To assess student learning of disciplinary knowledge and skills, and of foundational abilities, assessment should be individually based and reflect each student’s performance on their own merits and without reference to the performance of other students. Students should receive clear feedback regarding their conceptual understanding and competence in order to achieve mastery in a discipline and student performance should be judged and graded relative to a standard of excellence as articulated by the faculty member. Under such practices, faculty will be able to clearly articulate the knowledge, skills, and abilities that students should have achieved at the end of a course (i.e., course level learning objectives) and will align assessments to provide formative and summative feedback to students regarding their attainment of those standards.
The assessment of teaching and mentoring now in place at Hopkins requires immediate reform. The provost should charge the vice deans of education from across the University to determine comprehensive, transparent practices for the assessment of teaching and mentoring for all Johns Hopkins faculty.
The recommendations outlined above serve as the foundation of a strategic plan for undergraduate education. They are aspirational; details for their implementation will be developed separately. The commission does not intend that the recommendations obstruct ongoing creativity and innovation. To the contrary, they should initiate future innovation and renewed investment in undergraduate education at Johns Hopkins University.