As an Assessment Specialist on several projects at Carthage College I utilize my anthropological training to discover how teaching and learning happens. Rather than tallying top-down metrics, or searching for pre-determined outcomes, I employ ethnographic techniques to examine the learning community itself. This approach uncovers the objects and topics of shared meaning formed within a particular instructional space. By examining the form and patterns of communication, the structures of the learning community, and the processes of participation, ethnographic research can produce a more substantive understanding of how learning happens in your classroom.
The Humanities Citizenship Initiative - Carthage College
Tasked with evaluating the first run of a pre-college bridge program modeled after Columbia's Freedom and Citizenship Seminar, I wanted to discover exactly what was happening in the classroom. The liberal arts model, with its focus on socratic discussion and primary texts, is predicated on a set of values that privilege the cultivation of the intellect over career-oriented instruction. How were these values communicated in the classroom? I designed a micro-ethnographic study, a detailed descriptive methodology, based on intensive participant-observation, interviews with students, tutors and teachers, systematic observation of engagement, and series of short questionnaires.
Equity and Inclusion Initiative - Carthage College
Sponsored by a grant from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, this quantitative assessment of a first-year academic requirement aims to identify areas of need that affect students from traditionally underserved populations, and opportunities to better support the development of the broad range of capabilities associated with college success. I designed a measurement technique to complement the college's standard grading rubric that would identify areas of skill and potential that first-year writers utilize, but which aren't privileged in the college's expected learning outcomes and grading standards.
Carthage Music Academy - Carthage College and Washington Middle School
Does music education produce more confident and compassionate student-citizens? This evaluation project employed theories of self-efficacy and group-learning to examine the outcomes of students who benefited from small-group lessons provided by Carthage music education majors. This mixed-method design examined both the students' learning outcomes and why they were tracked into the Carthage Music Academy Program.