What Are You Learning? And How Do We Know?
Through thoughtful assessment.
In 2007, the Luther faculty approved a comprehensive set of student learning goals, which serves as the cornerstone for our assessment efforts. Assessment is a continuous process of gathering, interpreting, and using information about student learning with the ultimate goal of improving education.
Luther’s goals for student learning are sufficiently broad that they can be realized across fields of study and course content. Progress toward learning goals is measured in a variety of ways–both directly and indirectly–so students have multiple opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Feedback informs discussion and decisions about academic curricula and student programming.
For example, one component of the ability to communicate is “writing with fluency, clarity, and coherence.” One way growth in writing ability has been measured is through a collection and blind review of student papers by faculty readers (direct assessment) coupled with analysis of student responses to new survey questions asking about writing skills and growth (indirect assessment). Based on the results of this study, suggestions to improve student writing at Luther included improved communication of faculty expectations and greater visibility for the Writing Center.
Luther’s Mission, Our Mission
As a liberal arts college of the church, Luther College seeks to insure that all students will grow in knowledge and abilities and mature in values. In AIR, we seek to make clear how the learning goals are being realized in the day-to-day classroom experiences of our students: how coursework is connected to departmental objectives, in turn, all-college learning goals, and ultimately, to the mission of the college. Assessment is the responsibility of our office, all faculty members, and the institution as a whole. We strive to create a culture of improvement.