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The Foundation for Critical Thinking (FCT) held its annual conference from July 19-24 in Berkeley, California. Similar to the annual Higher Learning Commission conference, the Berkeley event was primarily comprised of concurrent sessions, many of which dealt with fostering and assessing critical thinking in the classroom. Some sessions were interdisciplinary while others were discipline-specific. Additionally, during the weekend prior to the main conference, first-time attendees were invited to attend a preconference designed to familiarize newcomers with the FCT’s in-house critical thinking model.
American’s Next Top “Model”?
questions, point of view, etc.) fundamental role in thinking so they may assess the quality of critical thought using the standards (e.g. accuracy, clarity, etc.) and then foster sound, ethical thought and action by promoting desirable intellectual traits (e.g. intellectual perseverance, intellectual humility, etc.). Furthermore, this model envisions critical thinking as a “self-corrective” process; that is, using the standards to assess our critical thinking affords us the opportunity to improve that ability. Of all the information I came across at the conference, the idea that critical thinking is self-corrective resonated with me the most. dents can be given a handout that will ask them to use the standards included in the model to judge the soundness and viability of their question. The standards could also be used to structure a guide for peer or self-critique of an essay. In fact, there are any number of ways to apply the model, another reason why it’s an appealing one.
Chair - Claire Stuart-Quintanilla, Chair, Social Science Co-Chair - Jane Reynolds, Director, Respiratory Care Archivist - Lois Collins, Biology Treasurer - Hope Essien, Chair, Mathematics Recorder - Stephanie Owen, Library **** Edna Boone, Physics, Chemistry Akiza Boddie-Willis, College Advisor Adam Callery, Chair, Business Michael Callon, Co-Chair, CFA Jose Diaz, Manager, Adult Education Helen Doss, Chair, CFA Boniface Ekpenyong, Chair, Physics, Chemistry Luc Elie, Chair, Department of Career & Health Sciences Byron Javier, Assistant Dean, Research and Planning Ahmed Khan, Nephrology/Renal Technology Ali Khan, Nephrology/Renal Technology Marietta McDuffy, Director, Surgical Technology ++ Nelita Mateo, Surgical Technology Joshua Oladipo, Physics Kelly O’Malley, Vice-President, Academic Affairs Lisa Owens, CFA Carmen Penedo-Hovanec, Nursing Athena Porter, Psychology Kathy Rayford, Director, Physician Assistant Program David St. John, Mathematics Henry Velarde, Business Sheila Wicks, Biology Alta Williams, Dean of Career Programs and Health Science
MALCOLM X COLLEGE
V O L U M E 1 , I S S U E 2 F A L L 2 0 0 8
Interim President Brooks Administration Corner Claire Stuart-Quintanilla Department Assessment Plan Stephanie Owen Assessment Day Jane Reynolds Student Learning Project Michael Callon America’s Next Top “Model”? — Critical Thinking Conference Stephanie Owen Book Review: The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools by Richard Paul and Linda Elder
Department Assessment Plans
By Claire Stuart-Quintanilla
In preparation for the HLC site visit in November 2007, department chairs and program directors wrote assessment plans to submit to the visiting team. They spent the summer of 2007 meeting weekly to draft those plans. statement if they don’t already have one. Each mission statement should be based on the college’s general education philosophy statement and mission statement. In order to assess student learning, instructors must have expected outcomes of that learning to Now, the departments and measure. To this end, each programs must implement department and program will them, and the Assessment develop department- or proCommittee will oversee gram-level SLOs and will Revising and implementthis process. However, standardize course-level many of the plans must be ing department and proSLOs across all sections of grams plans involves many courses. (Mission statements revised before they can be implemented. In addition to separate processes. Before and SLOs should be comwe begin the assessment, the Student Learning Propleted by January 2009.) each department or project, another large part of gram will write a mission the Assessment Commit(continues on page 2) tee’s work in the 20082009 academic year will be working with the department and program representatives on revising and implementing their assessment plans. These assessment outcomes will be included in the reports MXC files semi-annually with the HLC Academy for the Assessment of Student Learning.
I find this model interesting because it is both nuanced and sensitive to the importance of fostering selfassessing critical thinkers who are interested in the quality and depth of their thoughts. It is one thing to engage in critical thinking and another to do so in a The model is comprised of way that fosters improving three multifaceted yet inter- I am currently working to how well we are able to find ways to implement the related components: elethink critically, and isn’t model in the composition ments of thought, stancourses I teach. One idea I this one of the common dards, and intellectual have is to use it in English learning goals we set, retraits. In a nutshell, the gardless of discipline, for FCT suggests that teachers 102 as the basis for evaluating the effectiveness of a our students? and students need to be aware of the elements’ (e.g. research question. StuBOOK REVIEW
By Stephanie Owen
The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and Tools, By Richard Paul and Linda Elder. Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2006, 23 pp. $4.00
By Stephanie Owen
men Penedo-Hovanec from Nursing.
Michael White, Director, Radiography Dennis Whiteside, Coordinator, PCI Lisa Willis, Interim Dean of Instructions
Critical thinking is “that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem – in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.” The goal is to improve the analysis and evaluation of thinking through tools and concepts outlined in this slim volume, which is designed for instructors and students interested in improving their learning and understanding on any subject. Some key chapters include: “Three levels of thought,” “Three kinds of questions,” and “What critical thinkers routinely do.”
HLC Academy Members HLC Academy Team Leader
Editors: Akiza Boddie-Willis, Stephanie Owen, & Claire Stuart-Quintanilla
Assessment Day was held October 21, 2008. The goal was to increase student, faculty, and staff awareness of assessment in the learning process, update the MXC community about the Assessment Committee activities and promote the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Academy’s Student Learning Project. The SLP focuses on assessing critical thinking at the classroom level. However,
the main purpose was to emphasize the importance of assessment in everyday life.
Some of you may have noticed red and black cats cut The subcommittee for the from construction paper. The inaugural event was made cat image represents CATS, up of Assessment Commit- an acronym for Classroom tee faculty members: Dr. Assessment Techniques, Lois Collins from Biology, which are techniques used to gauge the level of learning in Ali Khan from Renal/ the classroom. Nephrology, Marietta McDuffy from Surgical (continues on page 2) Tech, Stephanie Owen from the Library, and Car-
Department and Assessment Plan (cont.)
Many departments and programs have already begun this process. To assist departments and programs in revising their plans, the Assessment Committee is creating a template. This will standardize the format of the assessment plans and help those who have never written a plan before to do so. The template for assessment plans will include: ◊ Department or program mission statements and SLOs, which should have a connection to MXC’s general education outcomes and mission
Welcome back students and faculty to another fantastic academic year! The College has made tremendous progress in so many areas, e.g. enrollment increases, resource development, and staff achievement. One of the most important areas of focus and success has been in assessment. I want to thank the leadership provided by the Assessment Committee in general and the Chairperson in particular. We are now a few weeks away from our one year anniversary of receiving the maximum 10 year reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission for the second straight time. The Committee and Chairperson have worked hard these past few months to actualize assessment as a part of our culture. We believe so strongly in assessment, and its benefits to our students and the faculty, that we have incorporated it into our mission statement. That is precisely why this academic year is so important. We must make the College family and our community aware of what assessment is and what we are doing to make assessment a part of our culture. I commend the committee for its first Assessment Day. The activities of this event will contribute to making everyone aware of assessment and its role at Malcolm X College to enhance the teaching and learning process and to improve student success in completing course, program, and degree requirements. Assessment is faculty driven and fueled by the college community. Thank you faculty for your leadership! - Interim President Brooks
statement Course or department/ program level should identify SLOs to be assessed Statement of how each department/program is going to carry out the assessment of SLOs. Statement of resources needed to complete assessment plan (software, training) The process of scoring the assessment should be clearly delineated The instrument to be used for scoring should be included, such as a rubric or other scoring sheet Statement about how
the data will be analyzed (ex: through departmental discussions) ◊ Timeline for implementing the plan Once the assessment is carried out, departments will submit their final scores to the Assessment Committee for archiving. Departments and programs will have to report on any plans for improvement in light of the assessment results. The Assessment Committee is hoping to begin the first round of department assessments in spring and fall 2009.
Schedule of Events
Executive Board Meetings 11.20.08 - Room 3603 3-5 12.04.08 - Room 3603 3-5
Sun 9 16
Mon 10 17
New AC Newsletter out
Tue 11 18
Wed 12 19
Fri 14 21
College wide meeting
Sat 15 22
Assessment Committee Meetings 11.13.08 - Room 3603 3-5 Special Dates & Conferences 11.17.08 - Newsletter 11.26.08 - Post tests due to Dean Javier
Post-test results due to Dean Javier
27 Thanksgiving 28
4.17.09-4.21.09 - HLC Annual Conference, Chicago, IL For more information on the conference and on HLC: http://www.ncahlc.org/
30 7 14
1 8 15
2 9 16
3 10 17
5 12 19
6 13 End of Fall
Assessment Day (cont.)
Others may have noticed large posters festooned across the campus announcing the various activities and times for “Assessment Day” performances. Students from instructor Linnea Forsberg’s and Regina Walton’s theater classes wrote and performed skits throughout the day on assessment related topics. Performances occurred in various locations such as the student union, near OutTake on the first floor, and the east atrium of the third floor. Some instructors took their classes to view the performances. Other instructors participated by contributing to the “moment of assessment” by carrying out a CAT at 10:00 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Many instructors conducted journaling activities while others spent five to ten minutes discussing the importance of classroom assessment and encouraging students to assess their own learning. Thank you to everyone who participated in Assessment Day. Thank you to all the students who joined in “moment of assessment” activities and played a part in making the day a success. We encourage everyone to be on the lookout next semester for another Assessment Day. The committee hopes to get even more commitment, and engagement amongst students, faculty and staff!
Student Learning Project
By Jane Reynolds
Student Learning Project a.k.a. I can’t believe I graded all those pretests and there is still a post test to go . . . Where was our critical thinking? Well, we made it through the first part of our Student Learning Project, (SLP) examining how our students perform critical thinking at the classroom level. The double-graded student results have been given to our Institutional Researcher, and Dr. Javier is crunching the data. Our sample size is about 40% of the student population in the credit programs. This is a very substantial representation of our credit population and should provide us with some interesting information. We will administer the post test just after midterm, and once again two instructors will score each test. Dean Javier will conduct a statistical evaluation of the change in the students’ performance in six critical thinking categories. Results will be reported to the Assessment Committee and to each department after the new year. We will evaluate and debate what this data actually means, and each department will use their results to drive curriculum changes to improve student learning in the Fall 2009 semester. We will reassess critical thinking to see if our changes truly improved student learning, but this time with a standardized test. The Assessment Committee would like to thank all our colleagues for their support and fertile input in this project.
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