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Varied Approaches to Effective Assessment

At North Carolina State University's First Year Inquiry Seminars, faculty evaluate student essays using a critical thinking rubric. Other assessment efforts rely on small-scale, classroom-based techniques: peer review of course material and classroom observations, analysis of student responses to classroom assignments, and instructor reflections on course planning and implementation.

Holyoke Community College faculty believe that interdisciplinary learning communities are vital to the conversation about educational aims and means. These communities expose students to different disciplinary perspectives and invite discovery of larger connections. Faculty sustain the conversation about learning through student self-assessment, mid-semester small group instructional diagnoses, and end-of-semester reflective interviews. They also construct and disseminate their course/teaching portfolios to further the dialogue with peers.

Barbara Walvoord at the University of Notre Dame, Virginia Anderson from Towson State, and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati use information collected from course-embedded assessment activities as part of departmental program review.

At UMass-Amherst, we use assessment for teaching development. This effort includes a new student course evaluation system tied directly to principles of good practice and faculty networks that encourage discussion of connections among teaching, learning, and assessment.