Faculty Unions and Student Assessment

Yesterday seems to have been a busy day for higher education and unions!

The National Institute for Learning Outcome Assessments (NILOA) released an interesting read yesterday: Institute Occasional Paper 9: What Faculty Union Say about Student Learning Outcomes Assessment. Gary Rhoades, from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), Mark Smith, from the National Education Association (NEA), Larry Gold, from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and George Kuh (NILOA) discussed what student outcome assessments in higher education should look like. This is something very important we should be aware of — as this is one of the next big trends coming in higher education. Now is the time for us to work together and make sure faculty and staff — the people who are the face of the university and who actually interact with students — have a say in this change.

I urge you to go ahead and read the entire paper but here are a few highlights for those of you who can’t (I am emphasizing the NEA’s position, as the ACsE, FA, GAU, and NTTFA are all NEA affiliates):

  • Funding for remedial education remains intact
  • Remedial programs are created when necessary to meet deficiencies found in assessments
  • Advisement based on the assessments are designed to help students complete their degree programs
  • Faculty and staff are stakeholders in designing assessments
  • Assessments are not used to deny or exclude students
  • No high-stakes testing (i.e., no single test to deny access to regular credit classes)
  • “The use of student assessment programs for the purpose of evaluating faculty, academic programs, or institutions.”

Related news articles:
Inside Higher Ed: Faculty Unions Weigh In on Assessment
Chronicle of Higher Education: Leaders of 3 Major Faculty Unions Cautiously Support Learning Assessments

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