New research shows the potential of non-exam student assessment
- More colleges should consider measuring student achievement with metrics of writing, critical thinking skills and quantitative reasoning, according to a new study from the Association of American Colleges & Universities.
- A content analysis of more than 20,000 examples of student-submitted writing assignments measured their ability to use evidence, logic and context in discussing specific topics. The results showed that most students were strong in showcasing context and purpose in writing, but left room for improvement in areas such as showing evidence, explaining issues and analyzing data.
- Supporters of the research say that using these areas of assessment, instead of measuring how well students remember content points, would offer better predictive data on how well a graduate will function in professional settings.
Colleges should be intimately concerned with the capacity of graduates to make meaningful contributions in the workforce, as this outcome directly reflects upon institutional effectiveness and, on a long-term basis, its capacity to turn graduates into dependable benefactors of the institution.
Provosts and deans who maintain solid systems of ensuring accreditation standards are met should also work with industrial leaders in their communities to determine which skills are necessary for graduates to find placement and career mobility after leaving the school. These standards, which are just as important as educational rigor and assessment for accreditation review, should be the focus of programs and colleges throughout the higher education landscape.
- Inside Higher Ed Large scale assessment without standardized tests