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Student-Focused Learning and Assessment

Involving Students in the Learning Process in Higher Education

Edited By Natasha A. Jankowski, Gianina R. Baker, Erick Montenegro and Karie Brown-Tess

This contributed volume explores institutional and programmatic policies and practices which actively engage students as partners in improving student learning. This entails an examination of the degree to which students are partners in the assessment and learning processes and the characteristics of these partnerships. This volume showcases student partnerships, as well as presents a history of institutional culture affecting student learning, the role of students in teaching and learning, and brings student voices and perspectives to bare through research from a variety of institutional types. Case studies, current programs and activities, and a model for culturally-responsive assessment are highlighted to better understand student-focused learning and assessment. Implications for faculty, staff, and administrators are questioned. Overall, this volume links research to practice, and offers faculty, practitioners, and administrators different forms and methods of including students, while keeping issues of equity in mind.

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Assessment in the United States has been steeped in a long-standing tension between assessment for reporting to external accountability purposes and bodies, and assessment for improving student learning and the learning process (Ewell, 2009). As calls for additional transparency of student learning information continue across both assessment for external quality assurance and internal improvement, active communication of assessment-related information and results to students has risen as a priority (Jankowski & Cain, 2015). Yet, few students are aware of the learning outcomes to which their education strives (Hart Research Associates, 2015), let alone how the curriculum is designed (or not) to help them achieve these outcomes. Frameworks of how to involve students in the learning process have increased and awareness needing to better understand students’ perceptions of assessment is growing (Jankowski & Marshall, 2017). In fact, calls for the importance of student involvement in assessment have grown so much that in 2016, a national designation for Excellence in Assessment in the United States included questions in the review process for the designation about the involvement of students in assessment (Kinzie, Hinds, Jankowski, & Rhodes, 2017). Yet, in national surveys of institutional assessment processes and practices provosts consistently report “none” for student involvement in assessment (Jankowski, Timmer, Kinzie, & Kuh, 2018).

In order to fill the gap between increased calls for student involvement in assessment and limited movement towards student involvement in the actual practice of assessing student learning,...

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