Complexity & The Liberal Arts

Measuring Complex Domains of Learning

Davidson College | April 27, 2018

The objective for this workshop, paired with another at Haverford, is to start a dialogue across our stakeholders around the issue of access and inclusion and to consider ways in which both qualitative and quantitative assessments might be used to study this aspect (and others) of the liberal arts experience. The idea of assessment comes into play because many of our schools are collecting feedback from students around inclusion and the universal design for learning. It is important to identify patterns and trends from these data that can inform decision-making, campus programs, and faculty development. There is also recognition that “measuring” isn’t enough; students need to be given agency on this topic.

Innovations in assessment can directly address a key challenge for our institutions – demonstrating our value in a time of increasing skepticism about the liberal arts. Davidson College has identified a tool and method called Sensemaker that has the potential to manage and account for the complex domains of learning. Combined with a ‘probe-sense-respond’ process, they are exploring a design for evidence-based change. Pursuing these types of innovations as a network of allied liberal arts institutions provides evidence at scale while building capacity for experimentation and innovation at each of our institutions.

This small working group event is hosted by LACOL. Please send inquiries to Liz Evans, Director.


Photo by Mohdammed Ali on Unsplash