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Establishing a Culture of Assessment Evaluation of the Effectiveness Alabama A&M University January 07, 2008 John D. Jones, Ph.D. Associate Provost for.

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Presentation on theme: "Establishing a Culture of Assessment Evaluation of the Effectiveness Alabama A&M University January 07, 2008 John D. Jones, Ph.D. Associate Provost for."— Presentation transcript:

1 Establishing a Culture of Assessment Evaluation of the Effectiveness Alabama A&M University January 07, 2008 John D. Jones, Ph.D. Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Research Bennett College

2 Goals for the Workshop clear understanding of how to develop an assessment plan more knowledgeable about assessment methods more knowledgeable about analyzing and reporting assessment results more knowledgeable about how to assure the quality of assessment plans and the reporting of assessment results

3 What Do We Mean by Assessment? it is a formative evaluation process designed to support improvement it is continuous it is focused on improvement – student learning – student development – the institution and its people

4 Levels of Assessment classroom assessment – assessment of individual students performance at the course level by an instructors course assessment – assessment of how well a course is meeting student learning outcomes program assessment – assessment of how well an academic program is meeting student learning outcomes – assessment of how well a support program is meeting its objectives institutional assessment – assessment of campus-wide issues or programs

5 Institutional Effectiveness and Program Assessment focuses on continuous quality improvement – academic programs – administrative support units examines students learning outcomes, program outcomes, customer satisfaction, and unit performance to identify areas to improve leads to actions conducted annually

6 Purposes of Program Assessment to improve – the assessment process should provide feedback to determine how the program can be improved to inform – the assessment process should inform faculty and other decision makers of the contribution and impact of the program to prove – the assessment process should encapsulate and demonstrate what the program is accomplishing to students, faculty, staff, and outsiders to support – the assessment process should provide support for campus decision- making activities such as program review, strategic planning, and external accountability activities such as accreditation

7 Effective Program Assessment Should Answer these Questions What are you trying to accomplish? How well are you doing it? How, using the answers to the first two questions, can you improve what you are doing? What and how does a program contribute to the development and growth of its students and/or the support of its customers? How can student learning be improved?

8 Program Assessment is Effective When Assessment… is viewed as comprehensive, systematic, and continuous activity is viewed as a means for self-improvement measures are meaningful utilizes multiple measures and multiple sources is used as a management tool results are valued, and are genuinely used to improve programs and processes has sufficient coordination and review includes all constituents in the process (e.g., faculty, staff, administrators, students, community, industry)

9 Mechanics of Assessment assessment is a continuous improvement process to improve, you need to know where you are today and where you would like to go – mission (purpose) – vision (where you would like to go) – goals (steps to getting where you would like to be) – objectives or outcomes (what you need to achieve in order to get there) – measures (how well you are currently doing) to improve, you need to take action – analyze your program or operations to determine changes – plan the changes – take action

10 Organizing for Assessment before assessment can begin, key players, committees and structures must be identified and assume responsibility for designing, implementing, and carrying out the assessment process understanding the needs of program or unit can you help think about the design of the assessment plan depending on purpose, the plan can be informal (for internal use) or formal (external audience)

11 Identify the Scope of the Plan What should the assessment include? – assess resources (facilities, students, faculty) – assess processes (pedagogy, advising, feedback) – assess results or outcomes – who/what gives you feedback academic program assessment typically focuses on student outcomes administrative unit assessment typically focuses on quality of products, processes, and services

12 Defining the Mission Statement a broad statement of what the program or unit is, what it does, and for whom it does it a clear description of the purpose of the program or unit and the learning environment reflects how the program contributes to the education and careers of students graduating from the program or how the unit supports its customers aligned with department, college, and university missions distinctive for your program or unit

13 Components of a Mission Statement primary functions or activities of the program or unit – most important functions, operations, outcomes, and/or offerings of your program or unit purpose of the program or unit – the primary reasons why you perform your major activities or operations stakeholders – groups or individuals that participate in the program and those that will benefit from the program or unit

14 Structure of a Mission Statement “The mission of (name of your program or unit) is to (your primary purpose) by providing (your primary functions or activities) to (your stakeholders).” (Additional clarifying statements) (Note: the order of the pieces of the mission statement may vary from the above structure.)

15 Checklist for Mission Statement Is the statement brief and memorable? Is it distinctive? Does it clearly state the purpose of the program or unit? Does it indicate the primary function or activities of the program or unit? Does it indicate who the stakeholders are? Does it clearly support the department’s, college’s, and university’s missions?

16 Defining Program Goals establishment of goals prior to developing objectives is recommended – some assessment processes don’t include reporting of goals goals are long-term organizational or program targets or directions of development they state in broad terms what the organization wants to accomplish or become over the next several years goals provide the basis for decisions about the nature, scope, and relative priorities of projects and activities goals should help move the organization or program to attain its vision

17 General Process Used in Generating Goals examine mission think what that unit or program would look like and how its services and operations (refer to you mission) would need to be conducted to reach that vision – improve, minimize, maximize, provide generate list of potential goals and prioritize state these as goals two general approaches to developing goals – review existing documents – ideal unit or program approach

18 Defining Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes objective – a measurable target with a time limit that must be met on the way to attaining a goal student learning outcome – specific statements that describe the intended learning outcomes that must be met on the way to attaining the degree typically derived from goal statements more precise, more specific and measurable than the goal statement there can be more than one objective or outcome related to each goal

19 Think SMART When Defining Student Outcomes and Program Objectives Specific – clear and definite terms describing the abilities, knowledge, values, and attitudes Measurable – it is feasible to get the data, data are accurate and reliable, it can be assessed in more than one way Aggressive but Attainable – don’t let the perfect divert you from what is possible Results-oriented and Time-bound – describe where you would like to be within a specified time period – describe what standards are expected from students or what percent of students are expected to achieve a particular level of performance

20 Agenda Identifying Student Learning Outcomes What is a student learning outcome Writing student learning outcomes Types of student learning outcomes Identifying key outcomes

21 Agenda…continued Measuring Student Learning Outcomes Direct evidence Indirect evidence

22 Student Learning Outcomes What is a Learning Outcome? Knowledge, skills and attitudes that students take with them from a learning experience.

23 Writing Learning Goals Aim for goals that are neither too broad or too specific Use concrete action words Define fuzzy terms Focus on the end, not the means Focus on the most important goals Work collaboratively with colleagues

24 Types of Learning Goals Increase knowledge and basic understanding Memorization Replicating a simple procedure Defining concepts Summarizing concepts Explaining concepts

25 Types of Learning Goals Thinking, Performance, and Interpersonal Skills Analysis, evaluation, problem solving, and decision making Physical skills related to manipulating ideas, concepts, tools etc. Listening, working with people from diverse backgrounds, teamwork, leadership ability

26 Types of Learning Goals Attitudes and Values Appreciation Awareness of one’s own values, attitudes, and opinions Integrity Character Valuing learning

27 Most Valued Learning goals Today! Communication skills Information literacy and research skills Thinking skills Interpersonal skills

28 Identifying key learning goals Identify resources for potential goals Make it a collaborative process Achieve consensus on common goals Preserve academic freedom Share goals with students

29 Measuring Student Learning Outcomes Direct evidence of student learning is tangible, visible and self-explanatory evidence of exactly what students have or have not learned.

30 Examples of Direct Evidence Ratings of student skills by their field experience supervisors. Scores and pass rates on appropriate licensure/certification exams. Capstone experiences such as research projects, theses, dissertations, exhibitions, performances scored using a rubric. Other written work or performance, scored using a rubric. Portfolios of student work.

31 Examples of Direct Evidence… continued Scores on locally-designed tests such as final examinations in key courses, qualifying exams, and comprehensive exams, accompanied by test blueprints describing what the test assess. Score gains between entry and exit on published test, local test, or writing samples. Employer ratings of the skills of recent graduates. Student reflections on their values, attitudes, and beliefs.

32 Measuring Student Learning Outcomes Indirect evidence of student learning provides signs that students are probably learning, but the evidence of exactly what they are learning is less clear and less convincing.

33 Examples of Indirect Evidence Course Grades Assignment grades, if not accompanied by a rubric or scoring guide Admission rates into graduate school or graduation rates Placement rates of graduates into appropriate careers and starting salaries Alumni perceptions of satisfaction and career responsibilities Student ratings of knowledge and skills Honors, awards, and scholarships earned by students and alumni Student/alumni satisfaction with their learning

34 More Details on Student Learning Outcomes describe specific behaviors that a student of your program should demonstrate after completing the program focus on the intended abilities, knowledge, values, and attitudes of the student after completion of the program – What is expected from a graduate of the program? – What is expected as the student progresses through the program?

35 Why Are Student Learning Outcomes So Important? basis for program improvement – instruction, course design, curricular design communicate instructional intent – included in the syllabus increase awareness of learning (for students) common language advising materials promotional materials support accreditation and evaluation

36 When Defining Student Learning Outcomes frame the learning outcome in terms of the program rather than individual courses or individual students – each student will receive a B or better in the XYZ course – graduates from the program will demonstrate knowledge of engineering fundamentals use concrete action verbs (e.g., define, classify, operate, formulate) rather than passive verbs (e.g., be exposed to) or vague verbs (e.g., understand, know) – action verb lists based on Bloom’s Taxonomy

37 Types and Levels of Student Learning Outcomes (Bloom’s Taxonomy) cognitive: recall and intellectual skills – knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation affective: attitudes, values, interests, appreciation and feelings toward people, ideas, places, and objects – receiving, responding, valuing, organization, characterization by, value skills - perception, set, guided response, mechanism, complex overt response, adaptation, origination

38 When Defining Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) do not to join elements in one statement that can not be assessed by single method – BSHE graduates will demonstrate knowledge of math, science, and engineering fundamentals, and gain competency in conducting oral presentations. SLO statements should focus on the learning results and not on the learning process – computer applications will be introduced in all core engineering courses – BSHE graduates will demonstrate proficiency in XXX computer applications

39 When Defining Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) SLO statements should be stated so that the outcome can be measured by more than one assessment method – students completing the XYZ engineering program will score over 95% on a locally-developed exam that tests application of engineering principles – students completing the XYZ engineering program will demonstrate competence and the ability to apply engineering principles SLO statements should indicate the level and type of competence that is required of graduates of a program

40 Checklist for Student Learning Outcomes aligned to mission and goal statements clearly describe and define expected abilities, knowledge, values, and attitudes of the graduates of the program simply stated distinctive and specific to program stated so that a single method can be used to measure the outcome stated so that more than one measurement method can be used focus on the learning results and not the learning process measurable and there are resources available can be used to identify areas to improve

41 Describing Measurement Methods What are you going to use? – presentation, assignment, test, survey, observation, performance rating Of and/or by whom? – student, mentor, focus group, customer, process, course Context (e.g., where or when) – point-of-service, capstone, throughout the year, end of program For what purpose – desired objective or learning outcome Example: Test the students at the end of the program for their level of knowledge in XYZ

42 Curriculum or Course-based performance-based – capstone courses – capstone projects – case studies – classroom assessment – course-embedded assignments – course-embedded exam questions – portfolios other – curriculum and syllabus analysis – content analysis of courses – reflective essays

43 After Identifying the Potential List of Measures You Need to… select the “best” ones – try to identify at least two measure per objective or outcome identify performance targets – balance between stretch targets versus achievable targets example – survey (using the Graduating Senior Survey) the students at the end of the program for their level of satisfaction with their communication skills (indirect method) – 90% or more of the students will rate their level of satisfaction with their communication skills as “very good” to “excellent” on a survey (using the Graduating Senior Survey) that the students complete at the end of the program

44 Selecting the “Best” Assessment Methods relationship to assessment—provide you with the information you need reliability—yields consistent responses over time validity—appropriate for what you want to measure timeliness and cost—preparation, response, and analysis time; opportunity and tangible costs motivation—provides value to student or customer, respondents are motivated to participate other – results easy to understand and interpret – changes in results can be attributed to changes in the program

45 Challenges and Pitfalls one size does not fit all—some methods work well for one program but not others don’t try to do the perfect assessment all at once— take a continuous improvement approach allow for ongoing feedback match the assessment method to the objective and not vice-versa

46 After Identifying the Potential List of Measures You Need to… develop assessment instruments – surveys – exams – assignments – scoring rubrics – portfolios ideally you want them to be reliable, valid, and cheap approaches – use external sources – seek help from internal sources (e.g., Institutional Research Office) – do it your self the instrument may need to be modified based on assessment results


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