Being primarily responsible at my institution for general education, program, and course level outcomes assessment, a project I helped to initiate this academic year has been the implementation of Blackboard Outcomes that integrates deeply with the Blackboard Learn LMS. In short, Blackboard Outcomes makes it possible to collect electronically samples of student work so that they may be evaluated – also electronically – against a rubric (e.g. AAC&U LEAP Value rubrics) as part of an institutional or programmatic outcomes assessment project. With the evidence collection and evaluation process occurring electronically, the reporting process is also greatly streamlined. Naturally, as we’ve implemented the tool, I’ve encountered a few features that I’d like to have that are not currently available. The most significant of those for Blackboard Outcomes is the ability to specify students from which samples will be collected. The full product enhancement suggestion I submitted is below. If you work with Blackboard Outcomes, I’m interested in your feedback, and your also making the same suggestion to Blackboard Continue reading
I have suggested previously that NO college level course should have learning outcomes that are written at the lower cognitive levels. Working from Bloom’s Taxonomy, a college level course learning outcome should NOT be to define, explain, describe, discuss, list or identify. College level courses should require students to analyze, apply, synthesize and evaluate new knowledge and concepts. They should be expected to use new knowledge, concepts and skills not simply remember or comprehend them.
The question or issue typically raised is almost always similar to, “Students must acquire basic skills and knowledge before they can operate at higher cognitive levels regarding that content.” That is absolutely true. However, my argument is that basic skills and knowledge are pre/requisite to achieving higher order outcomes; students that achieve higher order outcomes of a course will have implicitly demonstrated mastery of the pre/requisite skills. So, listing the lower order skills as outcomes is both unnecessary, and from an assessment perspective, undesirable. Continue reading
The difference between an outcome and an objective is critical. I have argued before that indifference to the distinction could present significant issues. Without the clarity between the two concepts, the development process could yield a long mish-mash of “outcomes” for a course that both complicate institutional efforts to report assessment outcomes at the course level and potentially erode the academic freedom, creativity and responsibility of faculty. Consider an example . . .
The previous post highlighted differences between Outcomes vs. Objectives for Institutional Assessment. As promised, I hope to further clarify the differences by engaging the next step in the institutional assessment planning process: defining and planning assessment methods for a previously developed outcome. Describing the assessment methods and measures, that may be used will further distinguish between outcomes, assessment, and objectives/tasks within institutional assessment.
I’ve written previously about the difference between outcomes and objectives. During a recent institutional effectiveness workshop, I’ve come to the conclusion that the same issue exists when assessing administrative units. From what I’ve experienced and seen, current institutional effectiveness and continuous improvement practices for the administrative assessment efforts lead to the same blending of outcomes and objectives that I’ve observed and noted on the instructional side of the house. A few examples and an explanation of how to approach it differently . . .