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Assessing Student Learning Outcomes In the Context of SACS Re-accreditation Standards Presentation to the Dean’s Council September 2, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessing Student Learning Outcomes In the Context of SACS Re-accreditation Standards Presentation to the Dean’s Council September 2, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessing Student Learning Outcomes In the Context of SACS Re-accreditation Standards Presentation to the Dean’s Council September 2, 2004

2 SACS Expectations for Campus Planning and Evaluation “The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that incorporate a systematic review of programs and services that – (a) results in continuing improvement, and – (b) demonstrates that the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.”

3 Carolina has been proactive in planning and defining strategic priorities to accomplish our mission… Examples: The Academic Plan: Priorities for accomplishing the academic mission Budget Planning Process: Connecting budget planning to University priorities The Master Plan: Designing physical elements of the campus to support our mission The Financial Plan: Identifying resources necessary to support the mission, goals, and priorities

4 Carolina also systematically evaluates effectiveness in accomplishing our mission and strategic goals at the University level… Measures of Excellence: institutional quality indicators benchmarked against peers The Academic Plan Metrics: Indicators of progress in strengthening the academic experience we offer students, and achieving other priorities Five Year Financial Plan: evaluation of the adequacy of resources and support services necessary to realize the University’s mission. Diversity Assessment Project in 2004-05 Honor and Integrity Assessment, 2003-04 Intellectual Climate Assessment, late 1990s Documenting involvement in public service Examples:

5 SACS: Special Emphasis on Documenting How We Evaluate Outcomes of Educational Programs “The institution: Identifies expected outcomes for its educational programs and its administrative and educational support services; Assesses whether it achieves these outcomes; and Provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of those results.” “The institution demonstrates that each educational program for which academic credit is awarded …establishes and evaluates program and learning outcomes.”

6 Most Important: Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Focus is on assessing what are students are able to: – Know (cognitive), – Think (attitudinal) – Do (behavioral) as a result of the educational program. Purpose: To obtain information that can be used by program faculty to answer the following questions: –Are our students learning what we think is important? –Are they learning what they need to succeed in this field or profession? –Are we improving in our ability to help students learn? –Should our curriculum or teaching strategies be modified? –Are there other techniques or additional resources that would help our students learn more effectively?

7 Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Differs from…. Program Review Process -- focuses primarily on measuring program inputs (quality of entering students, faculty resources, etc.) and outcomes that are important to other areas of the mission but not directly related to student learning (e.g., research productivity) End-of-Course Instructor Evaluations – measure student perceptions about individual teaching behaviors, not actual learning. Individual Student Evaluations – assessment for program improvement purposes is based on aggregated student performance data; not intended to give feedback to student.

8 Steps in Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Define intended educational outcomes Identify methods of measuring outcomes: –Where in the curriculum or program would we expect that learning to occur? –When and how data are collected Administer assessments Review results and use to make decisions regarding program improvement Repeat assessments in subsequent cycles to track improvements, change, trends, relevancy

9 Student Learning Outcome Assessment Techniques Standardized tests Performance on licensure or professional exams Essays Exhibits Performances Course assignments Portfolios of work samples Authentic assessments Job placement rates Student surveys Graduate follow-ups Focus groups Exit interviews DirectIndirect

10 Opportunities for Measuring Student Learning Outcomes Capstone courses Thesis/dissertation Internships Embedded in assignments/examinations in specific courses in the curriculum Note: Programs do not have to measure every outcome every year using all students. A multi-year plan to assess specific outcomes on a staggered basis is more effective in terms of the reality of the time available and the capacity of the faculty to process the results and determine how to make improvements.

11 Important Points About Assessing Student Learning Outcomes A faculty-owned and managed process Objective is to provide feedback to the faculty about how well they are meeting their program goals; not an administrative tool for making decisions regarding program cuts. Added benefit: Assessment results provide objective information that can be used in program review or budget planning to document the need for additional resources necessary to improve student learning. “Closing the Loop” – Documenting how you used results to make program improvements is as important to SACS as the actual results of the assessment.

12 The Process of Assessing Student Learning Outcomes at Carolina We need to demonstrate that assessment is a permanent, on-going process, not just an event in conjunction with SACS. SACS expects to see documentation on assessment activities from every program. Use what you are already doing as much as possible: –Standards/requirements of professional associations and discipline-based accrediting bodies –Local methods of assessing learning Training and technical support available from: –Office of Institutional Research & Assessment –Center for Teaching and Learning –Outside consultants as needed

13 Timeline for 2004-05 Sept 2004: Deans appoint coordinators within schools to oversee and report assessment activities Sept-Oct 2004: Training and technical assistance provided to program areas by Provost’s Office Jan 2005: Deans submit assessment plans from all program areas to Provost’s Office for review and feedback. June 2005: Deans submit reports on 2004-05 assessment activities, findings, and use of results for improvements Future cycles: Reports and new plans for future years due at academic year-end

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