There is little doubt that educators are facing increased expectations related to assessment of student learning in their classrooms. The Examinations Institute has long (75 years!) provided materials that have helped chemistry instructors with assessment. Nonetheless, there are more avenues and more rationales for assessment now than there have been in the past. Still, instructors are not always able to find out about the available tools or how they are most effectively used.
In order to determine what materials related to assessment would be most helpful to develop, the Examinations Institute – with funding from the National Science Foundation – is undertaking a large scale needs assessment project. This project will work with chemistry instructors to identify what they need to learn about assessment as well as what type of tools would be most useful in their own assessment activities.
The project started in August 2009 and will have two phases. In phase 1, we will be conducting focus group sessions at each of the regional ACS meetings to be held in the fall of 2009. The focus group setting will allow us to identify issues related to assessment jargon that might get in the way for large scale survey research to be carried out in phase 2. The survey work will conform to appropriate sampling methodologies to make the information gleaned readily scaled up for the larger chemistry education community.