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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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4. Student Assessment Scholars: Cultivating and Empowering Student Voice in Assessment



Colleges and universities have made visible shifts in becoming student centered. While some institutions have done so as a result of accountability efforts imposed by federal initiatives for greater transparency through the U.S. Department of Education, such as the College Scorecard, or regional accreditation requirements, others have taken the opportunity to reframe their institutional narratives of the purpose of higher education and practice of becoming student centered. Regardless of the impetus that has charged institutions to become more student centered, tangible results of this movement can be seen scattered across university websites. Prospective students and their families may find college websites with visible student learning outcomes, dashboards with graduation and retention data, career placement numbers, and narratives around student success (Jankowski & Provezis, 2011).

It is increasingly more common for institutions to have committees created with the purpose of evaluating student success metrics, administrative positions and divisions with student success in their titles, faculty creating and revising student learning outcomes, or examining institutional survey data with the purpose of improving the learning environment. Discussions around improving educational effectiveness are ever-present. Those seated around the table in these critical discussions on student learning are often faculty members, staff, and administrators. While discussions and decisions about learning assessment, the educational environment, and institutional support for students are discussed in these committees, rarely are students invited to be at the table and given voice to speak into their own learning environment.


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