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    Michigan State University PFF project summary

    Michigan State University’s (MSU) project establishes “communities of practice” (CoP), to include graduate teaching assistants and faculty in eight colleges, ultimately developing a larger “MSU Assessment Network”. The Assessment Network will use three established programs, 1) The Certification in College Teaching Programs, 2) the NSF-funded CIRTL initiative, and 3) the NSF-funded (I-cubed) project, CAFFE, for guidance and sustainability.  


    Project Plan and Activities:


    • Convene a faculty/student/administrative team to educate participants about the alignment framework by creating assignments for the gateway and other courses in their disciplines. Key to this effort will be writing goal and objectives for developing students’ higher-level cognitive skills as well as increasing student engagement in learning.


    • Establish graduate student (plus postdocs) and faculty groups. Facilitate a meeting with the assessment and professional development advisory groups to discuss best practices.


    • Partner with cognitive science faculty to learn about current discipline-based research on teaching and learning and continue our cognitive science seminar series on this topic.


    • Support attendance of a faculty-graduate student team to the Feb/March 2013 AAC&U meeting on assessment. The Graduate School and the Undergraduate and Graduate Deans will support faculty from the (undergrad-focused) Residential Colleges and TAs. 


    • Establish disciplinary CoP that assist students (and faculty) in articulating learning outcomes, identifying assessment avenues for evaluating student learning, and modifying instruction to improve student learning in response to assessment results (Wenger, 1998).


    • Host regular trans-disciplinary convenings and disciplinary-based “slaminars”.  


    • Add a workshop session each semester to our usual career development/TA Program series focused on understanding the challenges of student learning assessment within larger institutional contexts. One session would also be added to the Certification in College Teaching Institute offered each spring.


    • Convene cross-disciplinary discussions (that include graduate students and postdocs) to improve models and promising practices for the professional development of graduate students as future faculty, with a focus on assessment of student learning.


    • Implement the alignment framework designed to assess the graduate student knowledge, attitudes and skills, and later, course-level impact for the assessment of student learning. 




    Assessment methods conducted by MSU will include, but are not limited to:

    1. Pre- and post-surveys to assess changes in attitudes and knowledge of how to assess student learning.
    2. A random sample survey of undergraduates taught by those who participated in the grant to measure course-level effects.
    3. CTTP participants are required to complete a final portfolio. The knowledge and skill development of the portfolios and the alignment framework will be evaluated using Blooms taxonomy.
    4. The placement data and experiences of students will be collected throughout and beyond the life of the project.


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