Assessment, What and How

[My comments are in brackets]

Anne Zald talks about the story, Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni. She uses it to illustrate how we frame the information we receive and how our experiences can frame our learning.

This session is on the student experience. Our traditional approach to instruction assessment is usually measured in inputs and outputs. Hours, students, faculty, etc. Numbers. But these measurements do not reflect impact. Assessment does not have to mean someone looking over your shoulder in a 1984 (Orwell) way.

We should strive to develop a culture of evidence. How well are our librarians teaching? How well are they collaborating with faculty?

We do not always have to find numeric data. Even if we can only find a part of the data, a part is better than none. [Keeping things in perspective. Assessment does not have to mean whole.] Assessment is an ongoing process.

Assessment comes from a Latin root which means to “sit down beside.” Assessment can be formal or informal, it enriches our understanding, can be reaffirming, is not “extra,” or can act like a compass. [She asks the group to write down metaphors that help us frame assessment. I think assessment is like a map with uneven lines. (ok, simile, sue me) Information can be used many ways so I do not think the territorial lines are set in stone. We can take the information gathered from an assessment and use it for many puposes. It may help us to define the route of the river, or it may help us to build better roads, but it can not always be applied to the entire surface at once.]

There are two rules for assessment:

It’s all about the students.
Sdrawkcab – work backwards – what will be accomplished

5 Questions for Assessment Design

  1. What do you want the student to be able to do?
  2. What does the student need to know in order to do this well?
  3. What activity will facilitate the learning?
  4. How will the student demonstrate this learning?
  5. How will I know the student has done this well?

You can’t assess everything. You have to make choices. You have to be ok with making choices.

Activity: Using the Information Literacy Standards for Higher Education we have to take a paper topic and create an assignment, based on the ACRL standards, and create outcomes.

To write good outcomes, one should use the simple formula “in order to.”
Verb or Action Phrase + In Order To = Good Outcomes

[My own examples:
Search PsychArticles using the Thesaurus function in order to locate more relevant articles.
Brainstorm a wide range of subjects relating to a topic in order to identify the different areas to be addressed in an interdisciplinary research project.]

Anne talks about Bloom’s Taxonomy, which the large group can not recall off the tops of our heads. [Luckily, I copied it from Wikipedia last week after reading one of our assigned articles. My folder is passed forward and I am the dorky student for the afternoon.]

In response to someone’s comment, Anne says, “teaching is not telling.” [If we only show, we are not teaching.]

We do another activity, a smaller part of the first, in which we write outcomes for our assignment we created.

Each outcome should only address one thing. You do not have to assess everything. Only the most important things.

We wrap and prepare to move to another location for the duration of the afternoon.

–Jane, assessing assessment

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