Update on common assignment pilots

We are continuing our initiative to use assessment data to refine our curriculum and learn more about the success of our approaches to teaching English 106 and 108. Last Thursday, we held our second reading and rating session for common assignment pilots. This was the second reading and rating session led by ICaP assessment research coordinator Daniel Ernst, following a similar event working with a professional emails assignment.

We began by discussing the rubrics used to rate the rhetorical analysis assignments under consideration, and isolating potential issues for discussion. We then read and rated four assignments, discussing the results each time, helping everyone think about the rubrics similarly and also giving us ways to refine the rubrics on the long term. Readers then spent about an hour rating assignments, with each receiving at least two readings.

After considering the results of these reading and rating sessions and instructor feedback on the pilots, we’ve decided on the following process for AY2018–19:

  1. We will have a second generation of multiple pilots in Fall 2018. All ICaP instructors will participate by selecting common assignments, implementing them, submitting data for assessment, and participating in both reading/rating sessions and other measurements.
  2. We will use the same six assignments as in Spring 2018, but assignment materials themselves will be updated to reflect what we’ve learned from our pilots. Requirements for each assignment will be released by July.
  3. We will ask that instructors follow the templates as closely as possible. Assignment materials will describe permissible modifications (e.g. selecting texts or changing timing of deliverables).
  4. Assignments must be graded and assigned points. This helps ensure students do their best work. Individual instructors will determine how the common assignments are integrated into their course assignment sequences and grading structures.
  5. Rubrics will be provided for each assignment. Instructors can customize the format of the rubric to fit with the rest of their course (ie. point values, rating scales, etc.), and may add additional assessment criteria, but all common assignment rubric criteria must be represented in the customization.

The pilots have already been very successful in helping us understand how to balance the needs of syllabus approaches with the overall purpose of the common assignment: ensuring we have a data set from each semester which can be evaluated against ICaP outcomes and in comparison to other semesters. We have some more ideas about Fall processes which we’ll be sharing soon — not to mention the results from the assessments themselves.

We are grateful for the ICaP instructors who have been involved with this work since the beginning and we hope the strong participation will continue. Thank you to our readers: Parva Panahi, Allegra Smith, Amanda Leary, Ingrid Pierce, Mac Boyle, Deena Varner, Libby Chernouski, Julia Smith, and Joe Forte. Thanks as well to the many instructors who are participating in the pilots and focus groups, and to Daniel, Carrie Grant, and April Pickens for preparation, data processing, and continuing analysis.