Signature Assignments

Samples by topic:

In general, high-impact assignments

  • explicitly ask the students to address the three Expose student learning outcomes and connected the three outcomes with the assignment.
  • pull back the curtain and let students know that this assignment connects directly with Research that Reaches Out initiatives.

Faculty should feel free to adopt, adapt, or contact your colleagues about any of the assignments found above.

What is a signature assignment?

A signature assignment is one assignment developed intentionally to highlight and encourage student knowledge and competencies. The use of signature assignments has emerged in the past few years:

  • as a mechanism for demonstration of skill on behalf of the student
  • for the creation of intellectually engaging assignments by the faculty and for sharing those assignments that lead to impactful learning
  • for facilitating meaningful consistency of common general education standards within institutions

How do signature assignments connect to Research that Reaches Out?

The signature assignments for the Expose level of Research that Reaches Out are implemented in the foundational general education core courses taken by all first-year students. These core courses are:

  • INT 101: Understanding Self and Others
  • GBK 101: Understanding Self and Others: Among Gods & Heroes
  • TCO 141: Introduction to Professional Communication

The Expose-level signature assignment directs students to address the following in an assignment (one single assignment or a set of scaffolded or connected assignments):

  1. Critically analyze multiple perspectives or theories about a relevant issue/problem faced by a local, national, or global community.
  2. Propose solutions to a local, national, or global issue/problem using academic knowledge and scholarship.
  3. Articulate ethical reasoning in considering a local, national, or global issue/problem.

The Faculty & Staff Guide for those working with traditional Macon undergraduate students contains more information on the student learning outcomes and what they mean.

If I teach one of the courses, what should I do?

Part of the purpose of signature assignments is that faculty can design or adapt assignments that fit with the content and pedagogy of the course.  However, no one has to do this alone!  The QEP Office will facilitate faculty development events each year and will share examples.  Participation in development events and workgroups is important.

How will the signature assignments be used for assessment?

In each of the QEP implementation years (fall 2015-spring 2020), a random sample of students will be selected for assessment.  The course instructor will be asked to provide the signature assignment instructions and the work submitted on the signature assignment by each of the randomly-selected students.  

The student work will be assessed by rubric to see how students perform on QEP student learning outcomes (SLOs) 1-3 (critically analyze, propose solutions, articulate ethical reasoning).  The data will be analyzed in aggregate, and faculty will yearly have a chance to look at and analyze the data in order to better guide student learning.

The rubric links are available on the Assessment link.  The goal for the student sample at the Expose level is to perform at an average of "2."

References:

Ferren, A., & Paris, D. (2013). How students, faculty, and institutions can fulfill the promise of capstones.Peer Review, 15. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/peerreview/2013/fall/paris-ferren

Rhodes, T. & Finley, A. (2013).Using the VALUE Rubrics for Improvement of Learning and Authentic Assessment.Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities.