Broadening Participation in the Assessment of Student Communication Skills Joan Hawthorne

Broadening Participation in the
Assessment of Student
Communication Skills
Joan Hawthorne
University of North Dakota
Today’s Agenda
Introduction and overview
 Assessment purposes and participation
 Break
 Sharing ownership
◦ Engaging faculty
◦ Building partnerships
◦ Student contributions
Conclusions and evaluations
Questions to consider
 What
do we mean by assessment?
 What are we trying to accomplish
when we do assessment?
 Who are we doing assessment for?
Assessment at NIU: A method
for analyzing and describing
student learning outcomes or
program achievement of
Assessment and the HLC:
Organizations assess student
learning in meaningful, useful, and
workable ways to evaluate how
they are achieving their
commitments and to act on the
results in ways that advance student
learning and improve educational
My own definition: Assessment
usually means the systematic
collection of information about
achievement of desired student
learning outcomes across a group
of students.
Where are the tensions at NIU?
 Assessment
vs. program evaluation?
 Assessment vs. grading?
 Other?
TO CONSIDER: What do you
want to get out of the work you
put into assessment? What is
motivating your current
assessment work? Who’s using
the findings? What would you
like to motivate any new
assessment efforts?
Possible purposes?
 Improvement
 Student-centeredness
 Decrease
insularity, inertia
 Accountability
 Because we want “students to get
the best possible education” (Suskie)
 Other?
So, focusing on written
1. What do you mean?
2. What will you accomplish?
3. Who wants this information?
THUS: What kinds of processes
should be used? And who helps?
How can this assessment be
conducted so that it does NOT
fulfill the negative stereotypes
about assessment?
What do faculty want?
Good assessments will
“…reveal common values,
provide opportunities for
inquiry and debate about
unsettled issues….”
CCCC Statement
“Who helps?” with assessment is
an ownership question. Who will
own this process? Who will own
the findings?
What is the across-theinstitution ROLE and
Who could be involved?
 Faculty
 Students
 Administrators
 Professional
 Stakeholders from “outside”
 Other?
TO DISCUSS: What are the
intrinsic motivations for involvement
in assessment of writing upon which
you could build? What roles might
participants take?
* consider for faculty
* consider for students
* consider for others
As contributors of
student work
As participants in
As participants in
As participants in
As participants in
To answer questions
Because they’ve
contributed student
Because they value
the learning
Because they own
the program
Because they’ll learn
things about teaching
As learners
As contributors
As criteriagenerators
As scorers
As participants in
As participants in
To accrue a portfolio
To get feedback
To learn
To take learning
To help with
To get a great
“Bringing students more actively
into the processes of assessment
may well be the most powerful
route to greater faculty
Pat Hutchings
What tools or strategies would
motivate your faculty to be
What tools or strategies would
motivate your students to be
What about other participants?
As Lee Shulman, educator and
author, wrote, “We are limited in
our recounting by the instruments
we use to count.” He’s right. And
assessment which doesn’t provide
useful answers to real questions
about teaching and learning is
assessment that wastes our time.
Who owns writing
at NIU?
Partnerships require
sharing ownership.
“OK, I admit it: I like assessment. I like it
because it encourages faculty members to
think more carefully about what they do, how
they do it, and why they do it that way. I like
it because it helps raise questions about how
our teaching strategies affect learning
outcomes. And I like it because in the
process we discover more about how our
teaching fits with programs and curricula
beyond our own courses.”
Theodore Wagenaar