Assessment of Learning in Student-Centered Courses
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1 Assessment of Learning in Student-Centered Courses Institute for Transforming Undergraduate EducationUniversity of DelawareWorkshop at Lycoming CollegeAugust 19, 2002
2 Session Outline Classroom assessment: what’s important? Connecting assessment with learning objectives: examplesAssessment methods and strategiesOther types of assessment
3 What Is Assessment?“An assessment is an activity, assigned by the professor, that yields comprehensive information for analyzing, discussing, and judging a learner’s performance of valued abilities and skills.”Huba and Freed, Learner-Centered Assessment on College Campuses: Shifting the Focus from Teaching to Learning, 2000In this definition we see roles for assessment beyond simply monitoring and judging the acquisition of knowledge: there is also a need for an analysis of student learning: How is it happening? Where are the barriers to full understanding? What is working well for the student - can those approaches be exploited more fully? What assessment activities are best suited for generating this type of information?Well-designed assessments can help us understand how our students are learning: the real audience for that information, however, should be the students themselves. One of the goals of problem-based learning, after all, is to develop in students the ability to become independent learners. They, even more than we as instructors, need to understand not only how they’re learning at present, but what they can do to improve that learning. This requires a discussion: feedback from student to instructor to diagnose the student’s learning, followed by feedback from instructor to student both about how well they’re doing and about how to improve in the future. We will look briefly at the practice of using rubrics both to set standards of expectation and to provide feedback to students.
4 First Principle for Assessing Student Learning Assessment of student learning must be directly connected to the learning objectives of your course. You should make these connections clear to students in your syllabus.
5 Classroom Assessment Should Also: be based on understanding how students learnaccommodate individual differencesbe clearly explained to students (grading criteria)be valid and have a reliable processallow for timely feedbackallow faculty and students to reflect on learningbe an integral part of course developmentFrom: Brown, Race, & Smith (1996) Tips on Assessment
6 “Learning drives everything.” Assessment Decisions“Learning drives everything.”- Barbara Walvoord1. What do you want your students to learn?2. How will you tell if they’ve learned it?
7 1. What do you want your students to learn? “Grading drives everything.”- StudentsDefine goals through learning objectivesContent issuesProcess/skill issuesAttitudesDevelop ways to assess those goals
8 Types of Learning Objectives Content-oriented: subject-specificBasic knowledge and understanding of specific concepts, techniques, etc. in the disciplineProcess-oriented: global skillsEffective communication: verbal and writtenAcquiring and evaluating informationWorking effectively with othersHigher-order, critical thinking
9 2. How will you tell if they’ve learned it? Summative assessmentTraditional grading for accountabilityUsually formal, comprehensiveJudgmentalFormative assessmentFeedback for improvement/developmentUsually informal, narrow/specializedSuggestive
10 Assessment and Learning Objectives Bringing content and process togetherContent KnowledgeProcess SkillsAssessment
11 Matching Assessment with Objectives Student Outcomes Exam Survey Project Portfolio ObservationKnow informationUse informationExtend knowledgePlan StudyCommunicateknowledgeAnalyze/interpretdataUse reasoningG. Uno (1997) Handbook on Teaching Undergraduate Science Courses
12 An Example: Probing Critical Thinking Skills in a Chem Exam Goal: to design a question that:goes beyond simple knowledge or comprehensionuses novel situation or “real world” contextinvolves multiple conceptsrequires recognition of concepts involved (analysis), their roles here (application), and how several ideas come together (synthesis)
13 Traditional Exam Questions Calculate the vapor pressure of a solution of 5.8 g of NaCl in 100 g of water.Bloom Level: KnowledgeExplain why a solution of NaCl will have a lower vapor pressure than pure water.Bloom Level: Comprehension
14 A Higher-order Exam Question The relative humidity inside a museum display case can be maintained at 75.3% by placing within the case a saturated solution of NaCl (containing excess solid NaCl). Explain, in molecular level terms, why the humidity remains constant - even when water-saturated air (100% humidity) diffuses into the case.
15 Assess at Several Bloom Levels Example: Analysis of exam componentsKnowledgeComprehensionApplicationAnalysisSynthesisEvaluation# of points total(F)(D-)(C+)(A-)(A)
16 Rubrics: Combining Formative and Summative Assessment Rubric: a set of specific criteria against which a product is to be judgedCriteria reflect learning objectives for that activity.Several achievement levels are identified for each criterion.Expected qualities or features of work at each level are clearly described for each criterion.
18 Rubric Construction Achievement Levels Criteria State an objective ExcellentGoodNeeds WorkNot acceptableState an objectiveDescribe characteristic features of each level of achievement
19 Rubric for Planning of a Middle School Science Unit Excellent Good Average PoorAppropriate; Appropriate; Incomplete Few standards,listed for listed for list/ some less inappropriatelyeach lesson most lessons appropriate listedState & nationalstandardsDevelopmentallevel of lessonIncludes natureof science,inquiry inAssessmentAppropriate; Appropriate; Most lessons are Few lessons aremisconceptions misconceptions appropriate; appropriateaddressed in addressed in misconceptions misconceptionsall lessons most lessons addressed in few not addressedall lessons most lessons many lessons few lessonsVariety of Used in most Used but with Little use ofactivities, areas but little planning assessmentwell-integrated missed in some or integration throughout unit
20 Advantages of Rubric Use Clarifies expectations; sets public standardsEfficient, specific feedback concerning areas of strength, weaknessConvenient evaluation of both content and process learning objectivesEncourages self-assessment: use as guidelineMinimizes subjectivity in scoring; numerical values facilitate use in judgingFocal point for ongoing feedback for improvement
21 Other Ideas for Rubric Use Have students participate in setting criteria, performance descriptionsUse old student work as “data”Have students use rubric to rate own work; submit rating with assignmentOthers?
22 Examples: Linking Assessment to Learning Objectives Group Discussion and Report Out10 minutes
23 Other Ideas for Assessment in PBL Courses Group problem on exams (in-class or take home)Grade product from problemAsk questions related to problem on examConcept mapsPresentations or debatesPostersother?
24 Assessment of Individual Contributions to the Group Get input from both peers and instructorAssess more than onceFocus on constructive feedback
25 Sample Peer Evaluation Form Scale: 5: Almost always 4: Usually 3: Frequently 2: Sometimes 1: NeverName of Group Member: Your Name:1. Contributes to effective group functioning ____2. Fulfills his/her role responsibility ____3. Asks questions that help the group ____4. Listens respectfully to group members ____5. Asks groups members for help or clarification ____6. Completes assigned tasks on time ____7. Contributes ideas that help the group ____8. Comes to class and group meetings on time ____Overall rating of this person ____5: Excellent 4: good 3: satisfactory 2: needs work 1: poor
26 Sample Peer Evaluation Form Describe the one feature of (this person or your group) that you think has contributed the most to the success of the group.Describe one way in which (this person or your group) could improve in order to help the group work better.