Assessing Basic Academic Skills in Higher Education: The Texas Approach

By Richard T. Alpert; William Phillip Gorth et al. | Go to book overview

Assessment is Learning
Assessment should be used to involve students in their learning and to improve the teaching-learning process.
Identify specific and measurable learning objectives; communicate clear expectations about intended performance to students long before the actual time of assessment.
Match learning objectives with appropriate instructional strategies that include opportunities for practice and feedback about student performance.
Vary instructional strategies to accommodate students' differing learning styles.
Involve faculty in all phases of assessment--from specifying learning objectives and making appropriate adjustments in teaching approaches to judging performance.
Provide timely, descriptive, and positive feedback that focuses on what students can do to improve. This is especially important in early assessments and with minority students who may have multiple learning deficiencies that overwhelm them. Later assessments can emphasize performance in relation to past work and to ability.
Design remediation, counseling, and other support services to assist students in overcoming weaknesses identified in the assessment process. Use clubs, organizations, and campus activities to help students apply what was learned in their coursework.
Tie assessment data to instructional and program improvement; create a college environment where assessment is integral to the curriculum.

Minority Involvement in Assessment

Essential to the success of the measures mentioned above is adequate representation by minorities in faculty pools. Concerted efforts must be made to recruit, retain, and promote minority faculty who can serve as mentors and role models to minority college students and who will be part of the assessment team.


Conclusion

The real challenge to higher education institutions is to design comprehensive assessment programs that result in student profiles that provide multiple sources of information on student abilities, levels of motivation, cultural background, and parental and peer support for learning. Such assessment programs should go beyond standardized tests to provide information on the student's family

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