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FQAS: Curriculum and Assessment Research Guide

Research and resource guide for Faculty Quality Assurance System (FQAS) course Curriculum and Assessment project.

Purpose of this Project and Guide

person asking a questionPurpose of the Project:

The purpose of this project is to help you to think more deeply about assessment and how it relates to your curriculum. The assessment strategies you use in a course should directly measure the course outcomes that have been developed and should help your students to understand what they are studying and why.

Essential Question: How can I use assessments to improve student learning and engagement in my course(s)?

The essential question is meant to help you drive your research and to help you develop your project. 

(Note: This is all quoted from the "FQAS Course: Curriculum and Assessment" project document and should feel familiar.)

Purpose of This Guide:

This guide exists to curate, organize, and introduce information resources that can help you research and learn about assessment. It also collects search tips and strategies to help you make the most of your (limited) time. 

A Secondary Purpose for This Guide:

This guide also exists to provide a model of how a research guide can scaffold and support an information-seeking task. 

Overview of This Guide + Navigating this Guide

This guide is organized into various pages and sections. Use the tabs at the left to navigate to the different sections. 

The video embedded and linked below provides a video introduction to your librarian, Ellen, and to the contents of this guide. Time stamps included below for your convenience (and because I can be a little bit too chatty...).

Video time stamps:

0:00-1:00 Introduction to Ellen, Western's Library and Learning Commons
1:00-1:30 Introduction to FQAS Research Guide and how to access
1:30-3:00 Explanation of Guides and why we build them
3:00-3:30 What is the purpose of the FQAS Research Guide / Welcome and Getting Started page overview
3:30-4:30 Recommended Resources page overview
4:30-5:06 Search Strategies page overview
5:06-6:00 Curated Readings section explanation
6:00-7:00 Additional readings explanation: understanding the icons and accessing the articles
7:00-8:00 Getting research help

Guide Creator / Contact Me

This guide was created by Student Learning Librarian Ellen Range ( in collaboration with FQAS course instructor Mark Hanson. You can also find Ellen's contact information in the profile box on each page. 

Making a Plan and Getting Started >>> This is one way, not the only way.

Research and experience tells us that getting started with any information-seeking task is often the most daunting part. We swim in a sea of questions: What do I want to know? What information do I need? How do I know that I am getting quality results? 

Now, you don't have to use my resource recommendations, follow my research process, or take my advice. But, if it's helpful, you are certainly welcome to do so. 

Here's one way you might approach this research project on curriculum and assessment: 

  1. Wrap your head around the task at hand, always keeping that essential question in mind.
    Ask yourself: What do I already know about this? What am I hoping to learn? What am I trying to do?
  2. Do some background searching and get your bearings in the research landscape. Try some broad and specific searches just to see what's out there and where the information can be found. 
    I've linked some recommended databases to get your search started and help you zero in on the right kind of research.
  3. Now, break your essential question down into more manageable areas of research and tackle each one separately. 
    This has already been done for you because they are the course competencies. 
  4. Collect some relevant resources for each area of research. Document and compile a bibliography of the most promising resources that guide and inform your learning.
    I've gathered a few to get you started and give you a sense of what you might be seeking.
  5. Read, investigate, and consider the research and writing you've found.
  6. Use what you've learned to answer that essential question. Annotate each bibliography entry with your notes about how each source informs your learning. 
  7. If needed, circle back with your research and fill in any gaps in understanding. 

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