From the Editor

By Carey, Shelley Johnson | Peer Review, Fall/Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

From the Editor


Carey, Shelley Johnson, Peer Review


As institutions are asked to document the quality of student learning, the VALUE (Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education) project is helping them define, document, assess, and strengthen student achievement of the essential learning outcomes that stand at the center of the Association of American Colleges and Universities' Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) initiative. Recognizing that there are no standardized tests for many of the essential outcomes of an undergraduate education, the VALUE project has developed rubrics for faculty and institutions to collect convincing evidence of student learning.

While the word rubric has recently been associated with education and assessment, the term has an interesting etymology. According to Roman technical writers Columella, Vitruvius, and Pliny, in ancient times, rubrica was the name given to the red clay line that carpenters marked on wood as guides before making cuts. In medieval times, the term held particular meaning regarding religious texts and calendars. On those calendars, Saint's days, feasts, and other holy days were hand lettered by monks in red ink and called rubrics - the origin of the expression "red letter days." It is in the spirit of these two definitions that the term rubric is now used in an educational context - both acknowledging rubrics as significant measurement guides for teaching and learning and signaling the importance of this assessment tool.

In this issue oí Peer Review, we feature articles from a range of campuses across the country on their use of the VALUE rubrics to assess student learning and to engage both faculty and students in a broad range of strategies for powerful assessment.

* At the University of North Carolina- Wilmington, the use of course-embedded assignments and faculty leadership are the linchpins of a learning assessment process begun in the general education program. Four VALUE rubrics are being used initially across the curriculum. The attention to producing reliable results has provided useful information on student learning for improved pedagogy as well as evidence that supports the integral role of faculty in meaningful assessment.

* The Brooklyn Campus of the Long Island University, a private, primarily minority-serving institution, has found the Integrative Learning VALUE rubric to be particularly useful in helping students connect learning in formal courses with community-based (and life) learning, commencing when students enter the university. …

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