Common Assignment Update: Plans for 2019-2020 Academic Year

As a full year of piloting our common assignments comes to an end, we want to highlight our assessment efforts and what’s to come for the 2019-2020 academic year. We, the ICaP team, would sincerely like to thank all of you who have helped us in this assessment effort because we couldn’t have done it alone. There were certainly bumps along the way with our assessment goals and what it means to assess, but we feel that our efforts have allowed us to showcase the powerful work that our instructors and students create. From our successful pilots, feedback sessions, Spring 2019 Convocation, and our norm, read, and rate sessions, we believe that it was a successful year that has allowed us to collaboratively think about next year. Again, thank you all for your help and insight into this project.

The future of our ICaP assessment efforts will be shifting from four common assignments down to one: the portfolio. Portfolios were chosen based on several reflective sessions that we have had with instructors, norm, read, and rate participants, and especially the many voices at Convocation:

  1. Portfolios can measure all six outcomes instead of individual outcomes–which would require multiple common assignments
  2. They allow us to assess our new syllabus themes with a common assessment protocol already in place; essentially, we are able to tell which themes best fit students’ and ICaP’s needs.
  3. Portfolios push students towards metacognition with the reflective component, while also preparing them to work towards greater proficiency in writing.
  4. Portfolios allow instructors to continue a diversity of teaching assignments with only minor standardization in the reflective component.
  5. Students are provided with a product that can be showcased to future employers to demonstrate that they are able to write effectively in multiple rhetorical situations and genres, and are able to address multiple audiences that goes beyond the teacher-as-audience model
  6. The portfolio allows students to guide instructors and raters through their writing and learning processes instead of the instructors making those choices without student input

In all, the portfolio, in terms of assessment, allows ICaP to assess students’ ability to meet all six of our outcomes while at the same time placing the onus of learning on the students. For assessment purposes, we have standardized the reflective essay, assignment sheet, and components (e.g., rough drafts, peer review feedback forms, etc.) that are required.  By creating a commonality amongst all of our 106, 106Y, and 108 sections, ICaP is able to assess how well each of our courses are doing in terms of meeting the outcomes set forth by the Undergraduate Core Curriculum committee for information literacy and written communication. This rhetorical move on our part allows students to develop the metacognition that is required as they move throughout their general education and major curriculum.

The assessment committee is finalizing the portfolio assignment now, and we’ll share that with supporting materials here shortly.