UNE faculty, professional staff, and student present on equity-minded assessment practices

Three UNE faculty members stand next to a research poster
Nancy Baugh, Debra Kramlich, and Dana Law-Ham recently presented at the Faculty and Professional Learning Community, co-sponsored by CETL and the University Assessment Committee.

Several University of New England faculty and professional staff recently presented their research in a Faculty and Professional Learning Community (FPLC) on Equity-Driven Assessment that was co-sponsored by UNE’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and the University Assessment Committee.

Nancy Baugh, ANP, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of nursing, Debra Kramlich, Ph.D., RN, CNE, CCRN-K, associate professor and interim director of the School of Nursing and Population Health, and Dana Law-Ham, Ph.D., RN, FNP-BC, CNE, associate clinical professor, presented their poster, “Nursing Students’ Experiences and Perceptions of Contract and Specifications Grading,” at the seventh annual CETL Faculty Symposium, held on May 16.

The nursing faculty had piloted contract and specifications grading in their nonclinical courses, and in the FPLC they explored if they could implement the same assessment method in their clinical courses to reduce inequities in student learning. To understand the impact of this method, they asked students for feedback. Sarah Desmarais, B.S.N. ’22, joined the FPLC, and 23 more students participated in focus groups. The nursing faculty found that implementing aspects of specifications grading alleviated students’ anxiety and gave students more control over their learning.

Later in the day, Kramlich, along with Joseph Simard, Ph.D., associate teaching professor of chemistry and Samuel Touchette, Ph.D. assistant teaching professor of chemistry, expanded on the same topic in a panel discussion titled “Alternative Grading: Specifications Grading.” They shared the varied ways that they have implemented specifications grading in their different disciplines.

Also at the symposium, Trisha Mason, M.A., director of the Westbrook College of Health Professions Office of Service Learning, Jennifer Mandel, Ph.D., associate director of Assessment, and graduate student assistant Charlotte Allen (D.P.T., ’23), presented their poster, “Establishing an Assessment Process in WCHP Service Learning Using Equity-Minded Practices.” 

To develop and measure Service Learning’s student learning outcomes, they solicited input from all stakeholders at the WCHP annual retreat, leadership council meeting, and a student focus group. They also built demographic questions into their measure (a survey) to disaggregate the assessment data by gender, race and ethnicity, school year, and more. Mason discussed developing the assessment processes “Just get started” and “Empower others’ voices in the process.”

Two months earlier, on March 31, Allen had discussed her experiences developing an equity-minded assessment process for WCHP Service Learning at the New England Educational Assessment Network’s (NEean) conference in a presentation titled “Student Voice in Assessment and Learning: A Primer.”

As part of the FPLC, Allen played an important role in developing and measuring Service Learning’s student learning outcomes. Among her contributions, she helped write the learning outcomes and survey, present them to program directors, and run the student focus group. She explained to the NEean audience that she learned that a significant amount of work goes on behind the scenes of writing and measuring learning outcomes.

“I appreciate it more, and I’m always curious now of how learning outcomes from different classes came to be,” she added.

Jennifer Mandel and Trisha Mason stand next to their research poster

Jennifer Mandel and Trisha Mason