Here's a post that appeared on the ASSESS listserv today:
I am pleased and honored to announce the formation of a new association for assessment practitioners, one that focuses on assessment practice and the factors that affect it. Designed in collaboration with a number of other assessment professionals, including Marilee Bresciani, Susan Hatfield, Ephraim Schechter, Linda Suskie, and Jon Wergin, the association will provide resources of many kinds to assessment practitioners, from assessment directors to individual faculty to graduate students.
During my tenure as Director of Assessment and Senior Scholar at the American Association for Higher Education, I had worked to organize the valuable but somewhat inchoate resources of that organization into a coherent and accessible source for information about assessment practice. Though AAHE closed before any of that work came to full fruition, I had still harbored the hope that such a source could be built. I believe that we are on the threshold of doing so.
The Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education will be housed at the University of Kentucky, the current home of the ASSESS listserv, which will become a part of AALHE. Thanks to the efforts of Marsha Watson, Kentucky’s Director of Assessment, the University is providing physical and virtual space, staff and technical support, and seed money for a first conference in June 2011.
Although the website is only now being designed, our intent is to provide a wide range of resources to those who are interested in improving student learning through assessment. In addition to the ASSESS listserv, the website will offer the following features:
• A moderated, wiki-like resource area in which practitioners can post assessment tools and strategies, from successful plans through course-based rubrics;
• A threaded blogging area on selected topics in assessment, from assessing general education to the ethics of assessment practice;
• Publications, including a juried e-journal and a quarterly newsletter;
• Communities of practice, aimed at serving different populations, from Assessment Directors to graduate students, as well as separate communities of practice for each of the accreditation regions;
• Regularly scheduled virtual conversations and webinars on specific topics;
• An annual face-to-face conference, with virtual elements.
Because the association will be largely virtual, dues and expenses will be relatively low, but we are hoping that interest will be high. In addition, some of the features, like the ASSESS listserv, will be open to non-members as well. We expect to be operational in at least some of the areas listed above by June 30, 2010, and we welcome your suggestions for services other than what’s mentioned above as we go through the design-and-implementation process.
If you want to visit our website to see its development before June 30, feel free to do so; the URL is www.aalhe.org.
Robert T. Mundhenk
Visiting Scholar, The Higher Learning Commission
Former Director of Assessment and Senior Scholar, AAHE