On May 20 and 21, 2019, the South Jordan Campus of Roseman University had the opportunity to learn more about assessment review, a key component of the Roseman Six-Point Mastery Learning Model, from two of the university’s founders and a panel of other seasoned Roseman faculty. In the May 21st session, the panelists were Renee Coffman, President and Cofounder of Roseman University; Chuck Lacy, Vice President for Executive Affairs and Cofounder of Roseman University; Delos Jones, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs in the College of Nursing; David Rawlins, Assistant Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy; and, Duane Winden, Assistant Professor in the College of Dental Medicine.
President Coffman began by providing context for the use of an assessment review. She noted that the Roseman learning model is akin to the model for learning music, sports, or other skills. The student is given instruction on how to perform the skill, an opportunity to practice the skill, and frequent feedback on how to improve their performance. In that spirit, the cycle of assessment, feedback, and reassessment are integral to the Roseman learning model. Roseman students are expected to demonstrate a sufficient level of competency (usually 90%) on summative assessments. If they do not pass an initial assessment they have the opportunity to receive feedback, engage in additional practice, and then reassess. Assessment review is a method for providing group feedback after an assessment. During the review, faculty meet with the entire class to discuss what was covered on the assessment, clarify misconceptions, and expand upon the underlying concepts.
President Coffman pointed out that even students who achieve the passing standard for an assessment can reap competency-enhancing benefits from assessment review, with Dr. Lacy adding that students sometimes get the right answers for the wrong reason or by guessing. A good assessment review is one that helps clarify how students should think about the problems. To this point, Dr. Delos emphasized that an assessment review ought to be about more than just reading through the assessment questions and relaying answers, it should also get at the larger concepts. Dr. Rawlins agreed, adding that one of the goals he has during assessment reviews is to help students think through how to solve the problems.
Beyond correcting student misunderstanding, another potential positive effect of assessment review may be improved retention through reinforcement of learning. A faculty member in attendance shared her experience on rotation with a student who had gone through repeated feedback and reassessment cycles. She found this student remembered and applied some concepts in practice better than other students who had passed the first assessment. To further aid student knowledge retention, President Coffman advised faculty to develop a broad, comprehensive understanding of where their material fits in the curriculum and in practice so they can help their students make relevant, lasting connections.
Finally, President Coffman asserted that assessment review can be a learning experience for faculty as well as students. Faculty can learn from student perspectives about how to avoid ambiguity in item writing and receive feedback on whether a question was really assessing what was intended. Students and faculty who approach the assessment review as an opportunity to learn and to achieve a mutual understanding, rather than a venue in which they have to defend their own point of view, are more likely to avoid conflict. To this end, Dr. Winden suggested faculty address and treat students as though they will be our lifelong colleagues, because they probably will be. For faculty who are nervous and unsure about how to conduct an effective assessment review, Dr. Coffman recommended watching others, having them watch you, and developing mentor/mentee relationships.
The panel discussion of May 21 underscored that assessment reviews are an integral part of the Roseman Six-Point Mastery Learning Model. They are designed to enhance student learning by correcting areas of student misunderstanding, to improve student knowledge retention and conceptual connections, and to help faculty develop their ability to engage in productive dialogue with students and write better assessments.
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Tyler Rose, PhD
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Roseman University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy