The main take away from Pollack and Sanabria’s very practical “Creating Assessments from your Learning Goals” break-out session is that assessment should not be seen as a top-down endeavor even if it is being required from your administration. In Sanabria’s case, he began to experiment with clickers to see what his students were getting, and where they needed more help. He was able to reflect on his results, and not just his recollection of how the session went. Pollack and Sanabria urged librarians to find ways to initiate use of assessment tools because ultimately, these tools can help us think about and improve our own teaching. By assessing what parts of our lesson plans are effective, we can revise our curricula to focus more on areas that need to be better developed or that need more reinforcement.
Key points to keep in mind: keep your assessments anonymous, low-stakes and provide immediate feedback. Students learn better when they see the right answer.
Pollack and Sanabria had attendees complete a think-pair-share activity where we came up with questions that our classes are intended to answer and linked them to ACRL learning outcomes. Starting with our immediate individual goals will help make ACRL (and any other institutional goals) more concrete and help counter any feeling that assessment is an imposition rather than a practical tool and will also help the library articulate how its instructional approach is in line with its institutional learning goals.
During the “share” portion of the session, attendees suggested some very useful resources.
- Turning Point (https://www.turningtechnologies.com/higher-education), clicker software used by presenters
- Poll Everywhere (https://www.polleverywhere.com/x), an online alternative to using physical clickers.
- Kahoot! (https://getkahoot.com/), which enables you to create instructional games which may also double as assessment tools with the right terminology.
- Hunter’s Office of Assessment website, particularly the section called “Identify Course Learning Outcomes,” which suggests the best learning outcomes verbs related to lower and higher order thinking (http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/academicassessment/HowTo/AssessMyCourse/IdentifyCLOs).
- The Citation Project (http://site.citationproject.net/), a study examining why and how students plagiarize, and recommending reading and writing exercises to help students avoid plagiarism (yes, it was slightly off-topic, but it came up!)
– Daisy Dominguez & Stephanie Margolin