Instructional design project higher education


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Instructional design project higher education

  1. 1. A Writing Assessment Proposal Changing PCM 300 Prerequisites 2009 CreatedandPresentedby: KarenLynnPilarski ABC College PCMDepartment 5/3/2009
  2. 2. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 2 of 39 Table of Contents Cover Page........................................................................... Page 1 Table of contents…………………………………………………………………… Page 2 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………… Page 3 Discerningthe Context…………………………………………………………… Page 4 BuildingA SolidBase of Support………………………………………………Pages 5-6 IdentifyingProgram Ideas……………………………………………………… Pages7-9 Sorting and PrioritizingProgram Ideas…………………………………… Pages 10-12 DevelopingProgram Objectives……………………………………………… Page 13 DesigningInstructional Plans………………………………………………… Pages14-16 DevisingTransfer of LearningPlans…………………………………………Pages 17-19 FormulatingEvaluation Plans………………………………………………… Pages 20-22 Making Recommendationsand CommunicatingResults……… Pages23-24 SelectingFormats,Schedules,and Staff Needs………………………Pages 25-26 PreparingBudgets and Marketing Plans…………………………………Page 27 CoordinatingFacilitiesand On Site Events………………………………Pages 28-30 Reference Page……………………………………………………………………… Page 31 Index…………………………………………………………………………………………Pages 32-38
  3. 3. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 3 of 39 Introduction The mission of the Professional Communication (PCM) Department at ABC College is “As teaching professionals in the field of communications, we are committed to assisting students to learn theories and practices of the communication discipline while cultivating their strengths as communicators and encouraging them to apply their knowledge throughout their lives.” (ABC College, 2009). A Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Communication is offered during weekend and Weekday College. A degree in PCM is a useful tool in today’s technology driven market. Such specializations include public communications, public relations, writing, desktop and web publishers. There is currently a felt need among the PCM department that many student’s ability to edit their own work is not at the level the PCM department would like it to be before majors and supports take the 400 level courses. The consensus states students should be at a solid level 4 in writing when enrolled in PCM 300: Advanced Writing. The current prerequisite for PCM 300: Advanced Writing/Professional Applications is PCM 170: Visual Communication, PCM 200: Public Speaking or PCM 230: Persuasion and Semantics must be completed. According to PCM faculty surveys in order to be successful in PCM300, students need to display level 4 writing criteria (form A in index). In their opinions students’ current writing has grammar errors such as commas, run on sentences, etc. Writing has also showed lack of structure, spelling errors. In January 2009 I was asked by the Coordinator of the PCM department to look into a proposed plan to change the current prerequisites of PCM 300. In addition to completing the core PCM courses, the plan that is being proposed is to develop and implement the following: 1. A writing assessment for students prior to PCM 300 that would address conventions and mechanics. 2. A 0 credit workshop or class prior to or in conjunction with PCM 300 for students who do not pass the writing assessment. 3. A second writing assessment to measure student performances after the workshop/lab and their readiness to move on to PCM 400 work. The following proposal applies Rosemary Caffarella’s Model of Interactive Planning.
  4. 4. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 4 of 39 Discerning the Context Human, organizational and environment factors influence decision makers. “These factors are not unconnected in how they affect the planning process, and often merge into major issues that educational planners address as they navigate through the planning tasks.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 59) Assessments and workshops help ABC students gain insight into their progress. Each assessment is built off of previous courses. This allows students to make connections to different areas of study and the assessment they are taking. The wonderful part of ABC College lies in its ability based program. Students are not just a number or lost in the crowd. Classes are small and group work/discussions are encouraged. “ABC doesn't use standardized tests and traditional exams. Each student is unique, each learns in unique ways. But life is competitive, and so are we. Rather than measure performance as a snapshot in time, against a curve that strips away individual achievement, we focus on measurement that's about you, and only you. The lessons you learn are applicable in real life, they become part of who you are. ABC students learn more in class and retain the lessons longer.” (ABC website, 2009). Building on the mission of ABC College, the PCM department creates assessments, projects, group work to fit real life situations and the media culture. Some examples include doing a media study project, writing a research proposal, and creating a professional portfolio. A goal for the proposed assessment is to provide the opportunity for students to develop further as professional writers in their respective career fields. It is important to note that prospective students looking into ABC College are interested in the percentage of alumnae who get into their chosen field after graduation. Students who can write well with no grammar errors may have more success attaining their career goals than a student who struggles with writing conventions. The assessment will help to identify students who are struggling with their grammar and other writing conventions. By doing so the professor can structure her class to meet the needs of the all her learners. In addition by self assessing the learner can monitor her own progress throughout the semester and be more conscientious about editing her work before submitting it for feedback.
  5. 5. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 5 of 39 Building a Solid Base of Support In order to make a smooth transition the following procedures/policies should be understood and followed. According to Caffarella “Establishing a firmbase of support for planning and conducting education and training programs is critical for program planners to embrace.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 83)She further says it takes commitment and action to support the change. The decision making process involves the PCM department coordinator meeting with the chair of the department to discuss changing the curriculum before any changes can occur. Discussions should include why the change is necessary, when the plan is slated to be implemented and if the change is a benefit to the PCM department, staff, and ABC community. In order to change a prerequisite for a course the coordinator of the department fills out a Prerequisite Change(s) in WDC/WEC Courses Form (Form B in index). The form is turned into Patricia Hartmann (Registrar) in the Registrar’s Office. She requests that all changes are made by the deadline of the course offerings every semester: mid-March for summer & fall; mid- October for spring. No one else needs to approve the change(s) since it comes from the head of each department. The Registrar works with Cory Masiak, Academic Affairs. She completes the academic bulletins. She checks the prerequisites that departments give her when they update their pages/courses in the bulletins. If there is any question about the changes that they give Cory versus what the Registrar has, the Registrar goes back to the departments to clarify which prerequisites are accurate. The PCM department would need to come to a consensus about goals, mission, outcomes and process in order to design an assessment and workshop that meets the needs of the department. This could be done during several PCM faculty meetings. Faculty meetings are usually held every other Thursday morning. Once the change is implemented Jane Barnowski, Associate Registrar goes through the PCM program in Datatel and changes the prerequisites. She makes the change in new students who will be a PCM major and changes the current student’s academic evaluation.
  6. 6. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 6 of 39 Academic Advisors will have to be informed of the change. Weekend College students have advisors through Academic Advising and Weekday College student have professional faculty advisors. The advisors will need to communicate changes to their advisees’. This change could affect student’s graduation dates, what they can and can’t take based on if newly implemented PCM 300 prerequisites have been met. Dan Goyette, Director of the Business Office should be consulted about possible fees, charges added on to tuition bills for students taking the workshop and assessment. I obtained information by the use of surveys, ABC College literature (website, printed materials), PCM department meeting minutes, course history/ class progress codes and interviews with PCM department and Communication Resource Center data.
  7. 7. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 7 of 39 Identifying Program Ideas In order to meet the needs of students, staff and faculty at ABC College a needs assessment was conducted. Caffarella states “ A highly structured needs assessment is defined as a systematic way, usually involving a rather lengthy process and based on formal needs assessment models or analyses for identifying education and training problems, needs, issues, etc.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 123)This can be conducted through surveys, data, tests, observations, conversations, etc. The goal is not to find a quick fix to the issues but a way to brainstorm ideas for ways to improve an issue or situation. First there should be evidence that a needs assessment is needed. For this proposal I interviewed PCM faculty through a survey and asked the following questions: 1. What are commonissuesyousee instudents’writing? 2. What are your feelingsabouthavingarequiredwritingassessmentorworkshoppriortoPCM 300? What about a follow-upassessment? 3. Do youadvertise the CommunicationResource Centerortutoring?Doyou findthisuseful? 4. How do youcommunicate to a studentthatherwritingneedsimprovement? 5. In your opinionwhere shouldastudent’sgrammarlevelbe byPCM300? Do youfeel there isan ongoingissue? 6. Couldgrammar issuesresultinanunsuccessful progresscode forthe class? The results I received were concerns from the faculty that students were struggling with specific writing conventions such as organization of material and meaningful conclusions. Other concerns included lack of development of clear connections of supporting evidence to main points. There were issues with audience awareness and context setting. Furthermore the survey results concluded there was a strong feeling that students were having difficulties with grammar. Some common grammar issues included subject-verb agreement, incomplete sentences, incorrect or confusing placement of phrases and clauses.
  8. 8. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 8 of 39 The survey findings also concluded that instructors do give feedback to assist students. Students are given opportunities for revision. Feedback is often face to face or in written form (Form D in index). By the time a student reaches PCM 300 she should be at a solid level 4 in writing. Level 4 Effective Writing is defined as the following:  Establishing and Maintaining Context: Clearly articulates relationships between ideas/concepts out of an academic framework/theory and those out of her own thinking  Verbal Expressions: Uses language that reflects a refined awareness of the audience  Appropriate Conventions: Shows a refined sense of appropriate conventions.  Purposeful Structure: Maintains a refined sense of structure appropriate to disciplinary or professional contexts.  Support for a Position/Development of an idea: Develops ideas with appropriate depth, variety, and sufficient interest to engage audience.  Original and Appropriate Context: Articulates original applications, syntheses, and or evaluation of academic frameworks, theories, validating them with substantial thinking and appropriately using valid sources.  Self Assessment- Shows refined sense of strengths and weaknesses in all criteria areas. The survey results also indicated that the Communication Resource Center is advertised and encouraged by faculty. Instructors also validated the need for a writing workshop and assessment prior to PCM 300. I compiled data from the past 5 years and looked at how many unsuccessful progress codes for the course and writing validations were given for PCM 130, PCM 300. There were was a decrease in the amount of students who were unsuccessful in PCM 130 for both the validation and course. There was no reported increase in students who were unsuccessful in PCM 300 and the writing validations. Students who struggle with writing or public speaking have access to the Communication Resource Center at ABC College. I interviewed the director of ISC department, Dianne Klebenow. The Communication Resource Center is under her direction. The mission of the center is “to help take the anxiety out of any communication assignment.” The Center provides hands on learning with guidance and encouragement. This is helpful for students with low self esteem or need some support.
  9. 9. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 9 of 39 The Communication Resource Center provides communication with instructors. Instructors can see if a student utilized this resource by contacting her. Tutoring is also an option if the Writing Resource Center doesn’t fit the needs of the learner. In fall 2008 the following amount of students from the PCM major used the Communication Resource Center: PCM 130-21 student PCM 200- 22 students PCM 230- 14 students PCM 300- 0 students PCM 480-7 students According the survey faculty says they advertise the writing center by providing information with the hours and contact information. They also suggest tutoring if a student is in danger of failing a class. Klebenow stated that the busiest time is during the middle to end of the semester. She staffs the center with two assistants to meet the demands and needs of students. From discussions with the PCM coordinator and interviews with the faculty despite the fact that there is no indication of an increase in the number of students who are unsuccessful in the core PCM classes, there is a need to prevent a potential increase. The understanding is if students continue in their higher level courses with writing issues, they might be unsuccessful in other classes. This could jeopardize their graduation dates, financial aid, scholarships, etc.
  10. 10. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 10 of 39 Sorting and Prioritizing Program Ideas Students throughout their college career learn how to sort out and prioritize things that are important to them. In terms of time management and problem solving it is important to complete things that are feasible right away. In terms of this proposal caffarella states “in order to make decisions about whether educational programs or alternative interventions provide a more appropriate solution planners have to be knowledgeable about constitutes priority ideas and typical issues and problem that require alternative interventions.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 137) There is a need to put program ideas into “piles” such as things to deal with now that are doable and things that can wait and be dealt with later on. Caffarella also addresses three factors in deciding what ideas should be developed and those that need additional solutions are people, the organization and environmental factors and cost. The proposed assessment is not a punishment for students who struggle with writing. This is an intervention for students who don’t seek out help from resources (tutoring, Communication Resource Center, peer feedback) that are available. Students with low motivation may need an extra push to demonstrate appropriate writing criteria. The writing conventions issues do not warrant an unsuccessful progress code for the class. Students generally are smart, creative and antonymous learners who may need some extra support. Students who will be taking PCM 300 are in the middle of their academic career. They have a handle on what is expected of them. By this point they have a sense of what career path they want to take. This is further proven by the elective they register for. For example someone who is interested in professional writing may take an active role in the college newspaper, The ABC Alpha by taking a news writing class. Students in the weekend college program develop a portfolio of their best work. This is the equivalent of an internship for weekday college students. The assessment could be used as a writing sample for student’s portfolio to showcase their writing/grammar skills. This assessment would be effective because it creates consequences for students who don’t take it seriously. Such consequences would be taking time to do a writing workshop and taking another assessment at the end of the semester. If students still don’t use resources available then they will not be allowed to go forward into their academic career.
  11. 11. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 11 of 39 An alternative plan would be for instructors to keep asking students to revise papers. This is not effective for the instructor or the student. The student will assume all classes will allow multiple revisions and there will be no consequences. The student may fall farther behind in course work in order to complete revisions. There should be a set amount of revisions allotted per assignment. The assessment would be before PCM 300 starts for the upcoming semester. The assessment would allow four hours for students to write an essay. The PCMfaculty who teaches PCM 300 would facilitate the assessment. An hour would be allotted for students to complete a self assessment. PCM 300 instructors would take a few students assessments and measure them by writing level 4 criteria. There would be no cost to design the assessment since the PCM faculty would be in charge of creating it. The PCM coordinator would contact the Registrar’s Office to reserve a computer room for the assessment. There is no fee for faculty to reserve a computer room. The only issue is during winter break. The college is shut down for two weeks during the holidays and will not allow students or faculty to come into the building. PCM faculty would be assessing student work and they are already under salary. Students would not be charged the usual assessment fee since the Assessment Center would not be involved in the creation and executing of the assessment. In this process the following people may be involved: ABC Alumna who was highly skilled in writing maybe asked their thoughts on what type of assessment will be designed. The ABC Alums should be in their chosen career. The ABC College Assessment center will be consulted on how to design a writing assessment that would provide opportunities for higher writing levels. Colleen Barnett, Coordinator of Student Accessibility will be consulted for students with disabilities. This will help design appropriate assessments for students with different disabilities (physical, learning, etc). Faculty of different majors will be consulted to gain insight into how they measure writing criteria. The Registrar’s Office, Academic Affairs, Academic Advising will be consulted to understand the process of changing prerequisites and the implications it will have on students.
  12. 12. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 12 of 39 Caffarella states “Criteria provide the basis on which priorities are judged, and also serve as the justification for the eventual choices.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 141) She says criteria are placed into two piles, one for important ideas and the other one for feasible ideas. In order to chose what ideas should be developed is to rate them by quantitative approach. This means to take each idea and rate them by numerical marks. For example for this assessment it would look like this: On a scale of 1-10, 1 being low importance and 10 being highly urgent howwould rate the following: Writing conventions Ability to self edit own works Ability to set tone Ability to connect with audience Ability to apply learning in another context (transfer of learning) When the highest number totaled is considered most important. For this assessment it would be writing conventions. This type of measurement could be used to sort through left over ideas in the other pile. Some interventions for this project would be electronic support systems. This could be students using websites to help with grammar issues such as This is a website tool for grammar advice. Another example would be encouraging students to use the Educator systemto chat with fellow students who are experiencing the same issues. Another alternative intervention would be increasing feedback meetings between instructor and student. Students have a lot on their plate. Perhaps they could have online meeting through educator in order to accommodate individual schedules.
  13. 13. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 13 of 39 Developing Program Objectives In terms of determining program objectives and goals it is important to distinguish between the two concepts. Caffarella defines program objects as “clear statements of the anticipated results to be achieved through education and training programs. They are the foundation for instructional plans, concreted guidelines for developing transfer-of-learning plans and how programs are evaluated.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 156) Program goals are “broad statements of purpose or intent for education or training programs.” Program goals answer the why’s of the project. Why is this worth doing, why is this program happening? (p. 156) Program objectives are the learning outcome. What are the learners/trainers are expected to do as a result of the training program. For this proposal the program objectives for the writing assessment are: 1. Evaluate student readiness for coursework at 300 and 400 level 2. Provide students with extensive feedback on strengths and challenges of writing 3. Provide students with a detailed plan of action to address areas that need development for professional audiences at level 4 Program Goals: 1. To identify students who struggle with issues related to writing conventions and mechanics 2. Ensure all PCM students enter into 300 and 400 level at the appropriate writing level to allow them to be successful in future classes and in their professional careers 3. To encourage students to self edit before submitting work and encourage self assessment in monitoring their progress The writing assessment will benefit PCM students in the long run as they go into such fields as professional writing, public speaking, and desktop publishing. The assessment can also be a tool for instructors to use in developing different teaching methods to reach students who experience difficulties with writing.
  14. 14. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 14 of 39 Designing Instructional Plans “Learning objectives are selected carefully, because they set the tone and direction for what participants are expected to do and learn during the instructional activity. (Caffarella, 2002, p. 169) Caffarella explains when developing learning objectives, the instructional designer must have a refined idea of the outcomes for a learning opportunity. She further states the importance of clearly defining learning objectives. This means to do the following: set rules or guidelines for content and teaching methods, method of developing an evaluation for what was learned, and a way of organizing learning. The instructional plans should go along with the program objectives. The difference being learning objectives is about the individual learners and not the assessment as a whole. The Professional Communication Department’s mission is “As teaching professionals in the field of communications, we are committed to assisting students to learn theories and practices of the communication discipline while cultivating their strengths as communicators and encouraging them to apply their knowledge throughout their lives.” In order to live up to the department mission the PCM department would like to learners/students to meet the following learning objectives:  Will describe the career they hope to have after graduation using appropriate writing conventions.  Will demonstrate a solid level 4 writing criteria throughout the reflective essay  Will express in a self assessment essay their strengths and challenges in writing and how they could improve. ABC College defines it’s self as a community of learners. This means not only are students learning but instructors, staff, etc are learning as well. The learning objectives for the facilitators/instructions for the assessment are:  Will propose and design feedback for each student after the assessment is over  Will evaluate student’s writing ability based on level 4 writing criteria  Will determine students who may need further writing skill development and develop and plan of action to follow.
  15. 15. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 15 of 39 The learning content is what will be learned during an instructional event. For the assessment is more about evaluating student skills and students acknowledging areas of growth and areas of needed development. Learners must come with knowledge of grammar rules such as comma placement, run on sentences, etc. From prior experience at ABC, learners should already be adjusted to writing reflective essays and writing self assessments. Learns should understand what work qualifies for level 4 validation. They should use the criteria as guidelines or checklists as they write their reflective essay. Learners should know how to write an engaging and poignant essay that clearly defines their ideal career field. Learners should have an idea of the career they want to seek. Learners could know how to incorporate sources of information such as past course work, family influences, tradition, someone they admire in a similar career field. Learners could weave in scholarly sources to provide evidence. The facilitators of the assessment shouldn’t make grammar skills the focus of the assessment. The point of this exercise is to engage students and encourage insightful thought and transfer it into written form. The grammar portion is important but shouldn’t be highlighted or advertised in this way. By downplaying the importance of the grammar, participants won’t be caught up in this part of the assessment. The instructors/facilitators must be able to adapt to the learning environment and the array of different learning styles. For this assessment the facilitators actually add an element of comfort to the participants. The reason being the facilitators are PCM instructors, the students may come with prior knowledge of what specific instructors expect. Instructors should be knowledgeable about each student and be able to give writing prompts if necessary. For example telling a student they did very well on a certain project might invoke some creativity on their part. Instructors should be able to accommodate different learning types. For example if a participant is a visual learner the instructor could ask her to draw a picture of herself in 5 years and ask her to describe who the person is. What characteristics are admirable? This would hopefully engage the student to think more critically about this. The instructional techniques used for this instructional program is different from other program. This is because of the assessment type learning situation. The instructional technique would be reflective practice and will be done individually. Eventually for a writing workshop there would be more focus on peer learning, peer feedback and group work. The reflective purpose is an opportunity for participants to writing a thoughtful essay that allows them to define some career goals after graduation.
  16. 16. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 16 of 39 “Adults learn in a variety of settings, from formal class and training rooms, to their homes and workplaces, to the great outdoors. Some learning situations are more conductive to using certain techniques than others.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 182) Cafferella’s statement describes ABC’s theory that students don’t just learn in the classroombut throughout all aspects of their lives. The assessment will be in a formal computer classroombut the assessment itself will ask students to draw from prior knowledge and not just discuss things learned at ABC College. The resources for the proposed assessment will be handouts that explain what participants are to do, a handout on the self assessment expectations and guidelines and a short reference guide to writing conventions. On the handout will be online resources if participants need it. For example grammar- assistance websites. The PCM coordinator would design the handouts and print them through the Duplicating department at ABC College. The coordinator would fill out a duplicating request form and put the department account number on it. By having the PCM coordinator and department design and develop handout materials, assessment, and workshop and follow up assessment, the PCM department would own the rights to all materials. There would be no copyright infringement. The website resources would be cited by the PCM department to adhere to copyright law. The reasoning behind the assessment is to:  Evaluate student readiness for coursework at 300 and 400 level  Provide students with extensive feedback on strengths and challenges of writing  Provide students with a detailed plan of action to address areas that need development for professional audiences at level 4 Caffarella states “Assessment done either prior to or the start of a learning activity allows instructors to know what the participants know and can do or how they feel about the content to be presented.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 186) by taking the writing assessment students will have an idea of their writing strengths and challenges. They will then develop a plan through self assessment to find ways of attaining level 4 criteria. Or they will have the validation that they do have the skills needed to go into 300 and 400 level courses. The assessment is user friendly and appropriate for the participants at ABC College. The duration of the assessment is 1-3 hours to allow students to write at their own pace. The self assessment should be completed during the 3 hours but some exceptions may be made. For example students with learning disabilities or students with scheduling conflicts. The main essay is required to be completed during this timeframe.
  17. 17. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 17 of 39 Devising Transfer of Learning Plans The hope of the assessment is for students to take what they have learned and apply it to other areas such as their non PCM classes, professional career, and personal lives. Caffarella states “Transfer of learning has most often been thought of in behavioral terms, what is to be transferred can be clearly specified in terms of observable changes in knowledge, sills, and attitudes. “(Caffarella, 2002, p. 205).Transfer of learning is an aspect of the professional communication department’s mission. The mission of the Professional Communication (PCM) Department at ABC College is “As teaching professionals in the field of communications, we are committed to assisting students to learn theories and practices of the communication discipline while cultivating their strengths as communicators and encouraging them to apply their knowledge throughout their lives.” (ABC College, 2009). The previous interventions have had low transfer. An example would be having student’s complete revisions. This type of inventions may cause students to think they there will always be opportunities to go back and correct mistakes. In the real work world this is not always the case. In the professional career if you make enough errors you may lose your job, status, credibility. Students who use the Communication Resource Center may just want to focus on the assignment at hand and not think about the whole problem. Students who play an active role in their learning need to think about their progress and make appropriate changes. For example understanding the importance of self editing. This could be transferred to their personal life. For example writing a complaint letter to their credit card company about late fees. A company reading a polished error free letter may react differently then reading a letter full of writing errors. Another example is transferring learning to their academic career. An employee emailing the boss may get a promotion over an employee who can’t professionally write an email. Framework for transfer of learning: Before the assessment- 1. Students will receive a detailed letter explaining the assessment, schedule and tips with how to prepare. Enclosed will be expectations for the assessment. This will clarify the purpose, the goals and outcomes for the assessment. They will have an opportunity to take notes on an index card to assist them in the writing assessment.
  18. 18. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 18 of 39 2. Instructors will prepare students by encouraging them to ask questions during class or help students brainstorm resource tools for assessment. For example what paper do they feel best showcased their writing conventions, structure, tone, etc? What about this paper made learning applicable in other settings? An example would be a student who did very well discussing her point of view on stem cell research. She was passionate about the subject, she was had good sources of information, she felt comfortable. The instructor would then encourage her to transfer this knowledge to the assessment. Is there anything you can relate to in terms of the topic? 3. Program Planners will design a writing topic and criteria that will help measure readiness of students to enter into PCM 300 and higher level courses. Program planners will plan and create outcomes, expectations for students taking the assessment. They will also develop an assessment that provides opportunities for students to use prior knowledge and skills and apply them to the writing assessment. During the Assessment 1. Learners will use prior knowledge and skills such as past assignments, educational experiences to write a reflective essay on what type of career they hope to have after graduation. Students will use note/index card with notes as “job aides” to assist them during the assessment. 2. Instructors will encourage students by asking probing questions if the student is stuck during the assessment. For example ask students about previous assignments or assessments ask about what would be their ideal job. Is there a person who is well known for doing something similar? This will promote critical thinking. Instructors will survey the room to deter and minimize distractions such as cell phone use, loud conversations, eating loudly. Facilitators will document when students turned in their task. This is to measure how long it took for the student to complete the writing assignment. 3. Program Planners will monitor instructors to ensure they are providing essential materials such as assessment descriptions, writing criteria checklist. Program planners will encourage alternative methods if instructors are not assisting students appropriately. For example, asking yes or no questions, not encouraging critical thinking, creativity, providing the answers. After the Assessment 1. Learners will write a self assessment in addition to the writing assessment. This will help them apply knowledge gained from the experience to measure their strengths and challenges and make them into learning goals for the future.
  19. 19. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 19 of 39 2. Instructors will provide follow up appointments with students to discuss feedback and plans for future learning. For example if a workshop is needed, if they should re-take the assessment or if they are at the appropriate level for upper level PCM courses. Provide feedback to program planners about what went well during the assessment, were there any issues, where are room for improvements? Goals for the next assessment? Discuss feedback with coordinator and chair of the PCM department and school of art. 3. Program Planners will take findings and plan follow up support such as developing workshops for mid semester timeframes, evaluate student’s needs and discuss with faculty. For example if most students struggled with structure in their writing, or specific writing conventions such as comma placement. Use valuable feedback to develop and design future assessments.
  20. 20. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 20 of 39 Formulating Evaluation Plans “Program evaluation is most often defined as a process used to determine whether the design and delivery of a program were effective and whether the proposed outcomes were met.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 225). The main goal of an evaluation is to make changes/improvements to the existing program that will benefit everyone involved. Evaluation assists program designers with deciding what works, what doesn’t, what did students take away from the writing assessment? According to Caffarella it is during evaluation when other portions of the Interactive Model of Program Planning connect/overlap (Caffarella, 2002, p. 227). For the proposed writing assessment it is vital to see how learning was transferred and applied (transfer of learning). In order to be successful there needs to be support from key groups such as the Registrar, Academic Affairs, and the PCM department as whole (building a base of support). Were the needs of the facilitators, participants and program designers met? (Needs assessment). Through the needs assessment program objectives and goals were developed. The data gathered is used to create an evaluation to see if the program met all the goals and objectives successfully. Caffarella states “It is important to remember that planning for evaluation should not happen as an afterthought once the whole program has been planned.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 230) She further elaborates that evaluation is something that happens throughout the whole planning process. In terms of the proposed assessment, the PCM department and heads of Academic Affairs, Academic Advising, Assessment Center and the Registrar’s Office along with the chair of the PCM department will join an evaluation committee. A memo or email will be sent from the chair of the PCM department endorsing the methods, timeframe, details of the program evaluation. The group will discuss data gathered such as performance of students, student’s responses to the assessment (through surveys) and the thoughts of PCM faculty. The committee will also discuss if learning and program objectives and goals were met successfully. For example did a high amount of student perform poorly? What are some possible causes that are affecting student performance? The committee will also probe if students were able to connect prior learning and experiences into their writing. The committee will also discuss how long students took to complete the task. Based on that date they will be able to see if students who were unsuccessful turned in the assignment close
  21. 21. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 21 of 39 to the deadline. Do students need more time to write? Should students be able to write this out at home before coming into the assessment? The data/results will be gathered and used to improve how future assessments are designed. There should always be communication between the evaluation committee and each department about everyone’s expectations of the assessment. Participant evaluations will involve the self assessment and surveys to be conducted after the assessment. The self assessment will measure self-efficacy in students, how do they feel as a learner, and what do they determine to be strength and a challenge. Do their ideas measure up with the assessment that was completed? The survey will be mailed to the student’s home and also emailed. A sample survey for participants will look like the following: Writing Assessment Survey Please assist us with improving the designing of future writing assessments. Please rate the following on a scale from 1-5. 1= yes 2=undecided 3= no. Circle your response and add comments. Writing Assessment Survey 1. Was the task clearly explained for you to understand? 1 2 3 Comments/Questions/Suggestions___________________________________________ 2. Were you well prepared in advance for this assessment? 1 2 3 Comments/Questions/Suggestions___________________________________________ 3. Was the time allotted enough to complete the task and self assessment? 1 2 3 Comments/Questions/Suggestions__________________________________________ 4. Were the facilitators helpful during the assessment? 1 2 3 Comments/Questions/Suggestions___________________________________________ 5. Was the feedback you received clear and helpful? 1 2 3 Comments/Questions/Suggestions___________________________________________ 6. Was the learning environment appropriate for you to complete the task? 1 2 3 Comments/Questions/Suggestions__________________________________________
  22. 22. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 22 of 39 7. How can we improve this assessment in the future? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ The cost of the evaluation process is minimal. This is due to duplicating costs and how to divide the charges between the departments. The self assessments are conducted during the assessment and to be collected and analyzed by the PCM department. Since the self assessment is an integral part of the assessment the responses should be documented before the beginning of the start of the upcoming semester. Surveys will be mailed and emailed 1 week after the assessment. This is so individual assessment results won’t cloud student’s judgments. All data should be evaluated and presented to the evaluation committee prior to the start of the upcoming semester. This may prove difficult during winter shutdown. For spring terms the evaluation committee must meet the day after shutdown is over. The evaluation committee will also gather data on students who took the assessment as they go through the next semester. Data such as student progress and validation codes in upper PCM courses, future assessments, workshops will be collected. If students continue to struggle with writing conventions for the next two semesters, the evaluation committee will need to reassess how the assessment should be designed. The goal of the writing assessment is that 100% of students will be successful in terms of writing conventions. However as an alternative a workshop will be given to students who aren’t at a solid level 4 writing level.
  23. 23. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 23 of 39 Making Recommendations and Communicating Results “In examining education and training programs, both the program successes and failures are explored in terms of indentifying the realities of programming situations.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 268). The purpose of making recommendations is to highlight program successes and understand program failures and make plans to adjust the program to fit the realistic needs of ABC, the faculty and the learners. The recommendations are developed throughout participant performance, self assessment, feedback, surveys and the evaluation committee’s reports. In order to make a ‘splash’ the program planner(s) should report regularly and be direct (Caffarella, 2002, p. 271). For this proposal a needs assessment was completed, and data was gathered to get to the scope of the issues. A draft of the proposal will be given to the coordinator of the PCM department to review. A final report will then be completed detailing the proposed writing assessment. The report will be typed up and given to the PCM department at ABC College. The head of the Registrar’s Office, Academic Advising, Academic Affairs, and Assessment Center will receive a copy of the proposal. An oral presentation will be done at a PCM meeting. The faculty will sit at a round table with me, the presenter in the front of the room. The presentation should occur during Institute week at ABC College. This is a staff and faculty wide meetings take place to discuss news, data, and updates take place. The start of the semester is when faculty will be most refreshed and eager to start the semester. They may be more open to ideas then if it was the end of a stressful semester. The PCM faculty are considered key decision makers for this proposal since they will be responsible for creating, implementing, facilitating, and evaluating the assessment and workshops. The PCM department is familiar with my work since I graduated with a PCM degree in 2006. I was editor of the ABC College newspaper which the PCM coordinator was in charge of. The oral presentation should be engaging yet remain professional in nature. The duration of the presentation should not exceed 20 minutes. There will be addition time to allow for an open talk session and a Q&A session. There will be no power point slides since it may distract the audience from the message of the presentation. “In many situations it is important to initiate additional conversation with key individuals and groups after a report or series or reports have been released.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 278) In order
  24. 24. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 24 of 39 to encourage urgency I will be available for the PCM faculty to email me or call me if they need further information or want further investigation to be conducted. I will ask for feedback on my proposal by having smaller meetings with different department heads to keep communication going. By remaining in contact with key people my proposal won’t be forgotten easily and hopefully will be considered.
  25. 25. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 25 of 39 Selecting Formats, Schedules, and Staff Needs “A program format refers to how education and training activities are structured and organized.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 287) There are a multitude of options regarding instructional formats such as face to face, web conferencing, large group discussions and so on. The format should fit the needs of the participants. Caffarella states that “when choosing instructional techniques the following are considered: background, experience of the participants, availability of staff, cost, types of facilities, equipment, program content, program outcomes, and the context in which learning is to take place. “(Caffarella, 2002, p. 287) For the proposed assessment the format will be individual and small-group formats. The first part will be individual writing. If students are unsuccessful in the assessment they will need to take a workshop during the mid semester. The workshop will be small group format and consist of group work, peer feedback, peer editing. “Once the format is chosen, the program planners identify the appropriate length and breakdown of the program and set specific dates and program schedules.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 293) Here is a proposed program schedule of the writing assessment: 8:00 am-8:20am- Check-in 8:20 am-8:30am-Materials handed out 8:30 am-8:45am- Explaining handouts (website guide, provide details about assessment) 8:45 am-8:50am- Answer any questions, further explanation 8:50 am-9:00am-Welcome any late students. Do not allow any student into assessment when after the start of the assessment. Late students will have to reschedule and a $25 rescheduling fee will be charged to their accounts. 9:00am-12:00am- Writing assessment begins. Self Assessment is completed during the time frame. Once the assessment is over feedback is given 2-3 weeks after the assessment. Students can access their feedback via DDP (Diagnostic Digital Portfolio). This is done online. “Staff members design, coordinate, conduct and evaluate education training programs.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 296) they can divide different tasks depending on different variable such as size of group, program content, etc. There are four major roles for program planners such as
  26. 26. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 26 of 39 program designer and manager, event coordinator, instructor/learning facilitator, and program evaluator. Program Designer and Manager: Kevin Casey, Chair of the school of Art will be working with PCM students and faculty to gather ideas on how to improve issues relating to communication. He will continue to refine PCM program goals and objectives. In addition he will approve marketing and budget plans. Event Coordinator: Jill Moore, Coordinator of the PCM department, will coordinate staff and reserve rooms through facilities for assessment and workshops. She will also send information to student regarding the assessment requirement. Instructor/Learning Facilitator: The PCMfaculty will assist Jill Moore with designing and delivering instruction during the writing assessment. Two faculty members will switch off during the workshops every other semester. Program Evaluator: The evaluation committee will make decisions about the value of the assessment and observations. They will determine the method of measuring if the assessment was successful. The program staff compensation will be covered under their individual salaries. PCM faculty will be responsible for creating, facilitating and providing instruction for the assessments and workshops. The reasoning behind this is for learners to feel comfortable and relaxed during the assessment. There should be familiarity between the instructors and learners. Instructors are well seasoned in the area of professional communication. Instructors should be well prepared to meet the different needs of learners. There should be a solid commitment to the community of ABC and the whole community of learners.
  27. 27. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 27 of 39 Preparing Budget and Marketing Plans “Planning programs requires a whole range of activities that go beyond thinking through the educational components of the plan. People who are responsible for program planning need to recognize that budget management and other behind the scenes tasks are integral components of the planning process and serve as the driving forces behind program development efforts.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 305) ABC College would be covering the costs of implementing the assessment and workshop. This will fall under the PCM department’s budget. There would be minimal costs of making copies of materials such as handouts. Students (students) will not be charged additional fees with tuition costs. As a contingency, if learners fail to attend the initial assessment or workshop then a $25 late fee will be added to their business office accounts. Failure to take care of the fee will result in a hold on their registration. If the assessment is canceled or rescheduled then no penalty will occur. Currently regular assessments are seen as a required event needed in order to graduate from ABC College. Assessments are designed for students to apply knowledge learned in other courses and apply them to a group discussion, writing and public speaking. Marketing for this assessment will be through word of mouth. This means advisor meetings with their advisees. Advisors should remind their advisees when the pick out classes that this assessment is a requirement to take PCM 300. Advisors should discuss why the assessment is important in terms of career goals. PCM faculty should discuss the assessment in other lower level PCM courses. They should discuss the importance of solid level 4 writing and the impact on future career goals. ABC College attracts potential students who don’t want to feel like just a number or lost in the shuffle. “Memorization is not crucial in the development of the learner but the journey of learning is” (ABC College, 2008). To reach the wider audience for the PCM department the webpage designed for the PCM department should be updated. There should be printed literature that could be handed out during college fairs, Admission open houses, and with mailings that go out to interested parties. All material should discuss the purpose, mission, goal, and intended outcome of the assessment. The important factor is the ability for students to take what they have learned in earlier PCM courses and real life experiences and apply them to the assessment.
  28. 28. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 28 of 39 Coordinating Facilities and On-Site Events The physical learning environment for the assessment will be located in Academic Computing at ABC College. Academic Computing (computer lab) has one main section with 6 rows of computers. There are three private individual rooms for meetings. This side lab can have 20-25 students occupying it. Caffarella states “The physical environment in which education and training activities take place affects participants’ learning.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 339) There are three side computer rooms that can accommodate a classroom of students. The side computer labs have a projector screen and a computer for the facilitator to use. In the front is a dry ease board as well as a long table to put materials on or for the instructor to sit behind. There are three rows of computers with the middle row having two sets of computers across from each other. This lab offers more privacy and quiet than the main lab. There is a door that can be closed as well as shades on the windows that can be pulled down. This may offer comfort to students who are easy about people watching them through the windows or loud noises from students coming and going into the main computer lab. The side computer lab also has a printer so that student doesn’t have to log into a computer in the main lab to print up their essay. The computer lab is located on the first floor of the TL building (located within the Rotunda). The main doors are wheelchair accessible. There are vending machines located across the hall from the Academic Computer as well as a short distance from the cafeteria and more vending machines. The bathrooms are located across from hall from Academic Computer. There are also lockers next to the bathrooms for students to store their belongings. The computer labs are considered smart rooms meaning they are hooked up with technology equipment for instructor use. The Media Hub (formally CIC) usually delivers computers and other equipment to classrooms that are not considered smart rooms. The Media Hub is down the hall from the computer lab and may be used as a resource if the facilitator experiences technology equipment. If the Media Hub is not open the computer lab has staff assistants who are trained in dealing with technology issues.
  29. 29. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 29 of 39 The program coordinator should contact Academic Computing to reserve a computer room. During the end of the semester the computer labs are in high demand. Room reservation should be done as soon as possible. Caffarella says not only is the physical environment important but the opening, monitoring and conclusion of the program is vital to its success as well. “It is crucial to create a positive climate for learning at the opening of the education and training event.” (Caffarella, 2002, p. 354). The facilitator/instructor should provide a warm welcome to the participants and explain the expectations, goals and task. There should be time set aside for questions and concerns. The assessment is within a specific time frame; therefore time wasting should be discouraged. For example warm ups, team building exercises. The program is individual centered and should be treated as such. A facilitator/instructor should be prepared for the unexpected. This means illness or emergencies, technology issues, etc. For the assessment there will be two facilitator/instructors in case there is an issue that needs to be attended to. Both facilitators should arrive 30-45 minutes earlier than the assessment to check equipment, check if there are any messages about someone rescheduling their assessment, weather concerns, special preparations for students with disabilities, etc. Facilitators should ensure they have the proper amount of materials for all participants. Facilitators should have a program agenda and participant agenda created and copied for all participants and facilitators. Each facilitator should know what tasks they need to complete such as checking to make sure all items are turned in from the participant (self assessment, essay, assessment handouts, notes, etc). For the assessment concluding the assessment isn’t needed since participants will complete the assessment at their own pace. A simple thank you to the participant can be said once the facilitator ensures all required material has been submitted. Once the last participant has left facilitators should take all submitted materials and left over materials to the PCM coordinator’s office or the Assessment Center for storage. Facilitators should make sure all computers are logged off, lights turned off, door is locked.
  30. 30. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 30 of 39 Room Arrangement for Assessment Window Window Window Emergency door Table Door Printer Computer/Tech BoardScreen
  31. 31. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 31 of 39 Conclusion This proposal will assist students to become more prepared for the professional world where revisions may not be granted. The proposed plan will encourage students to self edit and find additional resources if they are struggling with writing. The proposal will be a learning experience for instructors/facilitators as well. Understanding the scope of a student’s strengths and challenges will help instructors provide effective feedback. The process involves several members of the ABC community by bringing them together to accomplish a common goal. The goal is to promote a higher level of self efficacy and growth in students. ABC College is an environment that thrives on assessment and self assessment. This proposal meets the needs and defines the culture of this academic institution. The culture of ABC is to create a community of learners.
  32. 32. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 32 of 39 Appendix Form A ABC College CommunicationAbilityDepartment CRITERIA FOR EFFECTIVE WRITING In a givenpiece of writing,the studentshouldshow the followingabilitiestothe levelindicated: Preliminary:Followsdirections: yes___ no ___ 1. Connectswith audience through ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING CONTEXT (Clarifying,ina manner appropriate to a specifiedaudience,limitsofthe situationand Sourcesof thinking) L1 Givesaudience some sense of focusandpurpose (WhatisItellingwhomandwhy?) L2 Throughoutthe writing,providesandmaintains asense of focusandpurpose L3 Takesresponsibilityforownideasanddistinguishesthemfromthose of others L4 Clearlyarticulatesrelationshipsbetweenideas/conceptsoutof an academic framework/theoryandthose outof her ownthinking 2. Connectswith audience through VERBAL EXPRESSION (wordchoice/style/tone— reflecting awarenessof the audience’sdegree ofknowledge,values,needforclarity,right to an opinion, and expectationof interest) L1 Useslanguage that showssome awarenessof appropriatestyle/tone andvariedword choice L2 Useslanguage that showsgeneral awarenessof appropriate style/toneandvaried wordchoice — avoidingvague,empty,andcondescendingexpression L3 Useslanguage that shows consistentawarenessof appropriatestyle/tone andvariedword choice L4 Useslanguage that reflectsa refined awarenessof the audience 3. Connectswith audience through APPROPRIATE CONVENTIONS(usage,spelling,punctuation, capitalization,sentence structure,format, citing and documentingsources) L1 Generallyfollowsappropriateconventions
  33. 33. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 33 of 39 L2 Consistentlyfollowsappropriateconventions L3 Appliesappropriate conventionstothe expressionof complex relationships L4 Showsa refinedsense of appropriate conventions 4. Connectswith audience through PURPOSEFULSTRUCTURE (sense ofintroduction/ Development/conclusion;focusingbymainpoint made; major/minor connections) L1 Presentsamessage withrecognizableintroduction,development,andconclusion L2 Establishesandmaintainsfocusona clearpurpose,providingtransitionstoclarify Relationships betweenmostpointsof development L3 Withoutdigressionfromthe focusof the work,consistentlyarticulatesrelationships Between pointsof development L4 Maintainsa refinedsense of structure appropriate todisciplinaryand/orprofessional Contexts (Over) 5. Connectswith audience through SUPPORT FOR A POSITION/DEVELOPMENT OF AN IDEA L1 Showsabilitytouse examplesand/orevidence meaningful toaudience L2 Supportsmostgeneralizationswithexamplesand/orevidence meaningful toaudience © Copyright 1973, 75, 77, 80, 82, 84, 88, 93, 98, 06. ABC College Productions, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. All rights reserved under U.S., International and Universal Copyright Conventions. Reproduction in part or whole by any method is prohibited by law.
  34. 34. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 34 of 39 L3 Consistentlydevelopsideasthroughappropriateuse of generalizations,examples,and/or Evidence L4 Developsideaswithappropriate depth,variety,andsufficientinteresttoengage Audience 6. Connectswith audience through ORIGINALAND APPROPRIATE CONTENT (criteriamay be further contextualizedbyinstructor in discipline) L1 Articulatesideasaccurately L2 Demonstratesappropriateapplicationof designatedorselectedideas L3 Identifieskeyelementsthatindicate understandingof frameworks/theories L4 Articulatesoriginal applications,syntheses,and/orevaluationsof academicframeworks/ Theories,validatingthemwithsubstantiatedthinkingandappropriatelyusingvalidsources 7. SELF ASSESSMENT L1 Shows awareness of a few strengths and weaknesses in a written work, based on College criteria L2 Showssome understandingof developmentinwritingability,basedonCollege criteria L3 Articulates,providingevidence,arealisticsense of writingperformanceinall criteriaareas L4 Showsa refinedsense of strengthsandweaknessesinall criteriaareas U: /CRITERIA/Criteria f or Ef fective Writing 1006 Form B
  35. 35. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 35 of 39
  36. 36. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 36 of 39 Form C
  37. 37. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 37 of 39 Data gathered and spreadsheet created by K. Pilarski 2009 Studentswho were unsuccessful inPCM480 2003FA 2004SP 2004FA 2005SP 2005FA 2006SP 2006FA 2007SP 2007FA 2008SP 2008FA 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 Validations1-4 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 Studentswho were unsuccessful inPCM400 2003FA 2004SP 2004FA 2005SP 2005FA 2006SP 2006FA 2007SP 2007FA 2008SP 2008FA 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 Validations1-4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 Studentwho were unsuccessful inPCM 300 2003FA 2004SP 2004FA 2005SP 2005FA 2006SP 2006FA 2007SP 2007FA 2008SP 2008FA 1 1 1 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 Validations1-4 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 Studentwho were unsuccessful inPCM130 2003FA 2004SP 2004FA 2005SP 2005FA 2006SP 2006FA 2007SP 2007FA 2008SP 2008FA 1 2 4 3 0 2 3 1 2 1 0 Validations1-4 1 2 1 3 0 1 3 1 2 1 0
  38. 38. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 38 of 39 Form D
  39. 39. Karen Pilarski Writing Assessment Proposal ID-675 Page 39 of 39 References ABC College. (2009).PCM department information. Retrieved on February 2, 2009 from Caffarella, R. (2002). Planning programs for adult learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.