Assessing Practices of Public Scholarship (APPS)

Pre-Gathering on Democratically-Engaged Assessment

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Session Description

The APPS Pre-Gathering acknowledges problems of metrics-driven assessment and proposes more holistic alternatives: practices of Democratically-Engaged Assessment (DEA). We contend that the story of assessment is the same old human story of power, privilege, and fear – and that radically democratic practices are a useful antidote. DEA reimagines assessment not as a focus on jumping through hoops held by powerful others but as a cultural practice through which we can transform our institutions, our communities, and ourselves. Participants will be introduced to DEA and then use the model to surface their own values and set them in conversation with the values of democratic engagement. We will explore the implications of using the DEA framework to inform how and what we assess with students, faculty, staff, community partners, and institutions.
The pre-gathering experience will guide participants through a series of activities to reimagine their assessment work using DEA as a lens.  Following a conceptual introduction and initial engagement with the framework, participants will examine their assessment practices and develop an action plan for their own work in a specific arena. Reflective exercises and collaborative activities will help participants surface their assumptions about the role of values in assessment, the values they enact through their assessment, tension points that arise across phases of assessment, and opportunities to negotiate tensions through the lens of DEA.  In keeping with the tenets of the framework, participants will not only enhance their own work, but also will contribute to the ongoing and co-creative development of the DEA framework itself.
This concept of DEA was developed over the past several years by the national IA working group Assessing the Practices of Public Scholarship. This preconference invites you to learn with the APPS group and other colleagues and to further shape the theory and practice of democratically-engaged assessment.
The pre-gathering is limited to only 45 participants.
Participant Learning Outcomes

By the end of this pre-gathering, participants will:

  • • Attends to value-free, value-neutral, value-laden, and values-engaged framings for assessment practice.

    • Articulates the sources and implications of assumptions about the values-orientations of assessment.

    • Identifies the value commitments participants themselves bring to their assessment practice and to their work more generally, and the values of the systems within which they work, and those of democratic engagement.

  • • Becoming familiar with the assessment and community engagement traditions that inform DEA

    • Exploring the framework of DEA and its application to existing literatures on assessment.

    • Engaging in the application of the framework to their own assessment practices.

  • • Making assessment more participatory, collaborative, co-creative, generative, rigorous, and practical.

    • Making assessments that rigorously understand the impacts on students, faculty, institutions of higher education, community partners, and community members.

  • • Identifying the values inherent in a variety of assessment practices.

    • Analyzing any contradictions that exist between values and outcomes, and values of different stakeholders in assessment

    • Creating actionable enhancements to assessment practices that better align with value commitments, and defining processes by which conflicting values and outcomes may be reconciled.

    • Contributing to and expanding the framework of DEA in its capacities to better support democratic assessment.

  • • Analyzing the challenges to enacting assessment practices that “walk the talk” of their own grounding values, and possibly those of DEA.

    • Proposing methods, tools, and processes that help to meet these challenges, aspiring to transform their own practices and the systems within which they work.

Thursday, October 18, 2018
12 – 6:30 PM
Tentative Schedule

Check-in and Settling In
Introducing and Engaging DEA
Mapping Assessment Strategies and Values
Applying DEA to Our Assessment Practice
Next Steps and Feedback on DEA

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