Occasional Paper 23 - A Simple Model for Learning Improvement: Weigh Pig, Feed Pig, Weigh Pig
Fulcher, K. H., Good, M. R., Coleman, C. M., & Smith, K. L. (2014, December). A simple model for learning improvement: Weigh pig, feed pig, weigh pig. (Occasional Paper No. 23). Urbana, IL: University of Illinois and Indiana University, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.
In NILOA’s twenty-third occasional paper, several scholars from James Madison University present a model for using assessment results to improve learning.
Assessing learning does not by itself result in increased student accomplishment, much like a pig never fattened up because it was weighed. Indeed, recent research shows that while institutions are more regularly engaging in assessment, they have little to show in the way of stronger student performance. This paper clarifies how assessment results are related to improved learning – assess, effectively intervene, re-assess – and contrasts this process with mere changes in assessment methodology and changes to pedagogy and curriculum. It also explores why demonstrating improvement has proven difficult for higher education. We propose a solution whereby faculty, upper administration, pedagogy/curriculum experts, and assessment specialists collaborate to enhance student learning.
Keston H. Fulcher,Center for Assessment and Research Studies, Department of Graduate Psychology, James Madison University
Megan R. Good,Department of Graduate Psychology, James Madison University
Chris M. Coleman,Department of Graduate Psychology, James Madison University (now at Babson College)
Kristen L. Smith,Department of Graduate Psychology, James Madison University
Special thanks to Sara J. Finney, Teresa A. Gonzalez, Linda C. Halpern, Carol A. Hurney, Cara C. Meixner, Carole L. Nash, and Donna L. Sundre for their conceptual and practical contributions to the learning improvement model at James Madison University.