Assessing Student Learning: A Collection of Evaluation Tools

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Assessing Student Learning: A Collection of Evaluation Tools

Literature Advancement; Introduction — Hypothesis; Method; Results; Discussion; andScientific Writing Style), which could be scored as meeting one of three well-definedachievement levels: Exceptional (4 points); Effective to Less Effective (3 or 2 points); andUnsatisfactory (1 or 0 points). Additionally, each section was weighted: The Abstract, forexample, was weighted x2, so that an exceptional abstract earned 8 pts (2 x 4).Working together and assisted by the participants in the 2007 Developmental ScienceAssessing student learning6Teaching Workshop, the three authors of this measure (GMG, JRV, and KEJ) then modified thisrubric, adding content from the other examples and emphasizing the proficiency levelsarticulated in Halonen et al.’s (2003) paper on assessing scientific inquiry in psychology. First,we identified three distinct areas of focus: research skills (i.e., descriptive, conceptualization,and problem solving skills domains, including the presentation of a theoretically ormethodologically interesting hypothesis, a clean design, and appropriate analytical tools);communication skills (i.e., the content and clarity of the written report, including selection ofrelevant and current empirical articles presented in an organized and clear theoretical framework),and the use of APA style and formatting. We then expanded the topic list to address 16 distinctcomponents of an empirical paper. Divisions beyond the original 8 were primarily in the methodsection (e.g., separately evaluating participants, materials, procedure, and design) and regardingwriting style and APA formatting.Next, to differentiate among “Effective” and “Less Effective” responses, we added afourth proficiency level. Our new rubric thus included Advanced, Effective/Developing, Lesseffective/Introductory, and Poor categories. Importantly, we used a criterion-referenced, ratherthan a norm-referenced, approach to assessment: Our Advanced level of performance was notequated with earning an A but rather with the highest standard of the field of psychology. The

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