Assessment Initiatives



The Committee on Assessment for Student Achievement

The Committee on Assessment for Student Achievement (CASA) is a community of educators concerned with the promotion and frequent use of simple, in-class assessment techniques. Continuous assessment is key to improving teaching and learning, as it helps students learn how they are doing in time for them to try to do better, and informs educators when a change in approach or increased focus is needed. Results as offered by SENCER faculty demonstrate the effectiveness of such assessments. They report: (1) a reduction in the incidence of C- and D-grade work, (2) an improvement in persistence (reducing drop outs), (3) an enablement of the study of more difficult materials, and (4) a reduction in time spent lecturing. 

CASA is coordinated by Terry McGuire and Jeannette Haviland-Jones, both of Rutgers University. Members, who are volunteers from colleges and universities throughout the country, collect and screen examples of formative assessment techniques from a wide variety of disciplines. Their goal is to create a growing collection of examples that cover diverse civic issues and course content; have relevance to as many learning styles, goals, and levels of courses as possible; and are sensitive and specific to the needs of all educational sectors. The resource collection will be published online on a periodic basis and incorporated into the SENCER Digital Library.

If you are interested in learning more about CASA or joining the committee, please contact one of the coordinators. 

Jeannette Haviland-Jones

Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University

Terry McGuire

Professor of Genetics, Rutgers University

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement applies the Carnegie Foundation of the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) to the investigation of research questions about learning arising out of the maturation of the SENCER project. Faculty involved in the SoTL initiative conduct original research that helps answer these more summative questions, while building and modeling a community of practice that embeds rigorous assessment research within a faculty member’s routine professional practice. 

The aim is to “follow up” and measure knowledge transference and related questions in the years after a student’s involvement in SENCER study (by ray tforge support). We want to understand the connection between learning in SENCER courses and the transference of that learning in three dimensions: “vertically” in other STEM courses (including majors courses), “horizontally” (to other courses within the same semester), and “diagonally” (to other disciplines and pre-professional programs). 

The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement is part of the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Affiliates Program, an ongoing initiative to encourage and support institutions in the early stages of their commitment to the scholarship of teaching and learning. NCSCE was invited to join the Affiliates by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in fall 2006/spring 2007. We offer intensive workshops at SENCER Summer Institutes for interested faculty, as well as general sessions at this and other meetings. Our SoTL initiative is coordinated by Matthew Fisher, a 2005 Carnegie Scholar. For more information about NCSCE’s SoTL initiative, please contact the coordinator.

Matthew Fisher

Professor of Chemistry, Saint Vincent College



Contact Information



Jeannette Haviland-Jones

Professor of Psychology

Rutgers University

Terry McGuire

Professor of Genetics

Rutgers University


Matthew Fisher

Professor of Chemistry

Saint Vincent College










Photograph Credits

Haviland-Jones and McGuire, Rutgers University

Fisher, Saint Vincent College