A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Assessment Coordinator Studies Student Learning Outcomes

January 31, 2013

Like others at UC Merced, Adriana Signorini is from Argentina, a country known for its beef, soccer and tango. Signorini, who speaks Spanish and English, serves as the assessment coordinator for the Center for the Research on Teaching Excellence (CRTE). Before coming to Merced, she directed for many years an English-language school in her hometown of Rafaela, Argentina. She moved to Merced in 2002 when the campus was still bare land. Initially in Merced, she taught Spanish to families in the area, worked at Merced College for three years and worked on Spanish-related instructional videotaping projects for the Merced County Office of Education.

How long have you worked at UC Merced?

In Fall 2007, I joined the Merritt Writing Program (MWP) and the foreign languages program as a part-time lecturer. I taught writing courses both semesters and continued teaching in the summer bridge program, too. For several years I coordinated the Peer Mentoring Program when it was funded by a federal grant, and in 2009 I switched to coordinating the Students Assessing Teaching and Learning Program (SATAL), an assessment support program offered by the Center for Research on Teaching Excellence (CRTE). Last academic year I became a full-time coordinator of SATAL, supporting instructional faculty or entire programs interested in collecting indirect evidence in support of student learning outcomes. All SATAL assessment is conducted by undergraduates who I train and supervise.

What made you interested in becoming an assessment coordinator?

Conducting research on classroom assessment is an exciting part of pedagogy. Good assessment yields good information about the results of instruction; it is itself a necessary component of good instruction.

Please explain what your job entails.

As SATAL program coordinator, I have the responsibility for recruiting student participants, planning and developing training sessions and managing the program. Currently, there are nine undergraduates in the program who have been carefully selected and who receive weekly training in research design, data gathering and effective reporting. In a related capacity as a faculty consultant on matters of teaching and learning, I enjoy having conversations about how to apply educational psychology findings to teaching, how to align assessment research with those findings, and how to incorporate new instructional tools and methods that better motivate UC Merced students to succeed academically.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Working with an amazing team is the most rewarding part of my job! My colleagues are inspiring professionals and SATAL students are motivated and determined. Helping others with their existing projects is also rewarding. Receiving national recognition is rewarding, too. In 2011, the SATAL program was nationally recognized as a finalist for the “innovation award” offered by the Professional and Organizational Development, and was also prominently noted in the prestigious Council for Higher Education Accreditation award that our campus received in 2012.

What are some of the biggest challenges in your work and how do you overcome them?

Above all, I strive to make the SATAL program a high-impact program for the students working in it who are aspiring teachers, and for the faculty members who request our services. Nothing guarantees success, but through their service in SATAL, I try to ensure that students gain valuable insight into educational practices that would otherwise remain unfamiliar to them. This keeps SATAL students motivated to perform the day-to-day assessment tasks which contribute to the educational excellence at UC Merced.