About assessment and analytics at CNDLS

At CNDLS we believe that assessment is a process, rather than a product, that focuses on identifying, capturing, analyzing, and visualizing information to enhance our understanding of how well learning inputs and learning environments impact and improve student learning outcomes. As a process, assessment is ideally:

  • Collaborative (involving all key stakeholders)
  • Goal-oriented and outcomes-based (systematic mapping from micro to macro levels)
  • Intentional and iterative (that enables usage of assessment results for effecting improvements)
  • Strategic and evaluative (used for evidence-based decision making, and “seeing change over time”).

In contrast, evaluation often consists of comparing two sets of circumstances, such as the same class taught online and taught in-person, whereas assessment focuses on alignment of achievement with intended goals. However, there is a lot of overlap in the ways of thinking, the methods utilized and the ultimate goals of both assessment and evaluation. Evaluation is typically:

  • Conducted by outsiders whereas assessment is typically done by insiders
  • Associated with high stakes, such as funding or program continuation
  • Conducted at the end of a project, whereas assessment is an ongoing process that is fundamental to improving teaching and learning.

How can CNDLS help with your assessment needs?

  • Writing and aligning SMART learning goals and objectives
  • Gathering and interpreting student learning feedback, including course evaluations
  • Instructional design focused on competency-, outcomes-based assessment
  • Mapping instructional alignment from institutional values to program and course level outcomes
  • Survey and focus group design and implementation for student feedback on programs
  • Best practices on multiple forms of evaluating teaching
  • Using digital tools for assessment (Qualtrics, Dedoose, Coursetune)
  • Applying Bloom’s taxonomies, VALUE rubrics, Quality Matters, or inclusive pedagogy criteria to courses and curricula
  • Education-related grant project evaluation

Contact us at CNDLS for a conversation about your assessment questions, project, or needs.

Services that we offer

Mid-semester teaching feedback

CNDLS offers a confidential Mid-Semester Teaching Feedback service to instructors teaching at Georgetown. This is an assessment technique conducted at the midpoint of the semester that uses small groups to gather feedback from students on aspects of a course that are new or changed from the previous semester, course activities such as class time, homework, projects, lab work, use of technology, and a lot more. The resulting feedback then allows faculty to implement changes in the remainder of the semester based on student comments.

More about mid-semester teaching feedback.

Survey design and hosting

CNDLS provides survey design consultation, hosting and analysis for:

  • Instructors wanting an independent third party to help them collect pre-, mid-, or end-of-semester survey feedback from their students
  • Department chairs wanting anonymous or confidential incoming or exit surveys for majors or programs
  • Committee or working group chairs needing new information or feedback from students on their learning experiences.

More about designing surveys with CNDLS.

Program assessment and evaluation

CNDLS works with department chairs and unit leads who wish to assess how well a program or curriculum is serving students and achieving its goals. This work includes developing learning goals, curriculum mapping, developing exit or alumni surveys, conducting focus groups or interviews with graduating seniors, facilitating the scoring of student outputs, and helping gain access to and utilize systems-level or institutional data. Related opportunities include our Course & Curriculum Design consultations and our Productive Open Design Spaces (PODS), where departments can propose a curricular redesign and/or assessment project and receive coaching and creative guidance. You might also check out our 8 Steps to Curricular Change.

Contact us for a conversation about program evaluation.

Educational research and grant support

CNDLS provides support and collaboration for educational research at the course level, such as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) or evaluating the use of new educational technologies or pedagogies, as well as longitudinally for postsecondary educational grants. Support may take the form of advice and consultation, co-design and assistance in data collection, or analysis and co-authorship. CNDLS can provide pedagogical expertise and feedback on the educational components of grant proposals, as well as assistance writing and conducting evaluation sections of postsecondary educational grants from private or federal funders. We are open collaborators and welcome conversations about potential joint research projects.

Contact us for a conversation about educational research and grant support.

Learning Analytics

CNDLS can help instructors understand and utilize Canvas and other learning platform analytics for the purpose of better understanding and visualizing student engagement with learning materials on the platform. You might be interested in our tip sheet on Canvas course analytics or our recorded webinar.

Contact us for a conversation about learning analytics.

Learning Analytics Network DC Chapter

The Learning Analytics Learning Network (LALN) is an international initiative that builds capacity around learning analytics. The master's program that CNDLS founded, the Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) program, is spearheading the DC chapter, LALNDC, of this growing international network.

As a formal interface between the LDT academic program and the broader educational community, LALNDC supports the professional development of students and contributes to the national and international profile of the LDT Program. LALNDC serves as an active community of practice operating through a series of outreach efforts and is led by a student-faculty partnership team. It primarily focuses on activities related to Learning Analytics, Equity, and Social Change. We’d love to have you join us. Fill out the form to join or email the LDT program for more information.

Looking for more tips and resources on assessment?

We’ve put together a collection of guidance and services on learning assessment that you might want to check out.

Visit the teaching guide on assessment and student feedback.

CNDLS-supported Assessment Activity

Assessment Activity Description Recent Examples
Course-level student assessment CNDLS consults with instructors around assessment, learning outcomes, feedback, assignments and grading in their course. We also assist instructors in data gathering through student surveys and other forms of feedback which then informs conversations and ideas for course improvement with the instructor.
  • Course-level survey design and hosting
  • Mid-semester teaching feedback
  • Course evaluation interpretation and coaching
  • Writing SMART learning goals and objectives
  • Identifying and implementing assessment methods
Learning goals development and alignment through curricular mapping joining the course and program level
Course goals, objectives, formative & summative assessment and media assets are all consistently developed and mapped to program goals within our residential and online program design and development work.
  • Assisting Medical School in mapping Health Equity requirement
  • Aligning outcomes of all GeorgetownX MOOCs using AAC&U Integrative Learning Rubric
  • Inclusive pedagogy criteria used to map Summer Online goals and outcomes across courses
  • Bloom’s Cognitive and Affective Taxonomies used to develop goals and outcomes in SCS MPS degree programs
Curricular assessment, data gathering, and improvement efforts for departments and programs CNDLS consults with and facilitates conversations with department chairs and leaders on curricular assessment and alignment, as well as helping to perform data gathering for curricular improvement.
  • Economics and Physics Department undergraduate senior surveys
  • EMAP graduate program entering, midpoint and graduating surveys
  • Art History Department PODS curriculum mapping
  • Consultations on curriculum mapping, including using CourseTune software
University-wide assessment conversations and data efforts CNDLS provides research, information, best practices, and data collection and analysis in support of university committees or provost-requested large scale assessment efforts.
  • Academic Engagement Student Pulse project in collaboration with OADS
  • University-wide climate survey work in collaboration with OADS
  • Teaching evaluations redesign and new instrument pilot
  • MCEF request for multiple forms of evaluating teaching
  • Student focus groups for University Intellectual Life Report