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Assessment Resources

Assessment Resources

This page collects some various ways of connecting with assessment including faculty-authored assessment success stories, more information about some of the institution's assessment professionals and practices, and links to external resources.

Fall 2019 Assessment Workshop Series

Beginning in 2019, the Provost's Office and the Teaching and Learning Commons will offer an annual series of workshops on  assessment. The inaugural series will target assessment fundamentals for faculty. Faculty who complete the entire series are eligible to receive special recognition within Digital Measures. The first three workshops planned for fall 2019 are listed below; more details are forthcoming about the workshops for spring 2020 soon!

Registration for the workshops will open in early August.

Assessment Essentials #1:  Getting Started with Assessment

What is it we’re assessing and why? 
Robynn Shannon (Assistant Director of Assessment in the Teaching and Learning Commons) and Lou Slimak (Director of Academic Excellence and Assessment) will introduce workshop participants to the fundamentals of assessing student learning and dispel common misconceptions about assessment before moving on to an interactive, hands-on activity. The short introductory presentation will cover assessment at course, program, and institutional levels, assessment as a key step in backward, integrated course design, and how to use assessment results to improve learning.

Friday, September 6, 10:00-12:00, Downtown Library Room 104   

Thursday, September 12, 2:00-4:00, AER 120

Assessment Essentials #2:  Building Better Courses

How can I improve student learning in my courses?  
This workshop will begin with a short exploration of how courses can become more “learning-centered” through the principles of alignment of learning outcomes, activities, and assessment.  Participants will be invited to contribute their own experiences to a discussion of using assessment results to improve learning.  The workshop will conclude with interactive, hands-on activities for which participants are encouraged to bring a syllabus.  Presented by Robynn Shannon (Assistant Director of Assessment in the Teaching and Learning Commons) and Lou Slimak (Director of Academic Excellence and Assessment).

Friday, October 18, 10:00-12:00, Downtown Library Room 104      

Thursday, October 24, 2:00-4:00, AER 120

Assessment Essentials #3:  Refining Your Course-Level Assessments

How can I improve my assessment of student learning?  Why can’t I just use grades as assessments? 
Incorporating authentic, embedded assessments of student learning into your courses can be challenging.  In this interactive workshop, participants will be introduced to some assessment practices that start them on the road to creating their own embedded assessments.  A brief introductory presentation will be followed with a hands-on activity for which participants are encouraged to bring a syllabus.  Presenters are Robynn Shannon (Assistant Director of Assessment in the Teaching and Learning Commons) and Lou Slimak (Director of Academic Excellence and Assessment).

Friday, November 8, 10:00-12:00, Downtown Library Room 104    

Thursday, November 14, 2:00-4:00, AER 120

Assessment Stories Around WVU

Assessment Success Stories from the Faculty

Lucinda Potter, Political Science

I teach several fully online courses in political science.  Three require a final paper (POLS230 Intro to Pubic Policy Analysis, POLS240 Intro to Public Administration, POLS317 Interest Groups & Democracy).  Two of these (POLS230 and POLS240) are Eberly College SpeakWrite certified (see )

I used to give students the instructions for the paper at mid-semester and I offered to review a draft by request on a case-by-case basis. Unfortunately, only the best students requested a draft review. The others clearly waited until the last minute to write the paper and I found myself disappointed and frustrated by the poor quality. In retrospect, the paper taught the students little. I strongly suspect many were tempted to finish using any means they could just to turn in something.

I’ve since scaffolded the paper assignment into multiple parts:

  1. Write a paragraph describing what you want to study, explaining why it interests you, and asking one question you want to answer (very low value –10 out of 150 points).
  2. Provide a detailed outline (low but a bit higher value – 15 out of 150 points).
  3. Provide an annotated bibliography (25 out of 150 points).
  4. Provide a draft paper/report (25 out of 150 points).  As a bonus, submit it to ThinkingStorm for comments and earn an additional 15 bonus points (the equivalent of one letter grade on the entire 150-point series of paper assignments).
  5. Provide a final paper/report (75 out of 150 points).
I’ve found so many advantages to scaffolding – the students get feedback throughout the process (not just at the end); the students are more confident in the final versions of the paper/report (so there is less stress near the end of the semester); I can go beyond the standard course content with most students (if they are interested in doing so); the students have freedom to tailor the paper/project to their interests. In addition, ThinkingStorm takes over the grammatical tasks (freeing me up to address substantive content on the draft papers) and most of all the students learn skills that will help them regardless of their future career plans. On a personal note, the final paper/report is so much easier to read and grade.

Dueling Perspectives

Every so often Robynn and I will take extreme positions on a current issue or debate within the assessment community and present those arguments here. The idea is not to get you to adopt one extreme position or the other but to present the extremes as a way to help faculty and staff understand the more reasonable middle ground. We intend this to be a fun way of distilling some of the current professional literature around assessment with the goal of promoting reasonable and informed best practices; don't take the arguments themselves too seriously!