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Writing an Effective Assessment Plan

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1 Writing an Effective Assessment Plan
Administrative and Academic Support Units February 2015

2 What is Assessment? Plan: Define your mission, identify outcomes, and develop measures and performance targets Do: Conduct your work in accordance with division and unit strategic plans. Check: Measure your progress against performance targets and analyze results. Act: Use what you've learned. Revise or reinforce your plans, make improvements, change your measures or targets as needed.

3 Step 1: Define your mission
Three or four lines of text that clearly and concisely communicate WHAT you do, WHY you do it, and HOW you do it “The mission of (name) is to (purpose) by providing (functions) to (stakeholders). These (services, etc.) contribute to the university’s mission by….”

4 Step 1: Define your mission (cont.)
Is it brief? Distinctive? Does it clearly state the purpose? Does it indicate the primary function? Does it say who the stakeholders are? Does it clearly support the university’s mission?

5 Step 2: Identify outcomes
Operational outcomes End result for (on impact on) a customer/stakeholder or the institution that is a consequence of your work. Directly related to the mission and key responsibilities; stable from year to year Describes ends, not the means; “big-picture” Beneficiary + action verb + benefit=outcome “Eligible employees will have the information they need to make appropriate decisions regarding employee benefits packages.”

6 Step 2: Identify outcomes
Strategic outcomes Reflect future expected results based on a planned activity Written in future tense, closely tied to strategic goals, consistent with operational outcomes “Over the next year, the Registrar’s office will improve student access to services by expanding hours of operation.”

7 Step 2: Identify Outcomes
Learning outcomes Relate to student learning Describe the key knowledge, skills, or abilities that students attain as a result of a learning experience. “Upon successful completion of ---, students will <action verb>.” Must be observable, measurable. “Students will identify correct academic requirements for their major.”

8 Which should I use? It depends. Can use a combination of the three.
Check: Are they aligned with the mission statement? Are they important to the university/division and reflect key results? Is it possible to collect accurate and reliable data? Can they be used to identify areas to improve?

9 Step 3: Measure outcomes
First: Develop measures Must relate to the outcome directly and clearly Must be objective and avoid structural bias The process is documented, systematic, and impartial. What are you already doing? Direct v. indirect Direct measures examine actual results. Indirect measures examine perceptions related to that outcome. Must use multiple measures to examine each outcome, one of which should be direct.

10 Step 3: Measure outcomes
Institutional Data Sources MAYS (Students) MAYS (Faculty and Staff) CIRP Freshman Survey NSSE Graduating Student Survey Alumni Survey Factbook Great Places to Work

11 Step 3: Measure outcomes
Second: Set targets How do you define success? What is the minimum result that will represent achievement of the outcome? Should be challenging but realistic

12 Step 4: Collect data Look at what you already collect.
Plan: What kind of data is needed? What needs to be done? Who is responsible? When and how will it be collected?

13 Step 5: Analyze results What do these results mean for your unit?
Why did you/did you not reach your target? What does this tell you about strengths/weaknesses? Which strategies were successful? What will you do differently going forward? Each issue that is identified needs to have an action plan to improve performance. If 100% target was achieved, how will you raise the bar? What resources will be needed, who is responsible, when will actions take place?

14 Planning Data Collection Reporting September October November December
January-May June-July Division: Using the university’s strategic plan, develops and presents to units goals for current year onwards. Unit: Develops or revises assessment plan for current year, sends plan to Division. Division: Compiles and reviews unit plans and send division-wide plan to PIE. Formulates appropriate budget requests, based on strategic plan and assessment results from previous year. University: PIE reviews plans and sends feedback to divisions. University: UAC reviews previous year’s assessment reports and sends feedback to Division. Division: Communicates feedback to units. University: UBC reconciles budget requests with projected budget Unit: Responds to feedback as required. Unit: Implements current year assessment plans, collects data, and analyzes results. Units may also collect data at other points during the academic year, as appropriate. University: PIE forwards results of institutional surveys to units Unit: Prepares assessment report and forwards results to Division. Division: Compiles units' assessment reports and analyzes results; sends report to UAC (July 31).

15 Previous Academic Year Progress on Implementing Improvement
Unit Assessment Report Previous Academic Year Current Academic Year Outcomes Planned Improvement Progress on Implementing Improvement Outcome 1: Relates to divisional goals: Method 1: (Each outcome should be assessed using at least two measures, and at least one of these measures should be a direct measure.) Target: Results: (Detailed discussion of results, charts, tables, etc. can be included in the “analysis” section below.) Method 2: Results: Analysis of Results and Implications: (List all data sources used, discuss the results for each method used, describe what analysis of the results indicates, and provide and other relevant information.) Planned Improvements: (List specific actions intended to improve the unit’s effectiveness. Each result should have an associated improvement. If 100% of the target has been met, what will the unit do to reach the next level?)

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