Assessment has long been a controversial topic in higher education, one that only grows in importance as the value of a college education increasingly comes under scrutiny. Previous generations of assessments have failed to produce consistent or actionable results, and even when the data is there, faculty can be slow to buy into the results. In an article titled “Closing the Assessment Loop,” authors Trudy W. Banta and Charles Blaich cited faculty engagement as essential in implementing meaningful improvements to student learning outcomes.
A recent Chronicle of Higher Education article referenced the lingering fears of imprecise accountability brought on by No Child Left Behind. Banta and Blaich wrote that while faculty are deeply invested in helping their students learn, they, “ generally perceive assessment as an externally motivated and bureaucratic process [and] regard it as something that steals from the time they want to devote to students.”
Fortunately for faculty, students, and administrators, help is on the way. Since 2010, many institutions have begun using the AAC&U’s VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) rubrics as a means to go outside the old standardized tests of previous decades and glean a more insight into how well students perform skills like critical thinking, communication, information literacy, and others. New technologies also allow campuses to collect data faster and more accurately than ever before.
The Chronicle of Higher Education article tells the story of Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Quality Student Learning, which brings together 900 faculty members at 80 institutions across 13 states. What’s different this time around is that faculty seem to be coming around this new culture of assessment. In the initial pilot study (the second year results are forthcoming), the overwhelming majority of participants in faculty development opportunities found the experience helpful, and more than two-thirds said it would inform their future teaching plans.
To learn more about how Credo Education is partnering with institutions to improve assessment and boost student learning outcomes, visit our new website!