; administered in freshman level INST Comp and Lit sections Rubric, based originally on ACT Writing Rubric, refined after pilot testing by GEO; now addresses key Information Literacy standards and acknowledges the relationship between reading and writing Over 100 essays will be graded using the revised rubric by 10 INST instructors during spring break, 2007 17 essays written during 2005-2006 will be re-graded using the rubric; the student authors, currently in INST 270, will submit compare/contrast essays. A GEO subgroup will be attempting to determine whether or not the rubric is a sensitive measure of growth from freshman to sophomore year

12 Locally Developed Assessment Strategies: Quantitative Literacy GEO members participated in answering and deconstructing QL items. GEO members read material about QL Standards GEO members reviewed QL course syllabi at two other institutions QL rubric drafted Goal: Use rubric with embedded items in Integrative Studies sophomore level science courses and again in junior/senior level Integrative Studies science courses

13 Locally Developed Assessment Strategies: Information Literacy Review of three years of data: locally prepared skills test administered to freshmen. What does the data reveal? Review of research on IL Standards Selected IL Standards integrated into GEO Reading/Writing Rubric Proposed consultation model: Library liaisons work with departments on integrating additional IL standards in major Courses (upper level courses)

14 Consideration of Norm-Referenced Assessments Web Conference: Introduction to CAE ACT CAAP Guide Distributed Overarching Question: Would the campus community find the results of an external assessment useful? Would test results have an impact on curriculum or instruction?

15 The Future Course-embedded assessments in Integrative Studies Courses (general education core) Exploring how Senior Year Experience courses can contribute to outcomes assessment Role of Academic Departments: Consideration of W, Q, IL designated courses An Exit e-Portfolio for All Graduates?

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