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An Assessment Primer Fall 2007 Click here to begin.

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1 An Assessment Primer Fall 2007 Click here to begin

2 About This Presentation After reviewing this presentation, you will have been introduced to the following topics: –The purpose and composition of the Quality Through Assessment workgroup at Penn College. –A definition of assessment developed by Penn College. –A definition of “good” assessment developed by Middle States. –The assessment cycle. –The two “levels” of assessment: institutional assessment and student learning outcomes assessment. –The interaction between assessments at the institutional, program, and course levels. –Resources for further understanding of assessment.

3 TA’s Role Show how the College mission is being accomplished by examining the existing processes and elements of assessment across the campus. Facilitate the accreditation/certification/endorsement efforts of the College and its programs. Review statistical reports, surveys, and program reviews; look for changes and trends. Communicate assessment efforts and needs to the College community. Collect and share useful information about student learning and institutional effectiveness.

4 Defining “Assessment” at Penn College Assessment at Penn College is defined as an open process that encompasses the following principles: It is mission-focused, at both the institutional and programmatic levels; It is systematic, iterative, collaborative, documented, and adaptable; It applies multiple measures, both qualitative and quantitative; It identifies strengths and areas that warrant improvement; It informs planning and decision-making for the purpose of ascertaining learning and development, thereby improving programs, services, functions, performance, and the overall value of the educational experience.

5 Recommendations from 2006-07 In preparation for the Middle States self-study that will begin in 2010, the QTA recommended that the College community begin to: Assess its Philosophy, Mission, Vision statements; Review institution-wide planning, including its connectivity to budgeting, institutional effectiveness, and outcomes assessment. These items are now institutional initiatives.

6 What is “good” assessment? Good assessment is… –Focused on & driven by goals: One function of assessment is to determine whether or not the goals set by an institution, program, or course are being met. –Valued by stakeholders: Stakeholders include faculty, staff, students, parents, administration, and potential employers. –Used by all to improve student learning: Faculty, staff, and administration do not make decisions based on assumptions. Rather, they make observations in order to make informed decisions. “Assessment” is, in part, a formal record of these observations. –Reasonably valid and reliable: Assessment is “action research;” due to the complexity of the college experience, we must keep in mind possible confounding variables when making decisions while we strive for accuracy and depth. From Linda Suskie, Middle States Commission “What is ‘Good’ Assessment? A Variety of Perspectives” 10/10/2006

7 The Assessment “Cycle” Step 1: If not already stated, identify the goals. Think about “indicators of success” for the goals. Specifically, what would success look like? Step 2: Choose one of the goals and determine how to measure it. Step 3. Conduct measurement via exam, survey, focus group, interview, or another meaningful tactic. Step 4: Interpret the results. Are changes needed ? Are goals being met? Are more resources needed? Step 5: Use the information from your assessment to make decisions. Share your decisions with the appropriate stakeholders. Step 6. Were the changes effective? How do you know? Use these questions to begin the cycle again.

8 Suitable Assessment Tools One size does not fit all! Differences between programs and courses beget a variety of tools. Here is a sampling of available methods: –Classroom assignments and exams, quizzes, projects, lab evaluations, and the like; –In-person focus groups with students, graduates, advisory boards, employers, and other stakeholders; –Surveys and questionnaires; –Third-party reviews, such as for accreditation; –Reports from Institutional Research.

9 “Levels” of Assessment Institutional Assessment (Middle States Standard 7) “The institution has developed and implemented an assessment process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals and its compliance with accreditation standards.” Components: Planning, Budgeting, Renewal Institutional Resources Leadership & Governance Administration Integrity Assessment of Student Learning (Middle States Standard 14) “Assessment of student learning demonstrates that, at graduation, or other appropriate points, the institution’s students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional and appropriate higher education goals.” Components: Admissions & Retention Student Support Services Faculty & Educational Offerings General Education Related Educational Activities

10 The Relationship Between the Levels of Assessment That mission is fulfilled by the academic programs at the College and the array of student support services that we offer. Therefore, the goals set forth by academic and support programs are derived from the College mission. To determine whether the College mission (overall) is being met, the questions are posed: “Are our programs meeting their goals? How do we know?” Because academic and support programs are composed of courses and services, we then ask, “Are the courses and services meeting their goals? How do we know?” College mission Academic & Support Programs’ Goals Goals of individual courses and services. All that the College does is guided by its mission. The success of the College mission is thus measured by compiling the assessment of the courses and services that are derived from the mission.

11 Becoming Involved Visit the QTA website: –URL: –There, you will find the IR tools that are available for your use. Please post your questions or give us feedback: Keep watching for future announcements!

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