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Toolkit - Columbus State University

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Academic Affairs


Assessment Tools

We use two measures to assess student learning:

We Solve It! Report (Word) & We Solve It! Rubric (Word)(revised March 2019)

We Solve It! Report and Rubric are designed as a universal assignment and measurement to understand our students' learning. They are intended for use across disciplines. The Report was developed based on the feedbacks from faculty and staff, and the Rubric is adopted and modified from AAC&U's LEAP VALUE Problem Solving Rubric and LEAP VALUE Critical Thinking Rubric.

Assign the We Solve It! Report to the students during or after engagement in creative real-world problem solving work. Once the report is submitted, the instructor will score the report according to the rubric.

Using a universal report and rubric across campus will provide cohesiveness to the QEP implementation and experience, and also streamline measurement of the university-wide impact of the QEP.

Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT)

Critical Thinking Assessment Test (CAT) was developed by Tennessee Tech University. It is "designed to assess a broad range of skills that faculty across the country feel are important components of critical thinking and real world problem solving." All of the questions are derived from real world situations, most requiring short answer essay responses.

Sample Problems and Example Courses

University of Delaware's Institute for Transforming Undergraduate Education
Provides sample problems from diverse disciplines

McMaster University Example Problems
Includes a list of questions to consider before writing "problems"

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) Assignment Library
A searchable online library of collegiate-level course assignments in a wide variety of academic disciplines

Carleton College – Teach with Local Examples and Data: Connecting Nearby Examples to Global Challenge
Provides pedagogic guidance for teaching with local examples.

University at Buffalo National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science
A searchable collection of collection of exemplary case studies in all areas of science for use at the undergraduate, graduate, and high school level.

Managing Student Groups (PDF)

Managing Student Resistance (PDF)


Antonenko, P. D., Jahanzad, F. & Greenwood, C. (2014). Fostering collaborative problem solving and 21st century skills using the DEEPER scaffolding framework. Research and Teaching, 43(6), 79-88.

Bruce-Davis, M. N., & Chancey, J. M. (2012). Connecting students to the real world: Developing gifted behaviors through service learning. Psychology in the Schools, 49, 716-723.

Cooper, J. R. (2014). Ten years in the trenches: Faculty perspectives on sustaining service- learning. Journal of Experiential Education, 37(4), 415-428.

DeHaan, R. L. (2009). Teaching creativity and inventive problem solving in science. The American Society for Cell Biology, 8, 172-181.

Dunbar, K. (2007). How scientists think in the real world: Implications for science education.Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21, 49-58.

Finley, A., & Staub, S. D. (2007). Assessing the impact of engaged learning initiatives for first- year students. Peer Review, 9(3), 18-21.

Gavigan, L. (2014). Connecting the classroom with real-world experiences through summer internships. Peer Review, 12(4), 15-19.

Gray, D. (2014). Doing research in the real world (3rd ed). Washington, DC: Sage.

Kriner, B. A., Coffman, K. A., Adkisson, A. C., Putman, P. G., & Monaghan, C. H. (2015). From students to scholars: The transformative power of communities of practice. Adult Learning, 26(2), 73-80.

Kuh, G. D. (2001). Assessing what really matters to student learning: Inside the National Survey of Student Engagement. Change, 33(3), 10-17, 66.

Mourtos, N. J., DeJong Okamoto, N., & Rhee, J. (2004). Defining, teaching, and assessing problem-solving skills. Proceedings of 7th UICEE Annual Conference on Engineering Education, 1-5.

Norman, G. R., & Schmidt, H. G. (1992). The psychological basis of problem-based learning: A review of the evidence. Academic Medicine, 67(9), 557-565.

Tierney, J. (2013). Why teachers secretly hate grading papers. The Atlantic, Jan. 9, 2013

VonKotze, A. & Cooper, L. (2000). Exploring the transformative potential of project-based learning in university adult education. Studies in the Education of Adults, 32, 212-229.

Records of Design Team Activites

Design Meeting 1, April 13, 2015 (PDF)
Design Meeting 2, April 30, 2015 (PDF)
Design Workshop 1, May 12, 2015 (PDF)
Design Workshop 2, June 3, 2015 (PDF)
Focus Group Report, June 24, 2015 (PDF)
Design Meeting 3, July 31, 2015 (PDF)

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