Lehman College has adopted seven institutional learning goals or - institutional learning outcomes (ILOs) . Collectively known as Characteristics of a Lehman Graduate, these ILOs represent the knowledge, skills, abilities, and habits of mind expected of all students by the conclusion of their undergraduate studies at the College. To ensure that students are meeting these expected outcomes, the College engages in periodic systematic assessments of the ILOs. The following tabs describe the methods that have been employed over the last several years along with results from these assessments.
Written communication is defined as the development and expression of ideas in writing. It involves learning to work in many genres and styles and can involve working with many different writing technologies, and mixing texts, data, and images. Written communication abilities develop through iterative experiences across the curriculum (AAC&U).
Written Communication at Lehman College
Lehman College has a long history of promoting writing throughout the curriculum. Written communication is embodied in the College's seven Institutional Learning Goals - Demonstrate outstanding communication skills in diverse media: "Students effectively communicate with diverse audiences in diverse settings and through diverse media as well as use appropriate rhetorical strategies with different audiences." Students starting their academic careers are Lehman are expected to complete four course sections designated as "W - Writing-Intensive." At least one "W" section must be completed after the student has completed 60 credits. "W" sections, at all course levels, create class environments that provide students with opportunities to use writing as an essential tool for learning course material and for engaging in the academic and professional discipline specific conversations.
Faculty support for writing also has a long tradition at the College. Lehman's Writing Across the Curriculum program or WAC Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) is based on a pedagogical movement that has been evolving in higher education since the 1970s. It is based on the following ideas:
- writing is best learned when taught by the entire academic community in the context of each discipline;
- writing should be practiced at every level of education;
- writing can be used to promote critical thinking and learning. WAC strategies help students understand course content while expanding notions of themselves as thinkers and writers.
The WAC program has numerous resources available to assist faculty. Please refer to the WAC website for more information.
Assessing Written Communication
Lehman College is committed to providing students with an education that will prepare them to be successful in their professional lives. Strong written communication skills are essential, regardless of the that that graduates take after leaving Lehman. In fact, the ability to write well is among the most highly coveted attributes sought by employers. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, more than 80% of employers look for evidence of this skill on students' resumes.
For the past several years the College has used course embedded assignments in LEH-300 level courses to assess writing; these courses are required of all students after they have reached 60 cumulative credits. LEH 300 courses were selected not only because all students may enrolled in two LEH courses before completing their degree, but also because all students enrolled in these courses are expected to produce scaffolded written assignments. The learning objectives for LEH351 - 355 can be found Here
To assess writing reliably, the use of a scoring tool is highly recommended. Lehman has agreed to use the AAC&U Value rubric to assess written communication in many courses. This rubric breaks down the goal Understanding Communication in Diverse Media (i.e., written communication) into measurable criteria and allocates benchmarks to measure levels of proficiency. This rubric also helps to facilitate scoring student artifacts consistently and objectively. To be clear, faculty are free to grade student papers to derive an overall course grade; this can be done based on criteria established by the instructors. However, to provide reliable and valid results, a reliable scoring tool is necessary.
Getting started assessing student writing in Blackboard
In order for the College to aggregate student scores in a meaningful way, faculty use of Blackboard to create their writing assignments and to score students' work is highly recommended. To make this process as easy as possible, instructors participating in institutional assessments of writing will be able to access the rubric directly in Blackboard. In order to use it appropriately, faculty will have to take the following two steps:
1) associate the rubric with the written assignment; and
2) grade student work using the rubric.
Using a rubric in Blackboard is a simple process. Instructors may score any type of student artifact, including gradeable papers, discussion board postings, Wiki pages, journal entries, or blogs. As scores and feedback are entered into a rubric, they are automatically reflected in the Grade Center, which saves instructors a considerable time. To assess student artifacts in Blackboard, faculty must create an assignment and link it with a rubric, and then score students artifacts using the rubric. Please follow the step-by-step instructions in the following links for instructions:
Step 1: Create an Assignment and Associate a Rubric in Blackboard (Instructions)
Watch the video below: Create Assignment
Step 2: Score Student Work Using the Rubric (Instructions)
Watch the video below: Score student work
The following links also contain additional information about assessing students' written communication skills.
Quantitative reasoning (QR) - also known as Quantitative Literacy (QL) or numeracy - has been defined as a "habit of mind," competency, and comfort working with numerical data. Individuals with strong QR skills possess the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations. They understand and can create sophisticated arguments supported by quantitative evidence and they can clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats (using words, tables, graphs, mathematical equations, etc., as appropriate). (AAC&U)
Quantitative Reasoning at Lehman College
Lehman College has a long history of developing student's quantitative reasoning skills. In 2010, with the help of a CUNY grant to assess and improve quantitative literacy, the College established a Quantitative Literacy Initiative to assess the current state of student learning with regard to this core fluency and to suggest ways to improve the teaching of quantitative reasoning. In 2016, Quantitative Reasoning was adopted as part of Lehman College's third institutional learning goal - Demonstrate skills in quantitative reasoning, information literacy, and research: Students capably comprehend, analyze, interpret and present quantitative data. And in 2018, Professor Esther Wider was awarded a $1.5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to improve the ability of STEM faculty to teach quantitative reasoning skills to undergraduate students.
Lehman's Quantitative Literacy program is committed to infusing numerical literacy across the curriculum. The program maintains a website with numerous resources available to assist faculty for developing QR literacy in their classrooms. For additional information, please contact Lehman's QR coordinators, Naomi Spence and Mia Budescu.
Assessing Quantitative Reasoning
Quantitative reasoning is not the exclusive domain of math and the sciences. QR can applied more broadly and can be applied and assessed in almost every discipline at the College. According to AAC&U, teaching QR requires instructors us to design assignments that address authentic, data-based problems. Such assignments may call for the traditional written paper, but we can imagine other alternatives: a video of a PowerPoint presentation, perhaps, or a well-designed series of web pages. In any case, a successful demonstration of QR will place the mathematical work in the context of a full and robust discussion of the underlying issues addressed by the assignment.
Assessing students' QR competence can be done in any number of ways, including exams, quizzes, presentations, demonstrations, and written assignments. In the year's past, Lehman has assessed QR skills in selected courses using AAC&U's value rubric. This rubric contains six criteria (Interpretation, Representation, Calculation, Application/Analysis, Assumptions and Communications) and four levels of proficiency. The rubric may be used to score student artifacts such as writing assignments. In addition, there are numerous resources online on assessing quantitative reasoning skills. Among the most useful are:
Information Literacy is the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively and responsibly use and share that information for the problem at hand - adopted from the National Forum on Information Literacy.
An information literate individual is able to:
- Determine the extent of the information needed
- Access the needed information effectively and efficiently
- Evaluate information and its sources critically
- Incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base
- Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose
- Understand the economic, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information, and access and use information ethically and legally.
Information literacy skills modules
Lehman College has identified Information Literacy skills as one of its seven institutional learning goals, meaning all Lehman students are expected to become information literate individuals by the time they finish their studies. To help students become better information consumers and "users", the Lehman College Library has developed series of four online modules to assist students.
Module 1 -- Defining your Research
- Identifying scope and key concepts of an assigned research question
- Selecting sources that are related to these concepts
Module 2 -- Evaluating your Sources
- Defining criteria for selecting information sources
- Using these criteria to evaluate appropriate sources
Module 3 -- Finding Articles
- Identifying and brainstorming good keyword terms for a research question
- Using a database to construct an advanced search by combining search terms, using
filters and subject terms, and employing synonyms
Module 4 -- Citation
- Identifying appropriate circumstances in which to cite a source
- Defining paraphrasing and identifying appropriate paraphrasing examples
- Recognizing the difference between in-text citations and works cited pages/reference lists/bibliographies
Assessing Information Literacy Skills - Information for Instructors
To assess students information literacy skills, faculty do not have to score student work with a rubric. Instead, instructors should inform students of the importance of information literacy skills and provided them with step-by-step instructions on how to access the tutorial. The tutorial consists of the four videos and a 20-item quiz. Upon successful completion of the tutorial, students can receive a certificate -- a digital badge -- that can share with future employers and posted to social media profiles.
At your discretion, you may also elect to provide extra credit for completing the tutorial. Students can email or print their badge as evidence of completion. Instructions on how to access the tutorial are posted HERE. (Note. students will be accessing the tutorial in a separate Blackboard course, not your own).
Assessing Information Skills - Directions for Students
In order to access the information literacy modules, students must enroll in the Information Literacy course in Blackboard that has been established for this purpose. Step-by-step directions on how to enroll in the course are provided on the following page - http://www.lehman.edu/academics/literacy-course-enrollment.php. The directions describe the steps that must be taken to access the modules, take the quiz and to claim you digital bade. They are also provided in the Blackboard course.
Step 1 - Review the Information Literacy Tutorial
Once enrolled in the tutorial, students should view each of the four modules in succession and answer the questions as they move along. Each module takes about 15 minutes to complete.
Step 2 - Take a Quiz
At the conclusion of the fourth module, there is an 20-item quiz to test your knowledge on the information you have just viewed. Click on Take the Quiz. Save your answers to each question as you proceed. Click Save and Submit when finished. You may take the quiz up to two times.
Step 3 - Claim Your Digital Badge
Once you have successfully taken the test, please follow these instructions to claim your Information Literacy Badge.
Go to https://lehman.credly.com/sign-in to create an account, if you do not have one yet or sign in.
Once you are logged in, click on Claim in the top right corner and enter the Claim Code. You will see the Claim Code in STEP 3: Claim Code once you have completed Step 2: Take a Quiz
Your badge is portable and includes the details of your accomplishment. When you choose to make your badge visible to others, they can see what it took for you to earn your achievement. You can easily share your badge on social and professional sites. You can also send a link to it by email, add it in an e-mail signature, blog or website. Instructions for sharing your badge are here. Lehman is proud of your accomplishments and we hope you will maximize the benefits of your achievement by sharing your success with others. Enjoy putting your credential to work.