Research in Higher Education

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 327-352

Developing Performance Indicators for Assessing Classroom Teaching Practices and Student Learning

  • Alberto F. CabreraAffiliated withCenter for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE), The Pennsylvania State University
  • , Carol L. ColbeckAffiliated withCenter for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE)
  • , Patrick T. TerenziniAffiliated withCenter for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE)

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Several states are requiring institutions to document changes in student outcomes. Regional and specialized accrediting agencies are also changing their review criteria from measuring inputs to assessing indicators of student learning. This article describes the results of an evaluation project that sought to develop performance indicators of learning gains for undergraduate engineering students. Specifically, the study investigated the relationship between classroom practices and students' gains in professional competencies. More than 1,250 students from 7 universities participated. Findings show that the instructional practices of Instructor Interaction and Feedback, Collaborative Learning, and Clarity and Organization are significantly and positively associated with gains in students' self-reported gains in problem-solving skills, group skills, and understanding of engineering as an occupation. The indicators meet several conditions recommended by the assessment literature. They are (1) meaningful to the user, (2) reliable and valid, and (3) index observable behaviors rather than subjective impressions.

student outcomes classroom practices assessment