Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Kathleen M. Boyle

Second Advisor

Thomas L. Fish

Third Advisor

Sarah J. Noonan


The purpose of the study was to understand how instructors of general education courses, seeking to improve student learning, integrate assessment into their pedagogy. These assessment approaches, embedded within rich pedagogical understandings and experiences, reside at the core of the teaching and learning process. The study explored how experienced general education instructors authentically assess student learning in their classrooms. Pragmatic philosophy and symbolic interactionism served as theoretical grounding for method selection and data analysis.

A qualitative single-case study approach, incorporating interviews and document analysis, resulted in findings about how instructors at a small university incorporated assessment within their classroom teaching. Nine instructors of general education courses at a small university participated in open-ended and iterative interviews. Document analysis provided a framework for understanding institutional and general education purposes. An intentional process of memo writing, data collection, critical reflection, grounded coding, and peer review resulted in analyzed and verified findings.

Participants reported a number of pedagogical factors at work within the assessment of student learning. The five identified factors are examining assumptions, teaching through the aims, centering on student learning, opening assessment windows, and teaching forward. These pedagogical factors work together to provide a framework for authentic assessment. An authentic assessment of student learning, grounded in student and instructor experiences, empowers students to learn, serve, and work for a productive and democratic future.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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