Assessment of Student Learning

On October 21, 2006, Ryan Kelsey, Associate Director of Education & Research at Columbia University, provided a workshop for River Summer participants and Environmental Consortium members on designing tools for gathering "Meaningful feedback and assessment of student learning".

Ryan stressed the need for establishing course or program goals that are measurable through clear demonstration. Avoid words like "student will understand" and replace with activities that would demonstrate that understanding. In courses with multiple goals he suggested the creation of a grid framework with goals listed along one axis and the various class sessions or labs along the other axis. Instructors can then mark which goals are achieved by which activities to ensure that all the program goals are addressed in the course layout. A summary of four main goal types with suggested instruments for assessment were provided to attendees.

While the following documents were created for River Summer they can be easily tailored to any class use.

Meaningful Feedback and Assessment of Student Learning (ppt)

Design Your Own Feedback (pdf) This document is intended to help River Summer instructors design their own feedback form for their module. The River Summer program will require all module participants to fill out a general feedback form, but if you want help designing an assessment for your module (i.e. a test to see what your participants learned) OR to get specific feedback about the concepts and activities in your module, this document will guide you through various options for eliciting useful information from the participants.