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Framing questions for QUE
4 state systems; 9 four-year colleges; with major two-year feeder colleges => 21 institutions
Faculty development opportunity since faculty are invited to reflect on their goals and to find the points at which those goals contribute to the overall coherence of the curriculum.
The essential purpose of professional development should be the improvement of student learning, not just the improvement of the instructor who is involved in the professional development activity.
Professional development should be designed to develop the capacity of instructors to work collectively on problems of practice, within their own institutions and with practitioners from other institutions, as much as to support the knowledge and skill development of individual educators.
NPEC is the National Postsecondary Education Collaborative. http://nces.ed.gov/npec/sos_common.asp Learning outcomes are "types of results," while standards are "precise levels of achievement." Assessment is the process of collecting data/evidence about student learning outcomes through steps of establishing educational objectives; measuring progress toward or achievement of these objectives; and analyzing and using those data to make decisions about student progress
Barr and Tagg Change Nov/Dec 1995
A grade in a course is supposed to denote an award for a combination of effort and mastery of material, so that grading is an individualistic activity.  Unless a high rate of failure pushes students to complain, we tend to stop thinking about grades when the individual course ends.  Overall, grades do not and cannot communicate information about sets of courses in programs. Collectively, our members did see that grades are a poor proxy for learning.
Working on assessment of student progress through the curriculum leads recursively to examination of SLOs and assignments.
Draft learning outcomes are complete. They will remain as drafts and be refined recursively by subsequent work on later stages of assessments of aligned assignments.
In most disciplines, foundation to the major is laid after introductory core courses. Disciplines tend to have ‘book-end’ courses, with the final one being a capstone experience.
A baccalaureate degree represents both a broad liberal education and specialized learning; both are essential for a high-quality education.
Stage 2 is a work in progress. A hallmark of QUE work is anchoring assessments firmly in the department so that they are rooted in the core knowledge of the discipline. Designing assessments that relate to student understanding that is specific to the discipline has become the core of QUE. If an SLO needs sharpening then we modify it as an outcome of the continuous feedback that occurs on evaluating the assessment information.
Super-matrix is necessary but not sufficient.
Major (4): Outcome is fully introduced, developed and reinforced throughout the course. Students demonstrate an “application knowledge” or “understanding.” Intermediate (3): Outcome is introduced and further developed and reinforced in course. Students demonstrate a “working knowledge” of the outcome. Moderate (2): Outcome is introduced and further developed and reinforced in course. Students demonstrate a “minimal working knowledge” of the outcome. Minor (1): Outcome is introduced in course. Students have a “talking knowledge” or “awareness” of the outcome.
Not at all (0)
Limited scope of QUE on assessment.
We suggest that super matrix should be used to see where student is being assessed at major, moderate, … levels rather than course ‘coverage’ at major, moderate,… levels.
In this example we might want to examine Course 4 for its contribution to the program. Also, we might want to examine how we can give students more opportunity to gain mastery of Outcome 3.  Or are there too many opportunities to gain mastery of Outcome 1?
 
We have faced the difference in culture between two-year and four-year institutions. Faculty in two-year colleges typically have less autonomy than those in four-year. Further, two-year faculty typically carry very heavy teaching loads and have little time for involvement in educational reform. Four-year college faculty often believe that two-year colleges tend to emphasize skill development, literacy, and rote learning. Two-year faculty are sometimes defensive, having heard all too often the assumptions of four-year colleagues. Misunderstandings can work both ways, as difference in status shapes behavior. As a result, there is sometimes disrespect, often unintended or unconscious, and miscommunication between two-year and four-year faculty. One of the strongest benefits of the project has been the development of healthy connections across institutions. Success here, as in so many areas of work, demands a viable process and sustained attention to relationships.  We find that strong faculty leadership and administrators’ involvement are essential to bridge two- and four-year colleges. We also observe that faculty in all institutions want to talk about the needs of transfer students.
1. Mathematical Modeling
GPC developed and offered this course fall 1998.
Common Course Outline
Teaching Guides
Tests, Projects, Final Exams
Supplementary Handouts
Textbook Selection
GSU collaborated with GPC to improve the course they began independently in 2001.
2.College Algebra/Precalculus
Both institutions offered both courses.
We compared content and time spent on topics.
GPC spent more time reviewing algebra topics, while GSU concentrated more time on trig topics.
GPC realigned topics based on this conversation; revised Common Course Outlines for the two courses.
3.Calculus Sequence – I, II, III
GPC has been assessing the 3 courses in the Calculus sequence for 4 years and appears to be successful in this area.
GSU is working on course assessment due to SACS requirements.
GPC shared assessment instruments, analysis of results, and use of these results.
Expectations made explicit – helpful to students, faculty, parents, employers – other stakeholders Better coherence of degree – how courses relate to overall program of study – course learning outcomes mapped to program learning outcomes Student/parent better understanding of progress through course and towards degree
For courses, instead of mid-term and final exam, formative assessment
For program of study, can monitor development of student towards program learning outcomes A baccalaureate degree represents both a broad liberal education and specialized learning; both are essential for a high-quality education – QUE engages both disciplinary learning outcomes and cross-disciplinary general education skills, especially discipline’s contribution to cross-cutting skills
None of the progress could have been achieved without significant support and help from our disciplinary consultants – we worked with individuals form various national associations such as AHA, ACS, NCTE, NRC, AIBS and Carnegie scholars. Initiation of the project resulted from conversations with Ed Trust (Ruth Mitchell) and NASH (Jan Somerville). Susan Albertine (TCNJ) is the national project director.