The Art of Teaching: Oct 19 - Nov 6, 2009

Learning Outcomes & how to evaluate the more abstract forms of learning

Learning Outcomes & how to evaluate the more abstract forms of learning

by neil SMITH -
Number of replies: 4
When we include learning outcomes like "deepened understanding", or habits of mind such as "develop fair-mindedness", what are the best ways of assessing and evaluating these learning outcomes?
In reply to neil SMITH

Re: Learning Outcomes & how to evaluate the more abstract forms of learning

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -
I like Andrew Churches chart for helping people understand the links between Outcome/Objective, activity and assessment.
In reply to Deirdre Bonnycastle

Re: Learning Outcomes & how to evaluate the more abstract forms of learning

by neil SMITH -

Thanks Deirdre for passing along the chart that expands the traditional Bloom's taxonomy with activities and updated assessment methods. The way that they have fleshed out CREATE is really useful - and great examples of alternate assessment throughout the chart. I still would add in what I believe are critical elements of pure inquiry into the EVALUATE category.. adding decision making, solving problems, taking positions, and most importantly the skill of justifying them....

My biggest challenge in my current teaching is the commitment to build into my assessment full opportunities for cyclical projects and assignments, where the chance to build on and revise first time learning and attempts is always built in. I thought that on the top of the website Deirdre sent us ( CHART) these words were right on the money... may be the most useful guiding paragraph for modern assessment: THANKS!!!

One of the best ways to function as ally or coach is to role--play the enemy in a supportive setting. For example, one can give practice tests where the grade doesn't count, or give feedback on papers which the student can revise before they count for credit. This gets us out of the typically counterproductive situation where much of our commentary on papers and exams is really justification for the grade---or is seen that way. Our attempt to help is experienced by students as a slap on the wrist by an adversary for what they have done wrong. No wonder students so often fail to heed or learn from our commentary. But when we comment on practice tests or revisable papers we are not saying "Here's why you got this grade." We are saying, "Here's how you can get a better grade." - Peter Elbow in Embracing Contraries


Thx for the great ideas...N



In reply to neil SMITH

Re: Learning Outcomes & how to evaluate the more abstract forms of learning

by Sylvia Riessner -
When I work with new instructors, I try to emphasize how important it is that they decide, before they start teaching, what level of learning they hope to achieve. What does the student need to utilize the core content successfully?

How will I know that what I set as a learning outcome has occurred (or will occur)? I would never use a fuzzy outcome statement like "deepened understanding". I would try and clarify first what I mean by the phrase and then try to identify the path I think learners should follow to get to that point. And linking learning outcomes to evaluation tools and learning activities is essential as far as i can see

A tool I came across last year that I found helpful is found on the APA website http://www.apa.org/ed/new_blooms.html#. Skip past the image with clickable links that don't work and scroll down to the Cognitive Taxonomy Circle.

I found it useful to think about the kinds of products and activities I might use, rather than dealing in vague statements of what I'd like them to learn.

S