Assessment Resources: (in addition to our general Campus Assessment website)
Common Core State Standards Initiative: The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC): As noted on their website, "PARCC is a consortium of states working together to develop a common set of K-12 assessments in English and math anchored in what it takes to be ready for college and careers. These new K-12 assessments will build a pathway to college and career readiness by the end of high school, mark students' progress toward this goal from 3rd grade up, and provide teachers with timely information to inform instruction and provide student support. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year." It is important to note that New York is one of the states participating. As such, we need to be familiar with the ways in which this initiative will affect our incoming students. Click here to view more information about our state's role.
United Opt Out National: The movement to end punitive public school testing. Members of this site are "parents, educators, and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of high stakes testing in public education. We use this site to collaborate, exchange ideas, support one another, share information and initiate collective local and national actions to end the reign of fear and terror promoted by the high stakes testing agenda."
Perspectives from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills: A major national K-12 initiative, inspired by a group called the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, has been developed and is currently being implemented by over a dozen states, including Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The Partnership has developed what they call "a holistic and systematic view of how we can reconceptualize and reinvigorate public education, bringing together all the elements—21st century student outcomes and 21st century educational support systems—into a unified framework. That framework includes the core subjects typical of K-12 education but it also specifies what they call "21st Century themes" (global awareness; financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy; civic literacy; health literacy; and environmental literacy); "learning and innovation skills" (creativity and innovation; critical thinking and problem solving; and communication and collaboration); "information, media and technology skills" (information literacy; media literacy; and information and communications technology literacy); and "life and career skills" (flexibility and adaptability; initiative and self-direction; social and cross-cultural skills; productivity and accountability; and leadership and responsibility). The Partnership recognizes that to accomplish the reinvigoration they seek they need a foundation of support systems consisting of standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, and learning environments.
In 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn (James Balance and Ron Brandt, eds. Bloomington, Illinois: Solution Tree Press, 2010), one chapter, "Comparing Frameworks for 21st Century Skills," authored by Chris Dede, offers an extensive review of the sorts of skills that have been identified as critical for the future for all students, whether they end up attending college or not. He reviews the Partnership's framework (as cited above) and then goes on to look at the skills other individuals and groups have recently come up with. For example, the enGauge Framework and the Metri Group cite digital age literacy (basic, scientific, economic, and technological literacies; visual and information literacies; multicultural literacy and global awareness); inventive thinking (adaptability, managing complexity, and self-direction; curiosity, creativity, and risk taking; higher-order thinking and sound reasoning); effective communication (teaming, collaboration, and interpersonal skills; personal, social, and civic responsibility; interactive communication); and high productivity (prioritizing, planning, and managing for results; effective use of real-world tools, ability to produce relevant, high-quality products). In another chapter of the Balance & Brandt collection, titled "A Framework for Assessing 21st Century Skills," Douglas Reeves suggests that 'learning" (and by implication being learning-centered or learning-oriented) isn't enough and that we need to give attention to at least four other skills: understanding, creating, exploring and sharing. He describes "learning" as involving questions such as "What do you know?" and "What are you able to do?"” But "understanding" asks "What is the evidence that you can apply learning in one domain to another?" "Creating" deals with "What new ideas, knowledge, or understandings can you offer?" "Exploring" asks "What did you learn beyond the limits of the lesson? What mistakes did you make, and how did you learn from them?" And, finally, "Sharing" is about "How did you use what you have learned to help a person, the class, your community, or the planet?"Chapter summaries from Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look At How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More by Derek Bok (summaries written by Dick Reddy):
The National Leadership Council and Liberal Education and America's Promise (LEAP) (initiatives of the American Association of Colleges & Universities, AAC&U, of which SUNY Fredonia is a member) have developed a comprehensive framework that hundreds of campuses, including the entire California State University system, has adopted. They suggest that "beginning in school, and continuing at successively higher levels across their college studies, students should prepare for 21st century challenges" through categories: "knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world, including study in sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts" and with "focused by engagement with big questions, both contemporary and enduring;" "intellectual and practical skills, including inquiry and analysis, critical and creative thinking, written and oral communication, quantitative literacy, information literacy, and teamwork and problem solving" which would be "practiced extensively across the curriculum in the context of progressively more challenging problems, projects, and standards for performance;" "personal and social responsibility," including "civic knowledge and engagement—local and global, intercultural knowledge and competence, ethical reasoning and action, and foundations and skills for lifelong learning," these being "anchored through active involvement with diverse communities and real-world challenges;" and "integrative learning, including synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies" which would be "demonstrated through the application of knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems."
Integrating Diversity with Campus-Wide Initiatives: Below are links to several good campus models.
Colgate University: Links diversity to recruiting efforts and weaves it through the core curriculum requirements:
Hamilton College: Their baccalaureate goals include "understanding of cultural diversity" and they have a commitment to liberal arts core curriculum with breadth (including three writing intensive courses, quantitative literacy, symbolic reasoning, 'proseminars' (communication and engagement)), depth in a concentration, and a senior program in the concentration.
Hartwick College: Innovative diversity statement which is linked to their mission and philosophy. An interesting model that focuses on "mission, values, purpose, character" of the institution as well as the faculty/staff and students.
Fisk University (a historically black college): This institution integrates a multicultural, interdisciplinary focus via core curriculum experiences. Notice how these are written to emphasize learning that could be inside as well as outside the classroom.
Alverno College: The largest Catholic women's college in the U.S. is nationally recognized (#1 in US News and World Report for doing the "best job of educating undergraduates") for its student- and learning-centered curriculum. They have an 8-point "abilities curriculum" and narrative grades rather than a standard letter-grade, GPA-measuring transcript. And a lot more. . . take a look.
San Francisco State University: This institution is a large public university in the Cal State University system, which has adopted the LEAP framework system-wide with campuses tailoring it to their own specificity. This campus has undergone a nationally recognized strategic planning process, nearly all of which is posted on their website. See the introduction to that document which embeds a learning-outcomes framework with major initiatives, including (among many others) commitment to diversity. SFSU is among the top-ranked campuses for experiential learning, internationalization, and much more.
Integrating Sustainability with the Campus Culture: Several institutions have set good examples regarding the ways in which they are embracing sustainability on their campuses:
Ithaca College: "Our campus sustainability initiative has three, highly inter-related aspects: curriculum and research, campus operations, and community outreach. In our curricula, we work with faculty to help them to infuse more sustainability theory and practice into coursework across disciplines. We actively work with operational managers on campus and partner organizations in the local community to identify opportunities for our students to research more sustainable solutions for their operations. In our campus operations, we constantly strive to create a "living-learning" environment that models and reinforces for our students what they learn about sustainability in their classrooms. As a learning organization, we strive to lighten our own "footprint" and become a more sustainable campus.”
"We continually work to "spread the message" about the critical importance of more sustainable decision-making. Sustainability for Ithaca College is not a competitive advantage, it is an operational imperative, so it is important for us share what we have learned with others and to learn from others as well."
Oberlin College: "The Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) works to facilitate the implementation of the College's comprehensive environmental policy in line with the College's strategic goal of sustainability and commitment to carbon neutrality. OES interacts with the administration, faculty, staff, and students to focus attention on ways to maximize the environmental performance of Oberlin College and develop the awareness and tools required to respond dynamically to issues affecting them. It also reaches out to the wider community and provides a connection between Oberlin and regional and national activities."
Colgate University: "Colgate is committed to sustainability. Our approach places emphasis on four areas:
As part of their Core Curriculum, students at Colgate are required to take: "Legacies of the Ancient World," "Challenges of Modernity," one course from "Communities and Identities" category, and one course from "Scientific Perspectives on the World" category. This latter category includes a large array of courses, most of which incorporate not only scientific principles, but also those of sustainability (e.g., "Energy & Sustainability").
Hamilton College: "As leaders in education and environmental stewardship, students, faculty, and staff at Hamilton College are committed to protecting and sustaining the environment through institutional processes, management of facilities, and curriculum." One goal to accomplish this mission is to "support and encourage curricular programming for environmental education at Hamilton College." This institution has stated college goals and purposes, which include "Ethical, Informed and Engaged Citizenship — developing an awareness of the challenges and responsibilities of local, national and global citizenship, and the ability to meet such challenges and fulfill such responsibilities by exercising sound and informed judgment in accordance with just principles."
Cloud Institute for Sustainability in Education: A professional/curriculum development organization providing alternatives for teaching the idea of "sustainable futures." Their stated mission is "to ensure the viability of sustainable communities by leveraging changes in K-12 school systems to prepare young people for the shift toward a sustainable future."Employer Views on Needed Skills: Several organizations have examined/are examining the skills and knowledge that employers are seeking in college graduates/new employees:
The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) connects campus recruiting and career services professionals, and provides best practices, trends, research, professional development, and conferences. A November 2011 article indicated that teamwork and verbal communication skills are the top "soft skills" that employers are seeking in job candidates.
The Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University (CERI) strives to increase our understanding of young adults in their transition from college to work:
US Dept of Labor: Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) Report, 2004: The Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) was asked to examine the demands of the workplace and whether today's young people are capable of meeting those demands. Specifically, the Commission was directed to advise the Secretary on the level of skills required to enter employment. In carrying out this charge, the Commission was asked to:
Conference Board of Canada: The Education and Learning department helps leaders work together to develop a skilled and innovative society that will prepare Canadians for today's knowledge-based economy. We conduct leading-edge research, facilitate dialogue, recognize excellence and communicate results, creating maximum impact and change in Canada's educational practices and policies. The Conference Board released its Employability Skills Report 2000+ highlighting 3 areas:
The 7 Revolutions Ideas (supported by AASCU): What are the 7 Revolutions? 7 Revolutions began at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in 1992 as a research and education effort to study the most important trends likely to impact the world over the next 30 years, embodying both opportunities and risks ahead and transforming the way we live and interact with others. These trends include: