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Assessment Update

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Educational evaluation, Universities and colleges -- Faculty, Service learning -- Evaluation, Electronic portfolios in education


Portland State University (PSU) is a public institution in Portland, Oregon, serving 28,000 students, including 23,000 undergraduates. PSU implemented Capstone courses in 1995 as the culminating experience in the revised general education program, University Studies (UNST). Capstones at PSU are community‐based courses composed of interdisciplinary teams of students actively engaged with community partners, designed to address the UNST learning goals (inquiry and critical thinking; communication; ethics and social responsibility; and diversity, equity, and social justice). Each Capstone course creates one or more collaboratively developed final products intended to serve the community partner.

In this article, we describe the evolution of our Capstone assessment practice and highlight the current process we designed to assess these courses. Through this process—which is the latest and most successful iteration of an assessment protocol for these highly contextual courses—we recognized that conceptualizing an assessment process as simultaneously a forum for peer‐driven faculty support increases faculty ownership over assessment and investment in using assessment results to make change in their own courses.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Assessment Update, 2018; 30: 1-16., which has been published in final form at

This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Copyright © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company

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