GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 183-9
Presentation Time: 3:45 PM


NUHFER, Edward, Geoscience Professor, Director of Faculty Development and Learning Assessment (retired), Cal State Channel Islands & Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521, FLEISHER, Steven, PhD, Psychology, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA 93012, WIRTH, Karl R., Geology Department, Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN 55105, WATSON, Rachel, Microbiology and Chemistry, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, COGAN, Christopher, Geography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF A1C 5S7, Canada and SCHARFF, Lauren, Behavioral Science and Leadership, United States Air Force Academy, USAFA, CO 80840

We share results from paired measures of cognitive competence via the Science Literacy Concept Inventory (SLCI) and self-assessed competence taken from knowledge surveys (KSs) and global queries. The SLCI measures understanding of science as a way of knowing. That is the primary learning outcome for required general education introductory-level science courses, which constitute the largest enrollment science courses in American colleges and universities. In keeping with doing assessment of learning in aggregate, we focus on institutional assessments through studying students grouped by specific academic ranks at separate institutions. Paired measures reveal surprising insights that conventional tests of cognitive knowledge alone cannot provide. The value we obtained from using separate paired measures impressed us so much that we modified the original SLCI to obtain the cognitive and affective self-assessment measures from a single instrument. The modifications that offer validated self-assessment measures and indicators of mindset (Carol Dweck's growth and fixed) add less than a minute to the total time participants spend in taking the SLCI.

In the late 1960s, William G. Perry Jr. discovered that successful education produces development in stages that have signature cognitive and affective attributes. Since becoming educated requires mastery of specified content together with developing the understanding of self, the most appropriate instructional designs attend to both. Enactments of such instructional designs seem rare, and rarer still are assessments that secure measures of both. The intellectual development offered by knowledge surveys is a unique exception. Each item of a KS addresses specific content posed as a challenge that requires a respondent to focus in the moment on present knowledge and skill and render a rating of self-assessed competency to meet the challenge. Pairing such responses with direct measures of competence taken with a nationally recognized validated exam advances assessment to new territory. The compilation "Reversals in Psychology" already credits this work with disrupting the behavioral science consensus about the nature of human self-assessment.

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