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George Kuh SAIR New Orleans, LA September 26, 2010 NILOA: Tracking the Status of Outcomes Assessment in the U.S.

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Presentation on theme: "George Kuh SAIR New Orleans, LA September 26, 2010 NILOA: Tracking the Status of Outcomes Assessment in the U.S."— Presentation transcript:

1 George Kuh SAIR New Orleans, LA September 26, 2010 NILOA: Tracking the Status of Outcomes Assessment in the U.S.

2 “Colleges… do so little to measure what students learn between freshman and senior years. So doubt lurks: how much does a college education – the actual teaching and learning that happens on campus – really matter?” David Leonhardt, NYTimes, Sept 27, 2009

3 Advance Organizers  What kind of information about student learning and institutional effectiveness is compelling and useful for: (a) guiding improvement efforts? (b) responding to accountability demands?  What can be done to motivate encourage faculty and staff to use assessment results to enhance student learning?

4 Advance Organizers  What are the obstacles that must be addressed for IR to help advance the assessment agenda?  What could you and/or NILOA do to overcome these challenges?

5 Overview Overview  The current context for assessment  The NILOA agenda: activities and products  Questions to ponder

6 Context  Global Competitiveness in Degree Attainment  The New Majority and Demographic Gaps  Questionable Levels of Student Performance  In a Most Challenging Fiscal Environment …  We Need Higher Levels of Student Attainment at an Affordable Cost

7 Assessment 2010 Assessment 2010 Greater emphasis on student learning outcomes and evidence that student performance measures up

8 Assessment 2010 Assessment 2010 Greater emphasis on student learning outcomes and evidence that student performance measures up Demands for comparative measures Increased calls for transparency --- public disclosure of student and institutional performance Assessment “technology” has improved markedly, but still is insufficient to document learning outcomes most institutions claim

9 Far too little is known about assessment practices on campuses around the country

10 NILOA’s mission is to document SLO assessment work, identify and disseminate best practices, and support institutions in their assessment efforts

11 FUNDERS  Lumina Foundation for Education  Carnegie Corporation of New York  The Teagle Foundation NATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL NATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL

12 NILOA Activities  “Go to” Web site

13 NILOA Activities  “Go to” Web site  National surveys

14  Survey asked chief academic officers at all accredited 2 & 4 year colleges and universities about their assessment practices.  Survey report “More Than You Think, Less Than We Need” released October, 2009

15 Report Summary 1.Perhaps 1.Perhaps more assessment underway than some acknowledge or wish to believe 2.More attention needed to using and reporting assessment results 3.Involving faculty is a major challenge 4.More investment likely needed to move from data to improvement

16 According to Provosts, what is the driving force for assessment? a. Institutional Commitment to Improvement b. Accreditation c. Faculty & Staff Interest d. Governing Board Mandate e. None of the above “high importance” 85% Regional 80% Specialized

17 Report Summary 1.Perhaps 1.Perhaps more assessment underway than some acknowledge or wish to believe 2.More attention needed to using and reporting assessment results 3.Involving faculty is a major challenge 4.More investment likely needed to move from data to improvement 5.Accreditation is a major force shaping assessment

18 Assessment driven more by accreditation and commitment to improve than external pressures from government or employers

19 Accreditation tops the list for uses of assessment data

20 Regional accreditors cite deficiencies in student learning outcomes assessment with greater frequency Middle States - 2/3 of institutions have follow-up; number one reason being assessment NEASC - 80% of institutions asked for follow-up on student learning outcomes assessment HLC - 7 out of 10 institutions are being monitored; the vast majority for student learning outcomes assessment.

21 Attention to transparency in student learning outcomes assessment is growing. Middle States, HLC, SACS consider transparency an integrity issue NEASC increased requests for “candor” by asking for student learning goals and requirements to be published so that they are “readily available” WASC-ACCJC ask every school to publish their student learning outcomes as eligibility requirement

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24 NILOA 2010 Program-Level Survey  All accredited, undergraduate degree-granting 2- and 4-year public, private, and for-profit institutions in the US (n=2,678)  Provosts asked to identify 3-4 program areas to respond

25 NILOA 2010 Program-Level Questionnaire Preview survey at:www.niloasurvey.org

26 NILOA Activities  “Go to” Web site  National surveys  Web scans: 725 institutions

27 Exploring the Landscape: What Institutions Post on Their Websites About Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Activities Natasha Jankowski & Julia Makela Campuses report doing more assessment than they make accessible on their institutional websites. The typical institution shows only an average of two assessment activities. When information is posted, it is more often intended for internal institutional audiences

28 Web Scan Guiding Questions  What does the institution display on its website regarding student learning outcomes assessment?  On which web pages is information about assessment of student learning outcomes located?

29 Say vs. Show More assessment activity was reported by chief academic officers than was available on institution websites

30 NILOA Activities  “Go to” Web site  National surveys  Web scans: 725 institutions  Occasional papers & products

31 Occasional Paper #1 Assessment, Accountability, and Improvement Peter T. Ewell Assessments of what students learn during college are typically used for either improvement or accountability, and occasionally both. Yet, since the early days of the “assessment movement” in the US, these two purposes of outcomes assessment have not rested comfortably together.

32 Continuous Improvement Continuous Improvement Accountability Accountability Strategic dimensions PurposeFormative (improvement)Summative (judgment) OrientationInternalExternal MotivationEngagementCompliance Implementation InstrumentationMultiple/triangulationStandardized Nature of evidenceQuantitative and qualitativeQuantitative Reference points Over time, comparative, established goal Comparative or fixed standard Communication of results Multiple internal channels Public communication, media Use of resultsMultiple feedback loopsReporting Two Paradigms of Assessment Ewell, Peter T. (2007). Assessment and Accountability in America Today: Background and Context. In Assessing and Accounting for Student Learning: Beyond the Spellings Commission. Victor M. H. Borden and Gary R. Pike, Eds. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

33 Looking Back: What’s Been Accomplished? Assessment Seen as Legitimate Goals for Learning Established A “Semi-Profession” for Assessment Much Better Instruments and Methods

34 Looking Back: What Remains to be Done? Authentic Faculty Ownership Assessment Still an “Add-On” Use of Information for Improvement is Underdeveloped Sincere Institutional Engagement with Accreditors in Assessment

35 Occasional Paper #2 Three Promising Alternatives for Assessing College Students’ Knowledge and Skills Banta, Griffin, Flateby & Kahn Of the various ways to assess student learning outcomes, many faculty members prefer what are called “authentic” approaches that document student performance during or at the end of a course or program of study.

36 Occasional Paper #3 Connecting the Dots Between Learning and Resources Jane V. Wellman With all the talk about the need for more accountability, surprisingly little is known about what kind of resources an institution needs in order to produce a given level of student attainment.

37 Wellman’s Conclusions  Intentionality matters as much or more than money alone  Spending on instruction and student services pays off in learning, retention and graduation  Excess units cost institutions money, cost students in time and money, and do not get students to the finish line

38 Occasional Paper #4 Opening Doors for Faculty Involvement in Assessment Pat Hutchings The key to effectively using assessment data to improve student learning is to engage faculty in meaningful ways in this critical activity. This paper discusses the challenges inherent in and opportunities for doing so.

39 Occasional Paper #5 Valuing Assessment: Cost-Benefit Considerations Randy Swing & Christopher Coogan How can a campus know when enough spending is really enough? The authors systematically unpack what needs to be taken into account when allocating resources to the assessment of student learning outcomes.

40 NILOA Activities  “Go to” Web site  National surveys  Web scans: 725 institutions  Occasional papers & products  Interviews & focus groups with key actors: -- AAC&U -- ACE -- AIR

41 Perspectives from Campus Leaders on the Current State of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Jillian Kinzie This paper highlights lessons from four focus group sessions with campus leaders--presidents, provosts, academic deans and directors of institutional research from a variety of two- and four- year institutions-- regarding their perspectives on the state of learning assessment practices on their campuses. Forthcoming Fall 2010

42 NILOA Activities  “Go to” Web site  National surveys  Web scans: 725 institutions  Occasional papers & products  Interviews & focus groups with key actors: -- AAC&U -- ACE -- AIR Accreditors -- Accreditors

43 Occasional Paper #6 Regional Accreditation and Student Learning Outcomes Assessment: Mapping the Territory Staci Provezis This paper examines the policies and procedures at each of the seven regional accreditation organizations, as they relate to student learning outcomes assessment.

44 Connecting State Policies on Assessment with Institutional Assessment Activity Peter Ewell, Natasha Jankowski & Staci Provezis Two national surveys—one at the state level and one at the institutional level— show that state policies matter to student learning outcome assessment activities at both public and private institutions.

45  Eight “assessment active states: GeorgiaRhode Island KentuckySouth Dakota MinnesotaTennessee OklahomaWest Virginia

46 Institutions in Assessment-Active States: Use general knowledge/ skills measures (CLA, CAAP, MAPP) 58% vs 38%. Use valid samples with national surveys (83% vs 58%) Use employer surveys (76% vs 62%) and employer interviews (57% vs 47%) Have common set of student learning outcomes (83% vs 76%) No differences re public and privates, transparency

47 Measuring Quality in Higher Education ( Vic Borden & Brandi Kernel, 2010) Web-based inventory hosted by AIR of assessment resources. Key words can be used to search the four categories:  instruments (examinations, surveys, questionnaires, etc.);  software tools and platforms;  benchmarking systems and data resources;  projects, initiatives and services.

48 NILOA Products Coming Soon Assessment and accountability in community colleges (Seybert & Ewell) What the field needs from student affairs in assessment (Schuh & Gansemer-Topf) The role of institutional research in assessment (Volkwein) From gathering to using assessment results: Lessons from the Wabash National Longitudinal Study (Blaich & Wise)

49 Ponder this: 1.What is driving assessment of learning outcomes on your campus? 2.How effectively does your institution assess student learning outcomes? 3.What is needed to take assessment to the next level to further both assessment and improvement? 4.How available are your assessment results??  Where are the data posted? Are the data password protected?

50 Would it help if we agreed on common student learning outcomes (SLOs) for all undergraduates and expressed SLOs in the same language? Should an evidence guide be developed that institutions and accreditation teams can use to standardize and examine institutional assessment activities? Should a template be developed that institutions can use to make public information about SLOs, like VSA, but focused on learning?

51 Discussion  What are the obstacles that must be addressed to advance your assessment agenda?  What could you and/or NILOA do to overcome these challenges?


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