woman working on accredidation

When I first joined Virginia Tech, 我们离十年再全国十大网赌正规平台报告还有两年的时间,我的任务是确保大约240个学位项目符合全国十大网赌正规平台标准. Although we had a strong faculty and curriculum, many people weren’t used to setting learning outcomes and preparing for accreditation. I, 当然, realized I wouldn’t be able to accomplish this feat on my own, and began thinking of ways I could enlist the help of faculty across campus.

我创建了一系列的研讨会,向部门领导和其他领导讲授学习成果 assessment, 这将允许他们把策略和战术带回他们的教师和传播知识. 这篇博客文章代表了该系列的第一个研讨会,接下来的文章将涵盖来自第二和第三个研讨会的信息. Here is an overview of the topics:

Workshop #1: Identifying and Articulating Student Learning Outcomes
Workshop #3: Using Information Gathered to Improve Learning

第一部分,我们从一个简单的问题开始——我们希望学生在毕业后知道什么,能够做什么? We won’t even use the “A-word” (cough, assessment, 咳嗽), so as to avoid all the negative connotations and feelings around it. 问这个问题可以让我们专注于我们能做些什么来改善教与学.

In many departments and programs, no one asks this question. It’s an important one though, and while it may cause disagreements among faculty, it can also be powerful and unifying.

Take a history department as an example. 如果你问每一位教授,他们认为学生毕业时应该知道什么,能够做什么, you would likely get a wide variety of answers, 从古代文明的历史到最近中东的重要事件,以及其间的一切. I’ve seen faculty in shouting matches debating over such topics, 但是,这些争论可以很容易地解决,只要我们不再谈论死记硬背和事实. The outcomes I’m talking about are bigger and more important than that.

You are looking for three to five (yes, that few!) outcomes that are truly vital. 你可能想知道,当学生在他们的教育过程中涉及这么多的内容和材料时,你们是如何决定这些结果的……

One strategy is to start backwards. Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins wrote Understanding by Design, which approaches curriculum design backwards. 而不是一开始就决定你要教什么,然后把结果与课程相匹配, 试着从评估部分开始,再问一遍学生应该知道什么,能够做什么. 你可能不会因为你的答案而重做整个课程, 但是这种思考方式可以帮助你发展你的想法,也许还可以完善你的课程内容.

To give you an idea of the scale needed for these kinds of outcomes, we can look at some other research by McTighe and Wiggins. We can’t expect students to remember everything they were taught, 所以这些作者建议我们将知识分为三个不同的层次:

  • 背景介绍和背景材料(如果他们两年后不记得这些内容), it’s not a huge issue)
  • 这对学生来说很重要(例如研究技能,科学方法等).)
  • 持久学习(这是一个学生在课程结束10年后应该记住的材料,它比前两年的水平高得多. For example, rather than remembering facts of civil war battles, they have a complete understanding of the impact of the Civil War in America.)

最后一点,持续学习,是我们计划成果的目标. 让大家集思广益有助于拓宽部门的思路. I always used an example involving Virginia Tech’s fierce rival, University of Virginia, to help get faculty thinking during these brainstorms. If I was meeting with colleagues from the Biology department, for example, I would pose a hypothetical situation to stimulate their thinking:

假设你的一个学生在弗吉尼亚理工大学完成了生物学学士学位,现在正在弗吉尼亚大学攻读硕士学位. Now imagine you run into one of their professors at UVA the following year. 如果这位教授说你的学生缺乏某个重要领域的知识,或者不能完成某个特定的技能, which deficiencies would make you feel as though you failed that student? And alternatively, 你想让你的学生在哪些方面超越其他学生,让他们成为弗吉尼亚理工大学的校友?

试着替换你所在机构的竞争对手,在会议期间提出这个问题. A little competition may help spark new ideas.

After you’ve developed your outcomes, it’s time to write them down. Writing learning outcomes for such big ideas can also be a challenge. 很多时候,我们试图把太多的东西塞进一个结果中,结果却包含了三到四个结果,变得不可能测量. We want the outcomes to be enduring, 但我们也必须确保它们是可测量的,并将提供准确和可靠的数据. The SMART acronym helps guide our efforts in achieving both.

具体的– accurately states what the student will be able to achieve
可衡量的– must be able to determine accurately student achievement of outcome
可实现的– within range of abilities of the student
有关– relates to the key aim of the program
Time-scaled– achievable within the range of the program


Examples of SMART learning outcomes to inspire you:

  • Students will be able to demonstrate the approach, 逻辑和科学方法的应用,并能够将这些原则应用到现实生活中的问题.
  • Students will be able to identify, 并向外行人描述当地经济活动的重要机构和决定因素, 区域, 国家, and inter国家 levels.
  • 学生将通过正确使用至少三种不同的课堂笔记记录方法来演示掌握笔记记录技巧.
  • Students will develop a thorough understanding of the complex processes, communications, 以及与现场戏剧活动相关的协作系统.
  • Upon completion of the Study Abroad program, 学生的开放思维指数将会增加10个百分点.

You’re almost done! After you’ve written your outcomes and determined how you will measure them, make sure to write them down and keep track of them throughout the year. This is where a system like 织 can come in handy. 我们在弗吉尼亚理工大学使用了织,它帮助我们提供了学生学习成果的证据, 以及记录我们建立证据文化的持续努力.

As educators, 我们每个人都应该对我们的学生做出承诺,让他们在毕业之前掌握具体的材料和掌握具体的技能. That is what this work is all about. Focusing on the true goal of assessment (okay, I said it!) helps make the process more engaging, enjoyable and meaningful. 我们有机会确定我们认为对我们的学生来说真正重要的是什么,以便在毕业后或以后获得成功, and then work to achieve that ideal. I’m not sure what could be more powerful than that.


About the author: Ray Van Dyke, EdD, Senior Vice President of 织
With over 30 years of experience in education, Ray contributes valuable insight into higher education policy and research. As a former principal, Director of 评估 and Evaluation at a large institution, and accreditation reviewer, 他的知识为我们的团队和客户提供现代最佳实践和资源.


Want to see how 织 can help you simplify your assessment processes?

Fill out the form below for a personalized demo. You’ll receive advice on your current accreditation system, as well as an overview of how 织 can simplify your workflows, 改善合作,使您的评估和全国十大网赌正规平台过程取得成功.