State Assessment Meeting

Ashley Finley

Featured Presenters

June, 2014
Orlando, FL

Dr. Ashley Finley

Dr. Ashley Finley is the senior director of assessment and research at AAC&U and national evaluator for the Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) Project. Finley’s national work, at both the campus and national levels, focuses on developing best practices regarding program implementation, instrumentation, and mixed methods assessment. Her work combines assisting campuses with the implementation of assessment protocols and the promotion of best practices across the institution, including general education, academic departments, and the co-curriculum. She is the author of Making Progress: What We Know the Achievement of Liberal Education Outcomes, and Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment, with Terrel Rhodes, and many other articles and book chapters on assessment and student learning. In her work with Bringing Theory to Practice, Ashley has worked with campuses to implement and assess programs focused on the intersectionality of emphases attendant to the whole student— their engagement in learning, civic development, and their psychosocial well-being. Before joining AAC&U, she was an assistant professor of sociology at Dickinson College, where she taught courses in quantitative methods, social inequality, and gender in Latin America. As a faculty member she taught courses incorporating high-impact learning practices, such as learning communities and service learning.  Finley received a BA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and an MA and PhD, both in sociology, from the University of Iowa.


Session - What Should Students Know and Be Able to Do?: Connecting Meaningful Assessment With Meaningful Questions


Learning in the twenty-first century has been contextualized by a number of factors that have profoundly shaped (and reshaped) higher education. Just as everyday life has been dramatically altered through increasing levels of interconnectivity and application, so too has college level learning. To meet the demands of an expanding global world, colleges and universities increasingly need to consider the role of assessment to tell a story about student learning across the curriculum.  In part, this means connecting authentic evidence of students’ learning and skill development (e.g. critical thinking, integrative learning, and civic responsibility) to the engaging practices that help to deepen their understanding. It also means gathering the right kind of evidence that is meaningful to faculty, campus co-educators and students and that can be thoughtfully used to facilitate evidence-based improvement of efforts.  This discussion will focus on how direct assessment of student learning using rubrics can promote transparency across institutional learning outcomes and provide actionable evidence of what students can actually do. The goal of the session is to give participants insights into the kinds of questions that can not only help to guide assessment, but can also help to construct a campus narrative for student learning that matters to faculty, student affairs professionals, administrators, and students.


Workshop - Common Ground: Using Rubrics to Create Dialogue, Collaboration and Meaningful Assessment

Campuses nationally are increasingly integrating direct assessment of student learning into their assessment portfolios.  A significant number of these campuses have worked with the AAC&U VALUE rubrics to help guide these efforts.  Essential to successful adoption and implementation of the rubrics, however, is engaging faculty and campus co-educators in critical discussions around the interpretation of the rubric, application of performance levels, and use of results.  In this session, participants will engage in a condensed calibration exercise that is used to train faculty and staff on applying rubrics to samples of student work.  The VALUE rubric for “creative thinking” will be used to score a sample of student work to illustrate the utility of engaging campus stakeholders, including students, in dialogue around articulation of learning outcomes and interdisciplinary approaches to assessing student learning.  Campus examples of calibration, implementation of the rubrics, and the use of evidence from direct assessment to improve student learning will also be shared.