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

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