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Assessing meaning making and self-authorship : theory, research, and application

Publication Type:



ASHE higher education report ; v. 38, no. 3, Wiley/Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, Calif., p.138 (2012)

Call Number:

Cubb 378.08 .E68 V.38:NO.3



Cognitive styles, Constructivism (Education), Developmental psychology, learning, Psychology of, Self-actualization (Psychology)


Contents: Nudging minds to life: self-authorship as a foundation for learning -- Meaning making and collegiate learning outcomes -- The nature of meaning making: constructivist-developmental assumptions -- Self-evolution and the journey toward self-authorship -- Conclusion -- Assessing self-authorship and its evolution -- Assessment challenges -- Assessment formats -- Four interviews to assess self-authorship -- Conclusion -- Development of the ten positions in the journey toward self-authorship -- Baxter Magolda's study -- Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education -- Nuances of self-authorship -- Trusting external authority: external positions -- Trusting external authority -- Tensions with trusting external authority -- Recognizing shortcomings of trusting external authority -- Developmental progression in external meaning making -- Entering the crossroads: predominantly external positions -- Questioning external authority -- Constructing the internal voice -- Developmental progression in entering the crossroads -- Leaving the crossroads: predominantly internal positions -- Listening to the internal voice -- Cultivating the internal voice -- Developmental progression in leaving the crossroads -- Self-authorship: internal positions -- Trusting the internal voice -- Building an internal foundation -- Securing internal commitments -- Developmental progression in internal meaning making -- Using the self-authorship assessment guide -- Assessing student characteristics and experience -- Example of a phase 1 summary (excerpts) -- Assessing developmental meaning making -- Example of a phase 2 summary (excerpts) -- Links between development and experiences -- Working through difficult summaries -- The value of listening to students.; Summary: One reason so many students fail to achieve complex learning goals may be that they rely too heavily on others' opinions about what to believe, who to be, and how to relate to others. The meaning-making capacity of self-authorship provides a basis from which to understand and learn from one's experiences; without this, students are at a loss to know how to make intentional choices about what to believe and how to act. Similarly, without a means to access and assess students' meaning making, researchers are at a disadvantage in deciding how to interpret students' academic performance and other behaviors, and educators are at a disadvantage in translating findings into the design of new programs and services. This monograph is for those who are interested in understanding self-authorship and its assessment, and in using this approach in their own work. Drawing from well-established theories and extensive longitudinal research including nearly two thousand interviews, it offers a detailed account of how young adults' capacities become more complex and adaptive over time. Those who understand the role of meaning making will be better able to document its effects on educational outcomes and provide better information to decision makers about program effectiveness. Each monograph in the series is the definitive analysis of a tough higher education problem, based on thorough research of pertinent literature and institutional experiences. Topics are identified by a national survey. Noted practitioners and scholars are then commissioned to write the reports, with experts providing critical reviews of each manuscript before publication.

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