Theological school deans are not just theological leaders for their institution, they must be EDUCATIONAL leaders. That is, they must implement sound educational practices related to curriculum, instruction, supervision, assessment, and administration. There is a variety of ways to assess the effectiveness of the curriculum, and there are several levels of assessment (program-level, course-level, student learning, etc.). While faculty members can focus on course-level and individual student learning assessment, academic deans need to focus on program-level assessment in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the school's curricular course of study. Here are ten basic curriculum assessment tools every academic dean needs:
Outcomes alignment worksheet
Syllabus assessment rubric checklist
Program retention and completion rate worksheets
Grade Distribution report
Entering student profile
Graduating class profile
Academic programs profile
In this series we will review these ten assessment tools every dean needs. Last month we reviewed the Outcomes Alignment Worksheet tool. This month:
2. The Syllabus Assessment Rubric Checklist
Aligning program-level outcomes with course-level learning objectives is a basic component of curriculum design; it helps ensure effectiveness in the program of study. A course syllabus should provide evidence of how the course's intent and learning outcomes support and align with the degree program goals. Course syllabi should overtly demonstrate how the individual course interprets the curricular program of study. Academic deans, or academic faculty committees, can use a syllabus assessment rubric to evaluate how well individual courses carry out the intent of the program of study. Using an assessment rubric can help determine:
1. To what extent does a course help realize the desired, published goals of a program of study?
2. To what extent does course work overtly support the realization of the outcomes?
3. What student products will be used to assess educational effectiveness and evidence of student learning?
4. To what extent does the course support program-level goals by translating them to demonstrable learning outcomes?
5. To what extent are learning outcomes and program goals grounded in an informed taxonomy of learning?
6. To what extent are course learning experiences or activities aligned with program goals and learning objectives?
The attached sample Syllabus Assessment Rubric Checklist can be adapted to your programs of study. Use the rubric checklist to review the alignment of course-level learning objectives to program-level goals in individual courses. The rubric can help provide feedback to individual faculty members on ways to improve the course in ways that align and support student learning toward program-level outcomes. The tool can serve as a way to promote dialogue in an academic area about the integration of the courses that cover that field of study.
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean, Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. Galindo writes for the "Along the Journey" blog of the Columbia Theological Seminary, and, the Digital Flipchart blog. His most recent books are Mastering the Art of Instruction: The Nine Essential Instructional Skills Every Teacher Must Master, Stories of the Desert Fathers: Wit And Wisdom for Today's Bewildering Times, Seeking the Holy: An Introduction to the History and Practice of Spiritual Direction for Today's Churches, and Theories of Learning: Approaches to Teaching and Learning for Christian Educators and Theological Faculty