Abstract: In 2008 the department of history at Western Michigan University completed a decade-long review and reform of its undergraduate curriculum. We did this to improve the rigor of our programs while adding flexibility, decreasing time to degree, increasing rates of retention, and, of course, improving student performance. A departmental assessment strategy was put in place at the same time, and, though well intentioned, it did not function as expected. It did not because it could not. Artifacts were largely independent from our now well-developed objectives and outcomes; some had little relevance to the courses they were pulled from, others attempted to speak for more than was possible. The data were interesting but less than useful and almost never put to practical ends, either in curricular revisions or in other, more basic, departmental decisions. In 2011, we set out to correct this by creating a more authentic assessment strategy, developed from best practices models and designed with the unique features of our programs in mind. The result was a program of electronic portfolio-based assessment where individual students gathered and retained assessment artifacts—essays, papers, and other samples of their work—throughout their undergraduate careers. Yearly assessment would be as easy as pulling samples of student work, redacting identifying information, and scoring these samples with specially designed qualitative rubrics.
2240118 J3GAST5E items 1 apa default ASC