Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An examination of the assessment practices of community college instructors
by BoarerPitchford, Julie K., Ph.D., Capella University, 2010, 153; 3397237
Abstract (Summary)

Critical thinking is an important outcome of a college education. Assessment techniques that require students to demonstrate their understanding of course concepts are referred to as authentic assessment and promote the development of critical thinking. Little research exists on the types of assessment and grading practices utilized by community college instructors. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the incidence and nature of various assessment practices used by community college faculty for basing the course grade at two community colleges in California. In addition, this study examined the percentage of the course grade that was based on traditional and authentic assessment. Furthermore, the study was designed to determine if statistically significant differences exist in assessment techniques by faculty status (full time vs. part time), degree earned (Ph.D. vs. M.A.), by online teaching status (teach online vs. not), and teaching experience (less than 3, 3 to 7, 8 to 15, more than 15 years). To facilitate this study, an online survey instrument was used to obtain data from faculty employed at Mt. San Jacinto College and Sierra College. Study results revealed that a variety of assessment practices are used by community college instructors with differences in relation to faculty status, level of academic achievement, online teaching status, and years of teaching experience. In addition, findings indicate that faculty primarily uses authentic assessment in basing the course grade as compared to objective or traditional assessment suggesting that they are using assessment techniques that promote critical thinking. A significant finding was that part-time faculty emphasizes objective exams, attendance, and homework whereas fulltime faculty emphasizes research projects and learning journals. Findings suggest that professional development may be warranted for faculty by faculty status. Data from this study contributes to an understanding of the characteristics of faculty assessment practices in community colleges in the state of California.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Myers, Carmen
Commitee: Doran, Cheryl, Johansen, Keith
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 71/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational tests & measurements, Higher education
Keywords: Assessment techniques, Authentic assessment, Community college, Critical thinking
Publication Number: 3397237
ISBN: 978-1-109-68948-8
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