Chapter 22: Moving Forward with Assessment: Important Tips and Resources
by Elizabeth Bennion, University South Bend
This chapter provides an overview of the most important lessons to remember and resources to consult when designing an assessment plan for civic learning activities. It highlights the importance of backward design: identifying the desired results and determining acceptable evidence before planning a learning experience. The author stresses the importance of aligning desired outcomes with learning activities and assessment measures, as well as the importance of distinguishing between broad, ambiguous goals and measurable learning objectives. The chapter provides links to rubrics and surveys measuring civic knowledge, skills, and attitudes and provides readers with the information they need to create civic outcome statements that are specific, measurable, useful, and meaningful. The chapter functions as a “top-10 list” for assessing civic learning outcomes: work backward, know your goals, create measurable learning objectives, operationalize your objectives, keep it simple, map your plan, develop a rubric, assess both outcomes and process, learn from others, and close the feedback loop. Each of the tips will help a campus, program, or instructor measure the effectiveness of current civic education efforts and improve these efforts in the future.
About the Author
Elizabeth Bennion is a professor of political science at Indiana University South Bend (IUSB). In addition to teaching American Politics courses, Bennion is the founding director of IUSB’s American Democracy Project and host of WNIT’s live weekly television program Politically Speaking. In these capacities she moderates political discussions, public issue forums, and candidate debates for local, state, and national candidates. Bennion has won numerous (national, state, and local) awards for her teaching and service, and has published widely in academic books, journals, and newsletters. Her teaching, research, and service promote civic education and engagement.