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To make a heavier pig, then it makes perfect sense to weigh it – twice – prior to feeding him and afterwards. But what if we more interested in the overall health of the pig, or, if our big is rounder post-food, or if our pig can make pig-fattening food choices? To answer those questions, assessors would need to consider a highly-attuned instrument or one that measures something different than the information a scale provides. In this presentation, we hope to engage participants to consider the how of assessment and in particular consider how we assess influences what we find out.
At James Madison University, we have a robust assessment culture. One example is the General Education program. This program is a recognized exemplar of an outcomes-based assessed program. In particular, the first sequence of courses (locally referred to as Cluster One) is completed by students in their first year on campus assesses students on writing, critical thinking, information literacy and human communication. In each case, we do the assessment work slightly differently and in doing that, we’ve discovered that how we assess significantly impacts what we find out.
Clarke, Kathy E. and Hazard, Gretchen A., "Should We Think About the Scale When We Weigh the Pig?" (2017). Libraries. 129.