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ERIC Number: EJ1132138
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
Big Progress in Authentic Assessment, but by Itself Not Enough
Sullivan, Daniel F.; McConnell, Kate Drezek
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v49 n1 p14-25 2017
First, the good news: due to increased attention from accreditors, the federal and state governments, and the public, it is difficult to find a college or university that does not have at least a nascent institutional process for--if not culture of--assessing student learning. There is also bad news: the existence of an assessment office or Assessment Day on a campus--even those that espouse and practice a learner-centered, course-embedded, faculty driven approach--does not necessarily translate into improved student learning. Despite the near ubiquitous assessment mantra of "closing the loop" through data-driven decision making (Fulcher, et al., 2014), there is a gap between doing sound assessment and improving learning. Why? For one very important reason: authentic assessment alone is not enough to ensure quality in higher education--faculty practices must change if college student learning of both disciplinary content and higher-order skills is to meet 21st century needs and expectations. This essay describes the most recent work of the AAC&U VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) Initiative that has been promoting these assessment processes for a decade (Rhodes, 2016). Next, examples from recently published research of some inexpensive, highly scalable changes in faculty student work assignment practices that produced strong, positive improvements in critical thinking in a multi-year project at Washington State are presented. Finally, the authors argue that the way the concept of academic freedom has evolved in American higher education inhibits the creation of accepted evidence-based best practices in teaching and learning like the evidence-based "standards of care" physicians have created to ensure the ethical and effective practice of medicine.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A