The assessment of undergraduate learning, and the use of assessment evidence to improve teaching, is one of the most important skills for advancing the quality of U.S. higher education. Yet learning assessment is typically a topic to which faculty have little or no exposure until they begin their faculty careers. This project seeks to enhance faculty involvement by preparing graduate students in the assessment of undergraduate student learning before they begin their careers. The project is supported through grants to CGS from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Teagle Foundation.
The immediate goal of the project is to provide graduate students who aspire to faculty positions with strategies to identify needs and opportunities in their classrooms and in their programs, to respond to those needs through enhanced teaching and learning techniques, and to engage with other graduate students and faculty in evidence-based conversations within and across the arts and sciences.
A longer term goal is the enhanced integration of skills and understanding in student learning assessment into the majority of existing professional development programs to prepare graduate students for faculty careers.
Several institutions at the forefront of learning assessment have received "accelerator grants" under the current phase of the project. Funded partners and affiliate partners are developing model approaches to enhancing graduate student skills and understanding in the assessment of undergraduate learning.
Through a competitive process, the following universities were selected to participate in the project as funded research partners:
An additional 19 universities are participating in the project as affiliate partners.
CGS has compiled helpful resources and tools for institutions, deans, and program directors seeking to enhance the preparation of graduate students to assess student learning.
In 2010, the Council of Graduate Schools was awarded a grant from the Teagle Foundation to explore the preparation of future faculty to assess student learning. The project examined how professional development programs such as Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) and other, similar programs might best train graduate students in the assessment of undergraduate student learning and the use of outcomes measures to improve teaching and course design. The project also sought to learn how such programs might catalyze broader cultural change within institutions and disciplines by supporting a generation of future faculty who perceive assessment of student learning to be integral to their roles as faculty and scholars.
The publication, Preparing Future Faculty to Assess Student Learning, reviews recent trends in learning assessment, reports on data from a CGS survey of institutions with PFF and similar programs, and provides insights gleaned from a meeting of assessment experts, graduate deans, and graduate students about challenges and opportunities for future action.
A free copy of the report can be downloaded here.
For more information about Preparing Future Faculty to assess student learning, please contact:
As the national advocate for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource for policymakers and others on issues concerning graduate education, research, and scholarship. Based in Washington, DC, the organization provides its members with regular updates and analyses of legislative and regulatory proposals and policies that affect graduate education.
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