Core Assessment: A Quick How-To

As we approach the end of the semester, those of us teaching a class that has iterations of GV’s Core Curriculum outcomes are gearing up to do core assessment once again. If you’re teaching a class in the Core for the first time, you might be wondering what all this “core assessment” stuff is all about. Never fear-this post will give you an overview of the how and why of our core assessment process, as well as point you towards resources that will further help you during the process.

If you’re unsure if your course contains Core outcome iterations (CI, IL, WC, QC, OC, GA, or V), the first places to check are with your department chair or the catalog description of your course. You can also access the catalog description for your course from MyView by clicking “My Tools,” then “Faculty/Advisors” >> “Faculty Information” >> “Search for Classes.” Select the current term, and use the drop-down menus to search for your course. Once you bring your course up, you can click on the course number and title:

and you’ll get the catalog description of your course, complete with any Core outcomes associated with it.

Once you’ve ascertained what Core outcomes your course fulfills, you’ll need to make sure you have artifacts that demonstrate students’ performance towards these outcomes. In many 100-level courses, departments have common assignments that embed one or more of the course outcomes designated as the artifact to be collected for Core assessment. Other courses have multiple artifacts attached to multiple outcomes. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that you use the rubric associated with a particular outcome to do your assessment. Information about each of the outcomes and their rubrics can be found at this MyView page. (Click on the individual outcome to access its information and rubric materials.)

Grand View does its Core assessment using the rubrics tool in Blackboard. What this involves in most cases is creating an assignment in Blackboard for your particular artifact. For example, the artifact for my HIST 112 class is a synthesis paper, which I assess for student learning on all three of the core outcomes associated with the course: Critical Inquiry (CI), Information Literacy (IL), and Global Awareness (GA). So I created an assignment on Blackboard where my students will upload their synthesis papers at the end of the semester, and I’ve associated the rubrics for CI, IL, and GA with that assignment.

There are two important things to keep in mind as you associate rubrics with your Blackboard assignment. First, the rubrics need to be in a specific format in order to be uploaded so that Blackboard can “read” them properly. We’ve created Blackboard-readable versions of each of the Core rubrics, and they are available on the individual outcome pages linked from here. They are .zip files, and have a filename that reads like this: Rubric_ImportFile_Critical_Inquiry_GVCore. You’ll need to save this file to your desktop, then upload it into the Blackboard assignment for your artifact. If you aren’t sure how to associate rubrics with an assignment in Blackboard, there is a tutorial available here for your use, or you can access the instructions below:

Now you’re ready to do your Core assessment. This is a distinct process from your final grading (some instructors choose to grade with the same outcome rubrics, but many separate grading from Core assessment). With rubrics attached to your assignment, you can assess the artifact in the same way that you would grade with Blackboard rubrics. If you’re unfamiliar with the process, you can use this step-by-step tutorial on how to grade with rubrics in Blackboard.

Once you’ve completed and saved all of your rubrics, your assessment is done! Then, Blackboard gnomes crawl into the internet and remove your rubric data via a magical process handed down from time immemorial (or something like that. I didn’t write the code).

At this point, some of you might be thinking, this sounds great if you have an artifact that can be uploaded into Blackboard, like a research paper, but what about my class? My artifact is a speech/externally-created website/something that can’t be uploaded. What do I do? That’s a great question. We still need the rubrics to be completed in your course’s Blackboard site. If your artifact fits this description, you can still create the space in Blackboard to attach rubrics and do your assessment as described above, but the process is a little different. Instead of creating an assignment in the “Content” page of your Blackboard course, you’ll create it via adding a column in your grade center. It’s a bit more complicated of a process, but nothing that’s too difficult, especially since there is a handy step-by-step tutorial for this process as well!

Once you’ve completed either of these processes, your Core assessment is done. Remember, Core assessment needs to be finished within the week after final grades are turned in so that we can deploy the Blackboard Gnomes pull the data from the rubrics, aggregate, and analyze it. If you have any questions about the process, contact the Director of the Core Curriculum John LydenTiffany and Kevin are also available to help with any Blackboard issues you may encounter that the above tutorials can’t answer. Our ability to assess the Core Curriculum comprehensively and accurately depends upon everyone teaching Core outcomes to do this assessment for their courses. Thanks in advance for the time and effort you put into doing this important work.

Finally, this week’s gratuitous cute animal media is an allegory for this point in the semester, where I am on the left and the papers needing to be graded are on the right. STOP BUGGING ME, GRADING LOAD. I WILL GET TO YOU SOON.


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