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The Academic Assessment Process

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1 The Academic Assessment Process
Advisory Committee for Academic Assessment Office of Academic Assessment Kent State University January 21, 2003


3 What is the purpose of this guide?
To help faculty and staff in academic and student support units develop and improve the process of assessing student learning

4 Why is assessment of student learning important?
Improvement Accountability Accreditation

5 Why is assessment of student learning important?
(Continuous) Improvement Engage faculty and staff in self-reflection on learning goals and instructional and service delivery Determine degree to which goals correspond to student and societal needs Evaluate degree to which students’ activities, products, or performances coincide with expectations set in learning goals

6 Why is assessment of student learning important?
(Continuous) Improvement Inform students about the knowledge, skills, and other attributes they can expect to possess after successfully completing an academic program or co-curricular activity Help academic and student support units understand the dimensions of student learning when seeking to improve student achievement and the educational process

7 Why is assessment of student learning important?
Accountability Students Parents Public Institutional and program accreditation agencies State legislators Other stakeholders

8 Why is assessment of student learning important?
Accreditation Institutional (AQIP, THLC) Program (NASM, AACSB, NCATE, etc.)

9 How do we define the process of academic assessment?
Clarify learning needs of students Determine and make public academic goals and expectations for student learning Implement instruction and co-curricular activities Gather, analyze, and interpret evidence to determine the degree to which student learning outcomes meet these expectations Agree on ways to use this evidence to improve student learning

10 Assessment and AQIP Assessment permeates all nine AQIP criteria by asking for results Context Processes Results <<<<<<<<<< Feedback Assessment is an important part of university Action Project 1 Goals and objectives statements requested for all academic and support programs

11 Definition of “Program”
Program in the context of this presentation refers to “major” as defined by the top level in our SIS classification See list of majors at the website: Assessment Program Implementation

12 What are the six steps to guide an assessment process?
1. Identify in broad terms what educational goals are valued 2. Articulate multiple measurable objectives for each goal 3. Select appropriate approaches to assess how well students are meeting the articulated objectives 4. Select appropriate measures that can be administered, analyzed, and interpreted for evidence of student learning outcomes 5. Communicate assessment findings to students and those involved in the process of assessment 6. Use feedback to make changes and inform curricular and program/service planning decisions and reevaluate the assessment process with the intent to continuously improve the quality of student learning.

13 Who is responsible for developing an assessment process?
Every academic and student support unit will determine for itself the process most effective for the assessment of student learning in their programs. Faculty and staff are in the best positions to determine educational values, to define measurable objectives to assess, to select methods and measures, and use findings to improve student learning outcomes. Faculty and staff need to assure that the educational requirements of others, such as students, employers, or other knowledgeable persons, are considered in developing this process.

14 What is the role of Advisory Committee for Academic Assessment?
Collaborate with the Office of Academic Assessment to support and coordinate a process to assess student academic achievement Serve as a liaison (resource) to academic and student support units for the continuous improvement of the quality of education Assist with the development of materials, workshops, and surveys to assist academic and student support units in their preparation, implementation, and review of assessment plans

15 Step One: Identify Goals
A goal is a statement expressing what ideals are to be achieved. Goal statements tend to be broadly philosophical, global, timeless and not readily amenable to measurement. Program goals address what students should acquire upon completing a program or activity. Knowledge Skills Values Program goals allow us to share with others the ideals our students should achieve.

16 Step Two: Identify Objectives
The task at step two is to state the broad, global program goals, as measurable learning objectives. Learning objectives should specify the activities, products, or performances to be measured and evaluated and the criteria they must meet for success. Learning objectives state what students will know, understand, and be able to do when they complete this major (course) or activity.

17 Step Two: Identify Objectives
Defining objectives requires faculty, staff and others to reflect on the questions below: how can the learning goals be stated as an activity, product, or performance that can be measured? what will students know, understand, and be able to do when they complete studies within this academic unit or complete this co-curricular activity?

18 Step Three: Specify Approaches
Approaches define the procedures by which information is gathered; whereas, measures (in Step Four) are the specific instruments used to provide data. Some typical approaches (methods) used to gather information on student learning include portfolios, capstone courses, standardized achievement tests, external reviews, internship performances, focus groups, and so on. Multiple approaches and/or administration times are essential to ensure that students who may perform poorly with one method or at one time have other opportunities to demonstrate their learning.

19 Step Three: Specify Approaches
When selecting approaches to use, the following are some questions to consider: How many faculty or staff are willing to participate in the approaches selected? Will all students or a sample of students be evaluated? How much time is involved? Determine how this will affect faculty, staff, and student work. How much useable information already exists and is available to the unit? What are any cost constraints? Are there university resources that can be used for support? Will a study at one point in time (cross-sectional method) provide the information needed or will following individual students or groups of students over several points in time (longitudinal method) be a more useful approach? Does the unit prefer to use approaches that rely primarily on numerical analysis (quantitative method) or on observations (qualitative method)?

20 Step Four: Specify Measures
In Step Four, faculty and staff agree as to what evidence will assure that students are achieving the skills, knowledge, and values important to the academic or student support unit. This moves the assessment process from a focus on intended results, expressed as learning objectives, to the level of achieved results. Many measures can evaluate the objectives for learning, but it is important not to depend on a single measure to provide data about what and how well students are learning. Doing so can result in misinformation. Just as students learn in different ways, students respond differently with various evaluation tools. Using varied measures over time more accurately affirms change and growth in learning. This allows greater confidence when recommending changes in the learning and assessment processes.

21 Step Four: Specify Measures
Some questions that need to be considered when selecting measures include the following What schedule can be established to ensure an ongoing process of evaluation of objectives? Will an externally developed test measure the specific goals and objectives of interest? Are there faculty and staff who can prepare internally developed tests or performance measures that are valid and reliable? How can students be motivated to do their best on any measures assessing learning?

22 Step Five: Evaluate and Share Results
Collect the results from assessment measures Analyze and interpret the results To what degree are expectations in program goals and learning objectives being met? Share the findings Faculty Staff Students Administrators Public

23 Step Six: Assess for Improvement and Make Changes
Academic assessment is an ongoing process that requires continuous reevaluation as to whether teaching and learning processes achieve the goals and objectives defined by faculty and staff in the academic and student support units. When students succeed in achieving those goals and objectives, one might assume that the teaching and learning processes are functioning well. When students do not achieve those goals and objectives, changes should be made in teaching and learning processes. Reevaluation after changes are made will suggest if those changes were helpful to student learning. In this way, assessment creates a continuous cycle through these six steps in the assessment program and teaching/learning processes.

24 Causal/enabling Factors for Academic Assessment
Instruction/Learning Processes Resources/Budget


26 Where is(are) your student(s) in this assessment process?

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