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Grading and Awarding Credit (page 2)

See below for more information on:

  • Student’s End of Course Self-Assessment
  • Evidence Used in Awarding Academic Credit

 Student’s End of Course Self-Assessment


The student’s studies in the course will be further guided by being aware of the self-assessment questions below. Then, at the end of the course,  the student will do a written self-assessment of what they did, learned and accomplished in the course by answering a set of questions that are designed to benefit the student in at least the following several ways:

1) they will become more conscious about what they learned, and about what did and didn’t work well in their learning process; 2) they will begin to draft their narrative transcript; and 3) they will keep track of how their learning is contributing to their degree requirements and learning objectives, and WISR’s expectations of students for learning in the degree program goals and objectives.

These student self-assessments at the end of the course provide a further presentation and analysis of the evidence of the student’s learning in the course.  These self-assessment themselves further contribute to student learning, and they provide a valuable perspective that highlights and summarizes some of the most student’s most important  activities during the course, their main areas of learning, and significant accomplishments.

Early in their studies, students will often have to re-write their self-assessment drafts, but it is expected that with some practice after completing several courses, only one draft will be necessary. Students should plan to spend about two hours in drafting each end of course self-assessment. Faculty sign the student’s “end of course self-assessment” and attest to the accuracy of the descriptive parts of the self-assessment.

Process Suggestions:

STUDENTS ARE TO DOWNLOAD THIS FORM TO THEIR GOOGLE DRIVE AND TO THEIR COMPUTER, AND FILL OUT THE FORM AT THE END OF EACH COURSE TO SUBMIT TO FACULTY. Enter your responses to each question using as much space after each question as is needed to adequately answer the question.  You are also encouraged to seek assistance from WISR faculty—to help them in responding thoughtfully and sufficiently to each question.  Also, you may find it helpful to enter “tentative” responses to many of the questions as your study in each course unfolds.  In this way, this form may help you to assess, during the course, what you’ve accomplished thus far and what they may wish to consider doing next. 

Links to download Self-Assessment Form as:
docx (word)
odt   (open access word for mac users and others)

Use of Self-Assessment Form:

These questions provide a framework to help you to self-assess your learning methods and outcomes for each course of study.  Your responses also provide evidence for faculty to consider in evaluating whether or not, and how well, and in what ways, you have met the learning objectives for the course.


Name of Student:_____________________________________________________

Name of Course:  _______________________________________________________

1)         What was (were) your main purpose(s) for this course of study?  What, in particular, did you hope to learn and accomplish during the course?

2)         What were the most valuable activities you pursued during this course of study—that is, describe (those that are applicable): the areas in which you read; paper you wrote, work done in a practicum, internship, action-research lab, or additional work you did on the job, beyond your regular job duties; community-based or self-directed research (e.g., interviews conducted and with whom, networking pursued, observations made, etc.); personal reflection and note-taking; multimedia production; workshops taken; seminars participated in and collaborations with others, etc. This can usually be done in three to six sentences.

3)         Who were the WISR faculty with whom you consulted in this course?  With each faculty member, write two to four sentences on how they assisted you or contributed to your learning in these studies.  If you have suggestions for how faculty could, in the future, better assist your learning, please add those comments as well.

4)         Among those with whom you consulted or collaborated from outside WISR faculty, which people contributed the most to your studies in this course.  This may include community residents and leaders, coworkers, agency staff, professional/experts in the field, other academicians, fellow students or WISR alumni.  Write a couple sentences about the contributions of the two or three people who helped you the most, from among those outside of WISR faculty.

5)         If you participated in workshops, conferences or community events outside of WISR that contributed to these studies in this course, please indicate and list those events/activities, and write a couple sentences about the one or two that were most significant and important.

6)         Describe your participation in WISR seminars, and/or formal or informal collaboration with other students, sand discuss how they were important to your learning in this area, and write a couple of sentences about their contributions to your learning in this course.

7)         Write a one paragraph (three to five sentences) abstract of the paper you wrote for the course.

8)         Write the month you began these studies, the month completed, and write a rough draft of the personalized description of your studies in this course, beyond the general WISR course description.  That is, in three to five sentences, write what you would add to the standard WISR course description—in order to give a more detailed and accurate summary of what you did in this course.  This can then later be refined to help write your narrative transcript prior to receiving your degree.

9)         Thinking back on the process of your learning during this course of study, please write two or three sentences about each of the following:  a) how did your plans or ideas about what you wanted to do change over time and why? b) what were the positive things, if any, that came out of these changes in plans or intentions about what you wanted to do or learn? c) if you were going to do this course again, what would you do differently given what you now know?

10)       Write five to seven sentences on the main things that you learned and accomplished in this course, and add two or three sentences that highlight the main evidence you would point to that demonstrates your learning and/or accomplishments in this course.     

11)       Tell us about the ways in which you gained access to readings (e.g., WISR library, public library or other university library, internet, readings given to you by WISR faculty, fellow students, friends or co-workers, purchase of books, use of any special databases, etc.).  In particular, discuss the role of WISR’s faculty and librarian in assisting you.


Evidence Used in Awarding Academic Credit


Academic papers

Most evidence of student academic work takes this form, in part, at least. Papers may be analyses of intellectual or professional issues of interest to the student, critiques of readings they have done, critical analyses of community projects, detailed plans for educational or community projects, reports of research on community problems or issues, records of research interviews by the student about issues in professional or personal development, combinations of these types, or other serious efforts negotiated by the student and her or his faculty adviser.

Professional work and community work

WISR grants credit based on evidence of students’ educational thought and growth that emerges in the student’s community and professional work, oftentimes in the context of their major course project and action-research lab activities. For example, documents acceptable as bases for academic credit include evaluations of the student’s community and professional work by a co-worker, especially when that work was specifically discussed with the faculty adviser as a part of the student’s learning program.

Current written, reflective analyses of prior and current experiences

WISR does not grant credit for prior learning experiences, alone, only for the current learning involved with written, reflective analyses of prior experiences.  In addition, WISR does not grant credit for on-the-job activity in general, or even for achievements in the student’s work life, unless that activity has been subjected to ongoing, critical discussion by the student and the faculty adviser, for its intellectual and ethical significance, its relation to the student’s goals, and its significance for community improvement and social change. In some cases, the student’s work amounts to a faculty-supervised internship in her or his workplace, or in a community organization. In other cases, students may write reflective, critical analyses of insights and knowledge they have developed through previous professional and community  involvements, or even through life experiences, in general.  For example, some students will write what amounts to an intellectual autobiography.  In such cases, students receive credit for the reflection, analysis and writing done while enrolled at WISR, but not for their work or life experiences prior to enrollment. These reflective analyses are usually designed by students, with faculty guidance and supervision, as part of the student’s action-research lab for that course. In all cases, however, the faculty adviser must have evidence of the student’s learning from the process, and of a student attitude toward learning in the work/life/community context that goes beyond unreflective performance of a job or the unanalyzed pursuit of daily living.

End-of-Course Self Assessments written and submitted by students

As discussed above, student self-assessments at the end of the course provide a further presentation and analysis of the evidence of the student’s learning in the course.  These self-assessments themselves further contribute to student learning, and they provide a valuable perspective that highlights and summarizes some of the most student’s most important  activities during the course, their main areas of learning, and significant accomplishments.

Multimedia Products

Evidence of students’ learning may also include audio or video recordings of workshops given by students at their workplaces, of focused discussions on issues relevant to their WISR learning goals, and of seminars led at WISR. Students may use photographs to document their work, or in producing a photographic essay on a topic of importance. Some students have produced documentary videos and films that communicate the results and insights of their research. And, in many cases, students will combine the use of two or more of the following: audio recordings, videos or films, photographs and website development.

Creative, artistic works

Evidence of students’ learning may also include reproductions or descriptions of creative and artistic products such as videotapes, films, paintings or drawings, murals, sculptures, poems, and other imaginative literary pieces, where those products help to show the student’s thought and imagination in some coherent relation to learning goals.

Faculty, professional and/or community observations of students’ learning

Credit is granted to students who demonstrate to a faculty member their mastery of a body of knowledge, such as the literature of a subject-area. Students may also submit evidence of what other professionals and community colleagues have observed of their current projects and learning. Student reading-lists in specific subject-areas are included in their learning portfolios as partial evidence of such mastery.

Participation in WISR projects and seminars

Credit is granted to students for regular participation in both a structured series of collaborative and group learning activities, as well as active engagement in online forums, and informal collaborations with other students. More formal collaborative activities include WISR’s seminars, workshops, and community projects.

Faculty Observation of Student Performance in doing required and recommended course assignments

Through the kinds of evidence listed above, and also in discussions with students in one-on-one mentoring and seminars, as well as by student submission of course assignments, faculty observations provide a very important form of evidence. WISR faculty are in an excellent position to evaluate the quality and quantity of student work, and the extent to which the student is meeting course learning objectives, progressing toward degree program objectives, and further developing themselves in one or more of WISR’s meta-competencies or areas of learning. In addition, at the end of each course, faculty give the student an oral exam covering the many things that they have studied and done in the course.