The edited volume, published by APA Books, focuses on assessment at the individual, institutional and international levels

October 20, 2020, NEW YORK – Doris Zahner, chief academic officer at the Council for Aid to Education, Inc. (CAE), a leading provider of performance-based, authentic assessments measuring essential college and career readiness skills, has published a chapter in a newly released edited volume on assessment, by APA Books, Assessing Undergraduate Learning in Psychology: Strategies for Measuring and Improving Student Performance. APA Books is the publishing arm of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The book, co-edited by Susan Nolan, Christopher Hakala, and R. Eric Landrum, explores assessments that instructors and administrators can use to design student-centered undergraduate psychology courses and curricula. The contributors also address the realities of assessment, offering ideas on how to maximize their utility in the face of limitations. Ultimately, the book can support programs as they prepare students to be successful global citizens.

Zahner’s chapter focuses on the case for the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+), an assessment of college and career readiness skills in higher education in an international context. Co-authors include Dirk Van Damme, head of the Centre for Education Research and Innovation, Organisation at the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as well as additional CAE researchers.

“It is important for CAE to be part of the dialogue about improving students’ learning outcomes,” said Zahner. “We know that what we measure on CLA+ – critical thinking, problem-solving and written communication – are the real-world skills essential for success in college and career, especially in the global context.”

“The OECD is strongly committed to advancing the agenda of assessing learning outcomes in higher education,” said Van Damme. “We definitely see an increase globally in understanding and improving students’ proficiency in the kind of competences that matter for the 21st century workplace and society.”

This is the third publication and fourth chapter Zahner has contributed in the higher education field. An assessment expert who oversees CAE’s research and measurement science, she is also the coauthor of chapters in Assessment of learning outcomes in higher education: Crossnational comparisons and perspectives (New York, NY: Springer) and the Handbook of research on computational tools for real-world skill development (Hershey, PA: IGI Global).

“This book is a must-have for every undergraduate psychology faculty member and administrator worldwide,” said former APA President Nadine Kaslow. Helen Bakker of Utrecht University in the Netherlands said the book “may inspire and facilitate an academic community in which student learning is optimized, and assessment may even be a fun part of it!”

Zahner holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and a master’s degree in applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is an adjunct associate professor of public service of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service teaching qualitative analysis, and an adjunct associate professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and Barnard College, Columbia University, where she teaches courses in statistics to students in the social sciences.

Assessing Undergraduate Learning in Psychology is available directly from APA Books, as well as from many major online book sellers.