Final Papers Assessment Project Participation Influences Teaching and Learning in UCORE First-Year Experience [ROOT] Courses

Participation in assessment offers ways for faculty to think about student learning in the curriculum and about how to support it most effectively in their own classes. For example, rubric use and participation in norming sessions can deepen a common understanding of program goals among faculty, and, over time, can help focus instruction and improve communication and feedback to students. While difficult to capture, these impacts also accumulate and contribute over time to promoting student learning and more effective curriculum. 

Value of Faculty Participation. Each academic year, as part of the Final Papers Assessment Project, Roots of Contemporary Issues [ROOT] faculty evaluate a random sample of students’ final research papers from all campuses using a faculty-developed rubric. Faculty raters attend anchor training and norming sessions designed to introduce raters to the rubric and purpose, and calibrate raters to what student performance looks like on the rubric. In 2016-17, raters were asked to provide feedback on their anchor training, norming, and rating experience. Most commonly, faculty indicated that participation in these assessment activities changed the way they would give feedback to students, design assignments, and grade student work in their courses.

“After we revise the program rubric, I update the rubrics for my course to reflect programmatic changes. This keeps me more aligned in terms of grading and skills assessment.” — Faculty Participant

Figure showing the value of instructor participation in anchor training, norming session & rating from the AY 2016-17 RCI final papers assessment rater feedback survey. Out of 8 participants, 88% indicated that their participation changed how they will give feedback to students, design assignments, and grade student work for their course; 75% indicated that their participation changed how they will evaluate student work for a program and 65% indicated that their participation changed how they will teach students.

Assessment results inform continual reflection and discussion of teaching and learning; they contribute to decision-making that ensures effective teaching and learning. Decisions can include choosing to make changes, continue current effective practices, or build on strengths. Although not immediately visible, outcomes of faculty participation in assessment may include: changed thinking about a particular aspect of teaching or learning or how learning occurs; changes to faculty motivation or attitudes; disruptions to conventional wisdom which cause faculty to re-examine an issue in the future; or building communities of practice.

For additional information about how student learning evidence contributes to decision making intended to support student learning and quality undergraduate education, see Use of Student Learning Evidence. See Key Assessments for additional information about Roots of Contemporary Issues [ROOT] Assessment.