Presentation on theme: "Assessing General Education: Options, Choices and Lessons Learned"— Presentation transcript:
1 Assessing General Education: Options, Choices and Lessons Learned Jo-Ellen Asbury, Ph.D. Rebecca Kruse Office of Institutional Research and Assessment Stevenson University
2 Assessing General Education We don’t have all the answersWe invite audience input and insightsWe are not cheerleaders for national tests, it was the decision that we made at that time No, we get no kick-back from ETS!* We are not here to advocate use of the MAPP ETS Proficiency Profile or any specific test or assessment. We want to share our experience and generate a conversation.
3 SU Core Curriculum Requirements (Bachelor’s Degree) (General “Cafeteria” Style)Min. 16 academic courses in liberal arts and sciences and 1 course in phys ed. All students must complete the following:Skills Courses:Three writing coursesOne communication courseOne physical education courseComputer literacy requirementDistribution Courses:One fine arts courseTwo social science coursesThree math and science courses (at least one lab)Four humanities courses humanitiesCore Electives (2 courses, 6 credits)Foreign Language (Bachelor of Arts only) 2 courses
4 The problem: How to assess the General Education program Unlike a major (psychology, math, etc.) does not have:A firm fairly prescribed list of requirements.A faculty member (or group of faculty members) who take sole responsibility for oversight.A capstone project/paper/experience that could be used to assess student learning outcomes.Student learning outcomes for gen ed were evolving.Currently, no centralized oversight.
5 Possible General Education Assessment Approaches Individual Course-Based ApproachInformation collected about learning in individual courses. Faculty demonstrate that students acquiring knowledge, skills, values associated with one or more gen ed goals. Assignments, exams, portfolios, etc.Multicourse (Theme-Based) ApproachFocus on faculty from number of disciplines rather than individual courses. Review of syllabi, focus groups.Noncourse-Based ApproachCampuswide focusing on individual or groups of students rather than courses. Gen ed assessment given to all or a sample of students. Standardized testing, student and alumni surveys, transcript analysis.Source: Palomba, C. A., & Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessing general education. In Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, improving (pp ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
6 Selecting a Gen Ed Assessment Method Method(s) used needs to match learning goalsBecause gen ed programs include a broad range of learning goals and objectives, critical thinking, communication, values, attitudes…. Need to be careful that the methods used will address all of these objectivesMay need more than one methodSettled on some type of nationally-normed instrument.
7 Use of Published Tests / Assessments ~ from the paper, “The Role of Published Tests and Assessments in Higher Education”, March 2006, by Linda Suskie, MSCHE Vice PresidentProsDeveloped by testing professionals (test design, quality of questions better)Can provide comparison dataProvide detailed, diagnostic feedbackVariety of published tests to reflect diversity among schools and programsLongitudinal data confidence
8 Use of Published Tests / Assessments Consider the distinct set of knowledge, skills and competencies your institutions seeks to instill and should be used in combination with other evidence of student learning.Examples of TestedWriting SkillsExamples of Tested Critical Thinking SkillsETS Measure of AcademicProficiency & Progress (MAPP)Discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate use of parallelism.Recognize redundancyEvaluate competing casual explanations.Determine the relevance of information for evaluating an argument or conclusion.ACT Collegiate Assessment ofAcademic Proficiency (CAAP)Formulate an assertion about a given issue.Organize and connect major ideas.Generalize and apply information beyond the immediate context.Make appropriate comparisons.Council for Aid to EducationCollegiate Learning Assessment(CLA)Support ideas with relevant reasons and examples.Sustain a coherent discussion.Deal with inadequate, ambiguous, and/or conflicting information.Spot deceptions and holes in the arguments made by others.“The Role of Published Tests and Assessments in Higher Education”Linda Suskie, Middles States Commission on Higher EducationMarch 25, 2006
9 Use of Published Tests / Assessments ConsIf no compelling incentive, students may not give best effort. Challenge to get students to take and to give best effort.Published tests for higher ed have less evidence of quality than K-12 tests. Smaller # of students, may not be representative, less funds, etc.Certain published tests may not yield enough useful feedback .from “The Role of Published Tests and Assessments in Higher Education”, Linda Suskie, Middles States Commission on Higher Education, March 25, 2006
10 Use of Published Tests / Assessments Chosen Assessment Should:Match goals for student learning set by the institutionSpecific content must correspond with institution’s concepts (how does institution define critical thinking for example)Provide rich, detailed feedback that can be used to identify areas for improvementHave evidence of validity and reliabilityProvide some incentive for students to do their bestfrom “The Role of Published Tests and Assessments in Higher Education”, Linda Suskie, Middles States Commission on Higher Education, March 25, 2006
11 ETS Proficiency Profile / MAPP Test Selected MAPP by ETS: Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress. (now called ETS Proficiency Profile)Corresponds well with university core and measures what we want to measureSeveral different formats to choose from (online, standard, abbreviated)Can add up to 50 of our own supplemental questionsRich reporting features including comparative data and diagnostic feedback, norm-referenced scores and criterion-referenced scoresSU has changed so rapidly and is still changing – important for us to be able to do comparisons, benchmarking, see differences between cohorts, etc.
12 More on ETS Proficiency Profile Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (now called ETS Proficiency Profile…)Assesses four core skill areas – critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics at three levelsMeasures academic skills developed, as opposed to subject knowledge taught, in general education courses
13 Results and Reporting Multitude of reporting options available Comparison between cohorts/subgroups (separate out specific groups - majors, schools w/in University, commuters vs. noncommuters, etc. Can ask different cohorts different suppl. questions.)Identify specific proficiency level (1-3) of core skill deficiencies (ETS has specific definitions at each level)External and internal benchmarkingValue-Added – compare against other metrics such as GPA, SAT, etc.Identify patterns (e.g. do students do better in certain areas if certain courses are taken in a certain order? Etc.)
15 Pre-Post TestTest students when then enter, then test again at a later point in their Stevenson career.WHEN should the second testing take place?Internal validity threatsHistoryMaturationMortalitySelectionTesting
16 Cohort-Sequential Design Compensates for (most of) the internal validity threatsProvides both between subject and within subject data.
17 How the cohort-sequential design is being used SU COHORT #1 (entered F ‘08)COHORT #2 (enter F ‘10)AYFall, 2008AYSpring, 2010AYFall, 2010AYSpring, 2012
19 Our Plan Administer to incoming freshman Test same students again in the end of sophomore year
20 Freshmen How do we get a large number of freshmen to take the test? Commitment from Director of First Year Experience to administer in First Year Seminars (all incoming freshman take a FYS)Goes on the syllabusPeer leaders (not us) to administer
21 Freshmen – Issues/Challenges Test version? (long, abbreviated, online)2007 – used long version (2 hrs) switched to abbreviated (40 mins)Cost (tests, materials)Student leader instructions for administeringVery specific instructions / scriptCustomize instruction bookMaterials to and from student leadersTests, pencils, instructions, ID Cards, calculators
22 Retesting as Sophomores 384 freshmen took in fall 2008Where and how can we test that amount of students now as sophomores?Do we test all 384 at same time on same day in same location? Do we have the room on campus?Do we have enough supplies to test all at one time?What’s the best time during the semester?Who would proctor the tests?How do we get sophomores to volunteer to take test? No way to capture – no one class that all take.
23 Recruiting Sophomores Used to use scholarship hoursPizza lunchGift card drawingsOffered choice of two different daysMarketed through s, plasma screens in student union, faculty
24 Recruiting Sophomores A week before, response still not greatAdded more gift cardsOpened up to ALL sophomores, not just ones who took it as freshmen46 students out of 384 signed up27 showed up split between both days
25 Other Recruiting Ideas: Gift certificates or pay for all students who take the testChange test format – use online formatReward those with high scores so test is taken seriously and they do their bestETS reports that most effective is combination of extrinsic and academic reward – something to get them there and something to get them to take it seriouslyPut high scores on an honor rollMake it a requirement for registration for junior yearWithhold grades until test is taken
26 Latest Plan Try online non-proctored version. Recruit 100 random students from the 384 tested as freshman in 2008 who didn’t retake it in spring.Give each one $10 gift card to take online
29 Distribution of Individual Student Scores and Subscores Cohort 1:Distribution of Individual Student Scores and SubscoresPossible RangeSU Mean Score Freshmen (FA08) n=380Natl. Comparison (Freshmen)SU Mean Score Sophomore (SP10) n=27Natl. Comparison (Sophomore)SU Score Increase/ Decrease (pts)SU Score Increase/ Decrease (%)Total Score439.81441.1443.41439.63.600.82%Skills Subscores:Critical Thinking110.23110.3110.26110.00.030.03%Reading116.34117.1118.892.552.19%Writing113.75113.8114.67113.50.920.81%Mathematics112.80113.0112.81112.00.010.01%Context-Based Subscores:Humanities113.59113.9114.300.710.63%Social Sciences112.15112.6112.59112.50.440.39%Natural Sciences114.17114.0115.931.761.54%
30 Closing the Loop/Going Forward Determine the mechanism for internal decision-making and the process used for identifying deficiencies and implementing changeShare resultsOther measures of same core skillsContent mapping
31 Other Ideas for…. - assessing general education? - recruiting students?using data and closing the loop?other?
32 ReferencesSuskie, L. (2006, March 25). The role of published tests and assessments in Higher Education. In Middle States Commission on Higher Education [Report]. Retrieved from published-instruments-in-higher-education.pdf ETS® Proficiency Profile Case Studies. (2008). Educational Testing Services. Retrieved from ETS® Proficiency Profile Content. (n.d.). Educational Testing Service. Retrieved from Walvoord, B. E. (2004). For general education. In Assessment clear and simple: A practical guide for institutions, departments and general education (pp ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Palomba, C. A., & Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessing general education. In Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, improving (pp ). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.