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Making Assessment Matter: Changing Cultures, Improving Teaching, and Transforming Departments

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Abstract:

Assessment requirements frequently alarm departments and faculty: fear of loss of autonomy, distraction from primary departmental goals, and the creation of alien and artificial external standards all distract us from assessment’s potential. As a result, many departmental leaders believe that assessment will not work in their departments. This chapter demonstrates two distinct approaches toward departmental assessment, arguing that departmental circumstances should dictate the appropriate assessment model. The Structural Implementation or “Mission-Based” model begins with the establishment of a mission, learning objectives, and a subsequent curriculum; assessment is integrated into the very definition of the program. This model works best in young departments, liberal arts institutions, and programs heavily reliant on adjunct instructors. The second approach, Grassroots Implementation or “Question-Based” assessment, demonstrates how effective, simple course assessment techniques can easily become the core of a comprehensive departmental assessment plan. Building on successful classroom assessment, a department articulates a shared objective and creates a simple, non-threatening assessment process that could pave the way for more integrated assessment approaches. This model is most appropriate for larger programs, departments with many tenured and disengaged faculty, or programs with limited institutional support for assessment. If departments are able to identify which structure is most appropriate for their own cultures and circumstances, assessment may be more fertile and possibly culturally transformative for the department.

Most Common Document Word Stems:

assess (203), depart (126), student (77), department (66), faculti (64), polit (51), evalu (48), scienc (39), learn (35), approach (33), program (33), goal (29), object (29), process (29), demonstr (28), plan (26), univers (26), may (25), classroom (25), institut (25), make (25),

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departmental assessment, mission-based assessment; assessment concerns
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Name: APSA Teaching and Learning Conference
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http://www.apsanet.org


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MLA Citation:

Deardorff, Michelle. and Folger, Paul. "Making Assessment Matter: Changing Cultures, Improving Teaching, and Transforming Departments" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, San Jose Marriott, San Jose, California, Feb 22, 2008 <Not Available>. 2013-12-15 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245581_index.html>

APA Citation:

Deardorff, M. D. and Folger, P. J. , 2008-02-22 "Making Assessment Matter: Changing Cultures, Improving Teaching, and Transforming Departments" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the APSA Teaching and Learning Conference, San Jose Marriott, San Jose, California Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2013-12-15 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p245581_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: Assessment requirements frequently alarm departments and faculty: fear of loss of autonomy, distraction from primary departmental goals, and the creation of alien and artificial external standards all distract us from assessment’s potential. As a result, many departmental leaders believe that assessment will not work in their departments. This chapter demonstrates two distinct approaches toward departmental assessment, arguing that departmental circumstances should dictate the appropriate assessment model. The Structural Implementation or “Mission-Based” model begins with the establishment of a mission, learning objectives, and a subsequent curriculum; assessment is integrated into the very definition of the program. This model works best in young departments, liberal arts institutions, and programs heavily reliant on adjunct instructors. The second approach, Grassroots Implementation or “Question-Based” assessment, demonstrates how effective, simple course assessment techniques can easily become the core of a comprehensive departmental assessment plan. Building on successful classroom assessment, a department articulates a shared objective and creates a simple, non-threatening assessment process that could pave the way for more integrated assessment approaches. This model is most appropriate for larger programs, departments with many tenured and disengaged faculty, or programs with limited institutional support for assessment. If departments are able to identify which structure is most appropriate for their own cultures and circumstances, assessment may be more fertile and possibly culturally transformative for the department.

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