There are many helpful assessment resources available on the Web, prepared by all kinds of institutions and organizations. The principles and practices of assessment are the same, whether one is training artists, engineers, or theologians. The Web sites have been selected as those most likely to be useful to those involved in theological education.
Those new to assessment will want to look at the following overviews or introductions.
The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accredits business schools. Its excellent resources on assessment include a simple Overview of assessment. The Assessment Process describes the steps involved in developing an assessment plan, with links to a glossary and examples of some of these steps. See also the Characteristics of Effective Assessment.
The Kansas State University Office of Assessment and Program Review provides a variety of resources for developing an assessment plan.
The Center for Instructional Innovation at Western Washington University has developed an orientation to Assessment and Outcomes in the Teaching and Learning Resources section of its Web site. This site explains more of the "why" of assessment and complements the step-by-step approach of the two above. Use the "Next Page" arrow at the bottom of each page to move systematically through the material.
The Assessment Manual of the University of Wisconsin (Madison) is often cited on other assessment Web sites. The helpful survey of Assessment Instruments and Methods includes brief bibliographies for additional reading on many of these means of assessment.
Clear and measurable learning outcomes are essential to an effective assessment program. A number of Web sites offer guidance in drafting good learning outcomes.
The National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis at UC Santa Barbara offers a brief tutorial on Writing Learning Outcomes for instructors designing courses for its programs. See particularly the list of suggested action verbs for various kinds of outcomes.
Other lists of verbs for different kinds of outcomes are available from the Adams Center for Teaching Excellence at Abilene Christian University (Learning Outcome Verbs) and the Centre for Learning and Teaching, University of Southampton (Writing Assessable Learning Outcomes) (a downloadable Word document). The latter offers additional guidance in writing outcomes statements.
Many statements of learning outcomes are based on Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives. Professor Gunter Krumme, professor emeritus of geography at the University of Washington, has collected links to Web sites on Bloom's Taxonomy. Faculty may find some of these of value as they seek to develop learning outcomes.
It can be helpful to look at examples of thoughtfully worded learning outcomes, even if they are from other disciplines.
- Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has been a leader in assessment and its learning goals for general education (Principles for Undergraduate Learning) are well done.
- An American Psychological Association Task Force on Undergraduate Psychology Major Competencies published a thoughtful and thorough guide to Learning Goals and Outcomes, with many examples.
Authentic Assessment evaluates students' learning in real-world situations (think of a flight simulator for pilot training). Seminaries typically do authentic assessment of preaching (students preach sermons) and exegesis (papers) but less often in areas like leadership, conflict resolution, or pastoral care. The links below can help develop authentic approaches to assessment.
"The Case for Authentic Assessment" provides a brief rationale for and overview of authentic assessment (ERIC Digest, ED328611).
Jonathan Mueller's Authentic Assessment Toolbox walks visitors through the process of developing authentic means of assessment. (The author is professor of psychology at North Central College.)
One tool for authentic assessment is problem-based learning. Samford University has developed a Web site on this strategy that schools may want to consider adopting for both instructional and assessment purposes.
A rubric is a guide to scoring student assignments. Rubrics can help clarify and standardize expectations for both students and faculty as well as identify particular areas of strength or weakness in student performance. The following Web sites can help faculties and instructors develop good rubrics.
The Chicago Public Schools intranet has an excellent guide to developing and using rubrics. Be sure to look at the introduction. The Rubric Bank has examples of rubrics from various K–12 disciplines. There is also a step-by-step guide for creating rubrics from scratch.
The San Diego State University College of Education developed its "Rubrics for Web Lessons" to help teachers evalute online instruction. The principles for rubrics are the same regardless of the instructional medium.
The California State University system has a substantial Web site devoted to assessment, including an introduction to rubrics, along with a great many examples of rubrics in various disciplines.
Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) are tools faculty can use to improve teaching and learning in individual courses during the term. (The definitive work is Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers by Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross.) Carnegie Mellon University has developed a number of resources to help faculty with classroom assessment.
Like any other discipline, assessment has its own vocabulary. The Web sites below define many of the terms that appear in the literature. More importantly, these glossaries introduce key assessment concepts.
The Outcomes Assessment page at the State University of New York at Potsdam has a link to a PDF glossary. (The same glossary, attributed to SUNY Potsdam, can be read on the Chapman University Web site.)
New Horizons for Learning is an organization promoting innovation in teaching and learning.
"Beyond Confusion: An Assessment Glossary" by Andrea Leskes, vice president for education and quality initiatives, AAC&U. Peer Review, Winter/Spring 2002.
Central Queensland University (Australia) has a Web page with links to other glossaries.