Evaluation and Testing in Nursing Education

By Marilyn H. Oermann; Kathleen B. Gaberson | Go to book overview

Appendix C
9 Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning
The assessment of student learning begins with educational values. Assessment is not an end in itself but a vehicle for educational improvement. Its effective practice, then, begins with and enacts a vision of the kinds of learning we most value for students and strive to help them achieve. Educational values should drive not only what we choose to assess but also how we do so. Where questions about educational mission and values are skipped over, assess- ment threatens to be an exercise in measuring what’s easy, rather than a process of improving what we really care about.
1. Assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time. Learning is a complex process. It entails not only what students know but what they can do with what they know; it involves not only knowledge and abilities but values, attitudes, and habits of mind that affect both academic success and performance beyond the classroom. Assessment should reflect these understandings by employing a diverse array of methods, including those that call for actual performance, using them over time so as to reveal change, growth, and increasing degrees of integration. Such an approach aims for a more complete and accurate picture of learning, and therefore firmer bases for improving our students’ educational experience.
2. Assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes. Assessment is a goal-oriented process. It entails comparing educational performance with educational purposes and expectations—those derived from the institution’s mission, from faculty intentions in program and course design, and from knowledge of students’own goals. Where program purposes lack specificity or agreement, assessment as a pro-

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