Domain-specific Assessment: What Foundational Concepts and Reasoning Skills are Community College Students Learning?


The nation is not keeping up with the demand for skilled STEM workers, particularly for those higher-paying middle-skill jobs that require some college but not a bachelor’s degree. Postsecondary educators contribute to such shortages by operating in disciplinary silos, using slow processes to update curriculum, using instruction dominated by lectures, and covering content without an eye toward how students will someday apply it in their lives.

The Domain-Specific Assessment project developed a set of tools and assessment items that measure students’ capacity to apply knowledge rather than simply memorize vast amounts of it. An overview of the approach to the methodology is presented in this paper.

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