The ASSESSMENT Primer: Assessing and Tracking Evidence of Learning Outcomes

By:  Ruth Stiehl and Lynn Null


PREFACE: The OUTCOME Primers Series 2.0
Once a Fad – Now a Fact xv
Distinguishing Our Work    xvi
PART ONE: Re-envisioning Learning and Assessment
The sea is around us, but the river is in us.
Introduction: Using the River to Think About Assessment 3
The Key to Assessing Learning Outcomes 15
Work Quality Assessment – What is It?. 17
     -Distinguishing Characteristics of Work Quality Assessment 19
     -Distinguishing Characteristics of Knowledge Testing 21
Creating the Rapids: Role-related Assessment Tasks 22
Adding Assessment Tasks to an Outcome Guide 25
PART TWO: The Purpose and Use of Learning Evidence
There are three very different reasons for assessing learning outcomes:to ASSIST the learner, to ADVANCE the learner and to ADJUST our own shortcomings; each requires a different set of tools.
Knowing Why We Assess Learning . 33
-Assessing to ASSIST 33
-Assessing to ADVANCE . 35
-Assessing to ADJUST (closing the loop) 36
Knowing What to Assess 38
-Assessing the Content (water) . 38
-Assessing the Learners (paddlers) 39
-Assessing the Experience (journey) 41
PART THREE: Defining What’s Good
The key to work quality assessment is our ability to first define “what’s good;” “what’s good” should never be a secret.
Defining What’s Good 45
Who Decides “What’s Good?” 46
-Professional Judgment 46
-Social Construction 47
-Learner Perception. 48
Prototyping Assessment Criteria 49
-Finding the Right Sources 49
-Gathering the Input. 50
Prototyping Assessment Criteria at the Course or Workshop Level: A Facilitator’s Guide . 51
Prototyping Assessment Criteria at the Program Level: A Facilitator’s Guide . 54
PART FOUR: Creating Assessment Tools
Scoring Guides, Checklists, and Rubrics—it’s all about creating the right tool for the right purpose.
Introduction 61
Creating Tools to Assist (formative assessment) 61
-The Scoring Guide 62
-The Checklist 68
-Putting it Together 72
Creating Tools to Advance (summative assessment) 72
-The Rubric 73
-Scales and Marks 83
Creating Tools to Adjust 83
-Learner Satisfaction Tool 84
-Structured Exit Interview Tool 84
-Learner Assessment of Instructor’s Performance 87
-Instructor’s Self-reflection and Assessment Checklist 87
PART FIVE: Tracking and Displaying Evidence
An obvious fact about the joining of two rivers is that it changes them both. No river that joins another remains unaltered.—Rebecca Lawton in Reading Water: Lessons from the River
Making the Case for Displaying Evidence 95
Differentiating Direct and Indirect Evidence 96
Understanding the Confluence of Learning Evidence 97
-Tracking and Displaying Direct Learning Evidence 100
-Tracking and Displaying Indirect Learning Evidence 105
-Using Evidence to Adjust the Learning Experience 111
 PART SIX: Using Learning Evidence                              
              Eddy: A place in the river where the current runs contrary to the main stream — an opportunity where the river is calm and the time is to reflect.
Assisting Learners: A Minor Eddy 125
Advancing Learners: A Major Eddy 126
Adjusting Our Practices: Both Minor and Major Eddies 127
 PART SEVEN: Continuing Your Learning
In Conclusion 133
Next Steps 133
Appendix A: Assessment Tools      
Outcome Guides
Program Outcome Guide: Gerontology Community Education Certification Program 138
Workshop Outcome Guide: Workshop for Adult Aging Traffic Offenders 139
Scoring Guides
Scoring Guide: Assessing Your Ability to Work Independently 140
Scoring Guide: Communicates Effectively 141
Rubric: Oral Presentation 144
Rubric: Online Discussion 147
Rubric: Research Application 148
Rubric: AEP 212, Alternative Energy Systems 149
Appendix B: Our Preferred Terms for Assessing and Tracking Evidence of Learning Outcomes
Related Readings 153
Acknowledgments 159
About the Authors 160