Alverno’s approach to program assessment has been conceptually grounded by both the college’s distinct ability-based curriculum that integrates the liberal arts with education in professions and by broader frameworks of inquiry. With curriculum-wide abilities explicitly integrated into disciplinary curricular frameworks, both disciplinary and cross-disciplinary departments are able to coordinate their more specific approaches to program assessment within a broadly shared assessment theory that has evolved through sustained collaborative work.
Although education in the professions has been increasingly placed under external mandates that require students to pass primarily knowledge-based standardized tests to obtain a license or even enter the program of study (5), the college's grounding conceptual framework has enabled its various programs to proactively engage more progressive approaches to accountability that retain a commitment to assessing a broader range of student learning outcomes (6).
School of Education
Collective review of student performance in field work has been a long-standing activity of department faculty in the School of Education (8,10). In recent years these activities have been formalized into annual "data retreats" where faculty in the graduate and undergraduate programs review sources of data, including performance data from student teaching portfolios. At the request of the School of Education, Alverno College's Educational Research and Evaluation office has also supported a variety of student and alumna studies (1,2,3,4,5,7,9,11). Ongoing updated reporting on Alverno prepared teachers is provided for five-year retention of graduates in the field, surveys of graduates' perception of their preparation, and surveys of employers' perceptions of Alverno teacher preparation. Ongoing criterion-based review of student teaching portfolios has now been more firmly linked to national norms for student teaching performance through the School's participation in Teacher Performance Assessment (TPA) system supported by Pearson Education Inc. Alverno supervising faculty have learned the TPA scoring system as part of a process of comparing results from it with their own program-based criteria and judgments.
(1) Alverno College Educational Research & Evaluation. (2000, Spring). The student teaching portfolios: An interim evaluation. Unpublished manuscript, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI.
(2) Alverno College Educational Research & Evaluation. (2003). Master in administrative leadership portfolio review: Interim report. Unpublished manuscript, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI.
(3) Alverno College Educational Research & Evaluation. (2004). Master in administrative leadership portfolio review: Report 2004. Unpublished manuscript, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI.
(4) Alverno College Educational Research & Evaluation. (2005). Student teaching assessments: The cooperating teacher evaluations. Unpublished manuscript, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI.
(5) Alverno College Educational Research & Evaluation. (2010). PRAXIS I and progression into the education major: Multiple attempts and impact on minorities. Unpublished manuscript, Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI.
(6) Diez, M. E., Athanasiou, N., & Pointer Mace, D. (2010, November/December). Expeditionary learning: The Alverno College teacher education model. Change: 18-24.
(7) Diez, M. E., Rickards, W. H., & Lake, K. (1994). Performance assessment in teacher education at Alverno College. In T. Warren (Ed.), Promising practices: Teacher education in liberal arts colleges (pp. 9-18). Lanham, MD: University Press of America and Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education.
(8) Lake, K., Reisetter Hart, J., Rickards, W., & Rogers, G. (2009). Integrating student and program assessment with a teacher candidate portfolio. In T. Banta, K. Black, & B. Jones (Eds.), Designing effective assessment: Principles and profiles of good practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
(9) Rickards, W. H., & Diez, M. E. (1992, April). Integrating multiple internal and external data sources in the institutional evaluation of teacher education. In M. Woodward (Chair), Research and evaluation in graduate and professional education. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Asssociation, San Francisco. Milwaukee, WI: Alverno College Productions.
(10) Rogers, G., & Lake, K. (2004). Institutional example: Alverno College. In P. L. Maki, Assessing for learning: Building a sustainable commitment across the institution (pp. 95-96). Sterling, VA: Stylus.
(11) Rogers, G., & Mentkowski, M. (1994). Alverno faculty validation of abilities scored in five-year alumna performance. Milwaukee, WI: Alverno College Institute.