Assessment activities offer ways for faculty to think about student learning in the curriculum and how to support it most effectively in their own classes and the program. Many assessment activities can increase shared faculty understanding of the curriculum. For example, the design and approval of measures by faculty helps ensure that measures are meaningful and credible to faculty and are useful in relation to the curriculum. Creating and reviewing measures also gets faculty collectively involved in program-level assessment.
ATL Mini-grant Project: In the academic year 2015-16, the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) received assessment mini-grant funding in support of their project “Assessment of Student Learning Gains in the Microbiology Degree in Alignment with Vision and Change,” which involved the faculty creation and validation of a new microbiology concept inventory that will allow SMB to measure student learning gains across the entire degree curriculum. Microbiology faculty worked together to generate a series a questions considered to be essential knowledge for students upon graduation and piloted those questions in a pre/post-test format to students in MBioS 410.
According to Bill Davis and Mike Konkel, the project leaders, “The development of the microbiology concept inventory generated an ongoing conversation among the SMB faculty that will aid in the refinement of programmatic assessment spanning from freshman to senior course work.”
For additional information about assessment mini grants, including examples of other previously funded projects, see ATL’s Assessment Mini-Grant webpage.