Support for Development and Implementation of DSP

Have you considered Directed Self Placement (DSP) as an alternative to your institution’s English placement exam but don’t know how to move forward?

Maybe you’ve started the process but are in need of ideas on how to develop, design, and implement a DSP tool?

Directed Self-Placement in Washington
Support for Development and Implementation on Your Campus

Monday, April 16th, 2018
3:00 PM to 4:30 PM

Three SBCTC schools, Highline, Lower Columbia, and Whatcom, will provide an overview of their DSP tools, outline their steps toward implementation, and share their preliminary assessment data.

Take a closer look at:

  • DSP tools and platforms: Google Forms & Canvas
  • Tips for implementation
  • The student process
  • Assessment data
  • Challenges and solutions
  • Future directions

This will be an interactive meeting, designed for questions and brainstorming around campus-specific issues and concerns.

A huge thank you to Shannon Waits (Highline), Jeff Klausman (Whatcom), and Angel Ruvalcaba (Lower Columbia) for organizing this event, as well as for their leadership and vision in to create equitable placement processes and tools.

Sneak Peek at the 2018 ATL Conference Program!

You asked me for the full line-up of concurrent sessions at the upcoming 2018 ATL Conference . . .

. . . And here it is!

2018 Conference Program:

A few days ago, I wrote about the upcoming ATL being an “embarrassment of riches” in terms of amazing concurrent sessions that delve deeper into the excellent work being done by your colleagues across the system in regards to assessment.

Not only are you going to have a hard time choosing which sessions to attend in regards to assessment . . . there are four other Conference Strands!

  • Equity and Inclusive Excellence
  • Pathways: Design, Models, Approaches
  • Faculty Leadership for Student Learning
  • Frameworks for Improving Learning
  • Assessment of Learning Outcomes

If you’re looking for a mix of inspiration, practical how-to, access to seasoned practitioners, expertise, and, perhaps most importantly, finding and creating community around the intersections between our individual and collective work in the name of student learning . . .

The 2018 ATL is designed for YOU!

I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver.

Pre Conference Workshops:
Plenary Session I:
Plenary Session II:
Special Session on Assessment:
Behind the Scenes Look at the Conference Theme:

Lead from Your Heart and Experience Clarity

2018 Spring Assessment, Teaching, and Learning Retreat
May 1-2, 2018
Clark College, Vancouver, WA

Draft Agenda:

This retreat will have a focus (and an unusual take) on leadership skills for the ever-increasingly complex landscape of higher education.  As a leader for student learning, you will

  • explore HeartMath, a system of effective, scientifically based practices to bridge the intuitive connection between your heart and your mind—empowering you to self-regulate emotions and behaviors to reduce stress, increase resilience, and unlock your natural intuitive guidance to make more effective choices.
  • experience a two hour discernment process—Clearness Committee.  If you are facing a significant dilemma (a problem, question, decision) and are feeling blocked by your own “stuff” (confusion, habitual thinking, fear, despair), this process will help you remove the interference so you can discover you own wisdom from the inside out.

In addition, we’ll have a facilitated discussion (by yours truly) of the two assessment articles that have caused such a stir.

The deadline to register is April 13th, 2018.

Registration: Contact
Questions: Contact Jennifer Whetham at

Am I Using Shakespeare’s Name in Vain?

A few days ago I let you know about my distress about two recent articles getting a lot of attention about assessment. Part of what bothered me is how both articles took a very narrow and constrained definition of “Assessment” and then focused on the negative. Every year, the Assessment, Teaching, and Learning conference is about expanding and growing our shared understanding of what assessment is—and what it is not.

Every year for over two decades, the ATL conference has been a way to experience the positively EXCITING work being done in our system under the big tent of assessment.

The 2018 ATL is no exception.

In addition to the special concurrent session “Assessment ReBoot,” facilitated by the exceptional Pat Hutchings of NILOA . . .

. . . as well as a pre-conference workshop exploring “Authentic” Program Assessment in Guided Pathways led by Bill Moore (SBCTC) and Andrea Reid (Spokane CC). . .

We have a fabulous line-up of presenters who embody what works and is working about assessment in our colleges:

  • Follow-Up to Plenary I: “Our Lasting Work: How to Bridge Between Equity and Outcomes Assessment,” Deb Jenkins, Clark College
  • Follow-Up to Plenary II: “Using Transparent Assignments to Promote Equitable Success in the Classroom,” Judy Loveless-Morris, Tacoma
  • “What Does Student Success Look Like? Humanizing Data Through the Power of Storytelling,” Justin Ericksen, Whatcom
  • “Qualitative Data: What Does it Mean? What Do We Do With It?” Sean Agriss, EWU, & Ian Sherman-Youngblood, Green River
  • “We’ve Committed to Pathways, Now What?: Using Outcomes-Based Curriculum to Ensure Equitable Success Rates for all Students,” Gretchen Robertson, Skagit Valley
  • “Collaboration, Free Technology, and a Bit of Fun: How Lower Columbia College Created an English Directed Self-Placement Model from ‘Scratch’!” Angel Ruvalcaba & Amber Lemiere, Lower Columbia

When I think about these high-quality, timely, and fascinating explorations of what assessment REALLY is and can be . . . I remember a moment when I was in the tenure process at GRC trying to choose which Shakespeare texts to teach in a 10 week quarter.  The chair of my tenure committee, the amazing Hank Galmish of GRC, called it an “embarrassment of riches.”

While Hank will most likely be appalled when he finds out I’ve used a metaphor he used for Shakespeare to describe assessment, I still think it’s apropos here, because I know participants at the ATL are going to have a hard time choosing which sessions to attend!

Therefore, I recommend colleges send teams to the ATL and employ a “divide and conquer” approach.

As participants attend sessions, they build up their individual assessment literacy.  When they return to the group and share what they’ve learned (there will be time for this during a “sensemaking” final session of the conference, titled, “Wait!  Don’t Leave Yet!”), the collective assessment literacy of the attending group is bolstered substantially.  When they return to campus, they can provide “sensegiving” experiences to their colleagues unable to attend the conference.

My supervisor and trusted mentor, Bill Moore, calls this “Broadening and Deepening,” and it is one of the most useful benefits of attending the upcoming 2018 ATL Conference.

To Register for the Conference

An Assessment Confession

Two recent publications on assessment have greatly distressed me.  The first is “An Insider’s Take on Assessment: It May Be Worse than You Thought,” and the second is “The Misguided Drive to Measure Learning Outcomes.”

Rather than me writing a diatribe in response that no one will read, I want to provide our system with the opportunity to engage in a true dialogue (not just shouting arguments at each other) about assessment.  My goal is not to be proved right, but that we engage in the kind of professional learning opportunities that lead us to the kind of transformative change our students (and our practitioners!) deserve.

Furthermore, my assessment literacy is still very much in development.  Therefore, I asked Pat Hutchings, Senior Scholar at NILOA (who is cited in the second article), and arguably the foremost mind in the nation on assessment, to facilitate a very special concurrent session on assessment at the upcoming 2018 ATL Conference.

As Pat has worked with many of our colleges at Using Evidence for Improvement as resource faculty (and she attended several sessions at last year’s ATL to ensure her plenary session was responsive to what is actually happening in our state), this session is custom designed for our individual and collective context.

This unique opportunity will offer participants an opportunity examine an emergent model—an “assessment reboot”—that can help make assessment a valuable part of the regular work of teaching and learning rather than an add-on.

Read More:

Register for the Conference:

Learn How to Facilitate an Assignment Charette!

I just signed up for this FREE Webinar “Facilitating an Assignment Charrette: Providing Space for Faculty-Led Conversations on Assignment Design” an exclusive webinar presented by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

I heart NILOA; I heart assignment design; I’m fascinated by the professional learning structure of a charette.

I am going to learn so much! Come join me at 2pm ET on March 22, 2018!

Register Now!

NILOA has conducted numerous charrettes all over the United States and guided both faculty and administrators through charrettes at their institutions. This webinar will provide an overview of the tools, resources, and processes for conducting an assignment charrette at your institution.

Participants will leave this webinar equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead assignment conversations and gain access to resources to support them in their work going forward.

“At 25, Running Start is a Success . . .”

“Now it must attract students who need it the most.”

Please take a few moments to read this article about Running Start.

Jan Yoshiwara, our executive director, writes, “What a wonderful article about Running Start.  The students’ stories brought the program to life in such a personal way.”

WELA Now Accepting Applications!

WELA is now recruiting for nominations for the 2018-2019 cohort.

WELA is now accepting applications for the 2018-2019 cohort.  The deadline for applications is April 20, 2018.  Applicants should be at the director level or higher and someone who will be competitive for a vice-president or president position within the next few years.

The application process, as well as links to the application forms, can be found on the WELA website,  The link to the application forms is:  The opening retreat for the 2018-2019 cohort will be July 9 – 13, 2018.  Applicants must be able to attend the retreat.

Questions about WELA or the application process should be addressed to Cindy Hough, WELA Executive Director.  Her contact information is:  360-866-0069 (home office); 360-280-4767 (cell) or

Mark your calendar – the 2018 IGNIS webinar series begins next week!

flames on a black background reading IGNIS - imagination, genius, new understanding, innovation, shared knowledge

Join Us in WebEx
Thursday, March 15th from 2 – 3 PM
Improving Student Engagement Through Assessment!
Kelley Meeusen
eLearning Coordinator & Instructional Designer
Clover Park Technical College

All are welcome to attend! Please share this webinar invitation with anyone & everyone that may be interested, inside or outside of Washington.  The IGNIS webinars will be hosted in WebEx and will be live captioned.  The webinars will also be recorded and the links will be posted to the ATL blog following each webinar.

There is no need to register or sign-up.  Just click the “Join Us in WebEx” link above or below to join the webinar at the designated time.  Please sign in early to avoid technical issues.  Not sure if your computer meets the technical requirements, use this link to run a test meeting.

Join Us in WebEx

– OR –

Call in to participate by phone at 1 (415) 655-0002 (US Toll) and enter Access Code 921 473 608 #

Please visit the IGNIS menu on the ATL blog for the complete 2018 IGNIS webinar schedule.


ATL Conference Plenary Session I: How to Bridge Between Equity and Outcomes Assessment

Join us for “Our Lasting Work: How to Bridge Between Equity and Outcomes Assessment” at the 2018 ATL Conference!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018
8:45 AM to 10:00 AM
Vancouver Hilton

This year’s opening plenary invites you to explore opportunities and strategies to bridge the work of equity with the work of learning outcomes assessment at three different levels:

  • Personal
  • Professional
  • Organizational

Using a vibrant mixture of storytelling, case studies, small group discussion, and more, this dynamic and interactive plenary session will provide you with concrete and actionable tools to effectively infuse the risk-taking value of equity with the practices of learning outcomes assessment. As a key focus of the session, you will look at your learning outcomes with an equity lens.  Therefore, we ask you to bring a hard copy of learning outcomes for a course you currently teach, as well as an assessment.

deb jenkins headshot 2018 ATL

Presenter: Debra Jenkins

Tenured professor of Early Childhood Education and Psychology, Chair of the Behavioral Sciences Division, Head of Early Childhood Education at Clark College

Debra (Debi) Jenkins has over twenty years of experience transforming lives as an innovative developmental life coach, teacher and, presenter. Debi earned an Associates in Applied Science in Early Childhood Education with a focus in special education, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development with a focus in developmental education, a Master of Arts degree in Human Development specializing in Bicultural Development, a Master of Science degree in Psychology, and Ph. D in Higher Education Administration. Debi is also a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and the Intercultural Development Plan.