As educators, we must always remember the objective of education is learning, not teaching, and that teaching and learning are not synonymous. Simply because the information was taught does not guarantee that the students learned or what they learned. So, how do we ensure that happened???
To ensure learning occurred, defining learning outcomes for what students are intended to learn is the first step. Learning outcomes are not simply a list of the topics to be covered in the course. They are statements of measurable and observable knowledge, attitudes, and skills learners will achieve. At each institution, learning outcomes are defined for the entire curriculum, for a course, and for each lecture or class session. These learning outcomes are followed by assessment of learning. There is no true way to know if students achieved the intended learning outcomes without assessment.
ACPE recognizes this in the Standards 2016 with an entire section devoted to assessment and a standard pertaining to assessment of educational outcomes. In Standard 24, ACPE requires implementation of a plan to assess achievement of educational outcomes through systematic, valid, and reliable knowledge-based and performance-based formative and summative assessments. This is the assessment of the measurable and observable learning objectives for the curriculum, course, and lecture. This is not course grades. ACPE specifies the inclusion of outcome data from assessments summarizing overall achievement of learning objectives by individual students and the aggregate of students, along with tools utilized to capture students’ reflections on personal/professional growth and development. Luckily, a growing number of educational technologies make this task easier.
Wallace Marsh, MBA, PhD
Electronic testing has several advantages over paper and pencil exams. First, it allows an instructor to ‘assess’ the assessment to determine the overall reliability and validity of the examination and of the individual questions within the examination. Second, where tagging of the questions to content is permissible, it allows for the assessment of programmatic, curricular, and individual course objectives and the partial mapping of a curriculum. There are many electronic testing products such as Examsoft®, Questionmark Perception®, and an assortment of exam/quiz features within a learning management system. Two of the main challenges with tagging question content is the participation of the faculty to do it and the reliability of what is tagged. Options to address these issues include faculty training, periodic reminders to tag content, providing a guidebook to tagging the content and finally instituting a ‘coding’ check reliability process.
Margarita DiVall, PharmD, MEd
Rubrics improve validity and reliability of student ratings during performance-based assessments or evaluation of writing and project work. Best practices for rubric development should be followed to ensure evaluation criteria are tied to learning outcomes for a given activity. E-rubrics enable generation of not only grades but achievement of specific competencies, and allow faculty and students to easily identify areas of strength and opportunity for improvement. Multiple platforms exist for e-rubrics including learning management systems (e.g. Blackboard), experiential management systems (e.g. E-Value), and ExamSoft. When selecting a specific platform, consideration should be given regarding ability to map rubrics to learning outcomes of interest, reporting options, ability to aggregate data across multiple assignments in a course and across many courses in the curriculum. Additional considerations should include grading options such as multiple graders, self-assessment, peer assessment, etc.
An example of e-rubric implementation in a skills lab course at Northeastern University using ExamSoft platform was discussed. The importance of validating mapping, using assessment data to improve curriculum, and closing the assessment loop was emphasized.
Audience Response Software (i.e. clickers)
Audience Response software allow faculty to poll students during synchronous or asynchronous instruction and can be used as a formative assessment and active learning strategy. Literature has shown that polling technologies improve student engagement, motivation, and learning outcomes. Various software are available and offer web and cloud-based interface for instructors and students. When selecting a specific product, consider ease of use, cost, types of questions available, and integration with learning management systems. Presenters discussed their experience with several polling software products.
To watch the recorded webinar, follow this link!