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Maureen Noonan Bischof Eden Inoway-Ronnie Office of the Provost Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association Annual Meeting April 22, 2007 Supporting Assessment of Student Learning: Strategies from a Large Public Research University
Outline I. History & Context for Assessment at UW- Madison II. Underlying Assumptions & Guiding Principles III. Our Tripartite Approach IV. Challenges & Priorities
University of Wisconsin-Madison: The context for assessment
University of Wisconsin-Madison Student population 29,000 undergraduates 11,000 graduate and professional students 3,100international students Faculty and Staff 2,200 faculty 11,000 academic and classified staff Academic Programs 13+ Schools and colleges 200+ Academic Programs 125 Departments
Assessment History -Assessment plans mandated by UW System in the late 1980s -Decentralized leadership approach -Provost’s office: campus-wide leadership, tools & examples, funding -Assessment of general education early on. -Continuous development of departmental & school/college assessment plans -Revised University Assessment Plan in 2003 -website: http://www.provost.wisc.edu/assessmenthttp://www.provost.wisc.edu/assessment
Underlying Assumptions & Guiding Principles: Academic assessment is an integral component of academic activities Academic assessment supplements (rather than replaces) curricular review, program review, and other program improvement processes Academic assessment is the major responsibility of the faculty and departments and units that offer academic programs
Underlying Assumptions & Guiding Principles: Academic assessment informs decision-making at institutional, school/college, department/unit, and course level Academic assessment is ongoing and periodic. Assessment is used to improve programs or elements of a program, and can be used to maintain program excellence Academic assessment provides a systematic process for better understanding what we are doing well and how we might enhance the educational experiences of our students.
A Tripartite Approach 1.University Assessment Council 2.School/College and Institutional Assessment Plans 3. University Assessment Funds
1. University Assessment Council Convened by and reports to Provost Council Membership: School/college representatives appointed Support unit representatives appointed Coordinating body for cross-campus support
University Assessment Council Mission of the UAC Cross-campus forum for the exchange of information & ideas Connects people with resources Keeps the university community apprised of expectations Helps assure the implementation & evaluation of the university's assessment plan Advises the provost on matters related to assessment and evaluation
School/College and Institutional Assessment Plans Agree on your mission Create goals for student outcomes and processes Identify related activities for each goal Brainstorm appropriate measures Evaluate and select measures Identify appropriate assessment methods Develop a plan for collecting data Prioritize goals Set timeline, milestones Implement assessment plan Use data to improve processes Communicate results * From Hatfield, Susan, "Assessment in the Major - Tools and Tips for Getting Started." Paper presented at the 1997 Assessment Conference in Indianapolis. Professor Hatfield is/was the Assessment Coordinator at Winona State University.
2. School/College and Institutional Assessment Plans
School/College and Institutional Assessment Plans Key factors for success: -Assessment plans must be faculty- (and staff) led -Visible, active support for assessment by deans and provost -Availability of support services to draw upon -Examples of “good” departmental assessment plans made available -Inventory of tools and assessment measures available -Assessment of general education demonstrates institutional commitment to assessment of student learning -Connections made between assessment of student learning and broader program review process.
3. University Assessment Fund Annual call for proposals $180,000 annually set aside for support 1/3 of the funds support General Education assessment http://www.provost.wisc.edu/assessment/Assessment_ Funds.html Purpose is to support academic units assessment of student learning Catalyst for promoting assessment activities (not ongoing source) Ongoing consultation with departments and units Review and selection committee
University Assessment Fund Successful proposals include those that: focus on improvement of student learning at the program level identify specific program goals demonstrate a clear understanding of how activities will be assessed (indicators of learning) explain and demonstrate how the results will improve the program link to program review plans and/or regional and specialized accreditation processes willing to share findings and resources across campus
Challenges and Priorities 1.Integrating academic program assessment more intentionally with other forms of evaluative and improvement processes. 2.Continuing to improve alignment between academic program assessment and program review. 3.Developing stronger connections between academic program assessment and other assessment of student learning. 4.Improving communication with the campus community and external constituents.
Challenges and Priorities 1. Integration Integrating assessment of academic programs with: performance of individual students (grades) performance of individual instructors (teaching evaluations) curricular improvements program review
Challenges and Priorities 2. Alignment with Program Review Academic Assessment of Student Learning Different assessment activities focused on different learning outcome goals Ongoing but not necessarily same assessment activity every year Evidence of student learning is one part of program review Program Review Holistic view of program – range of issues including student enrollment, funding, staffing, etc. Periodic – every 10 years Often linked to department’s strategic planning process Program review makes use of assessment evidence
Challenges & Priorities 3. Connection to other program evaluation efforts Align and integrate academic assessment (degrees/majors) more intentionally with: Assessment of out-of-class learning experiences (e.g., first-year programs, study abroad, service learning, certificate programs), and, administrative assessment efforts (e-portfolio, “alumni profile” project, early-alert systems)
Challenges & Priorities 4. Communication Develop multiple strategies to better communicate internally & externally: outcomes of general education assessment assessment of student learning in the major/program Share best practices and resources across schools/colleges New Initiative: Identify and articulate more broadly a set of university-wide undergraduate student learning expectations
What Next? Reaccreditation in 2009 Annual Teaching & Learning Symposium 2008 Using reaccreditation self-study process to explore future directions and connect with campus strategic planning process Questions for Self–study process: - What will it mean to be a great public university in a changing world? - How will UW-Madison uniquely embody this greatness?
UW-Madison Assessment Resources Assessment of Academic Programs and Student Outcomes http://www.provost.wisc.edu/assessment/ UW-Madison Academic Assessment Plan 2003 http://www.provost.wisc.edu/assessment/AssessmentPlan2003.pdf UW-Madison Assessment Resources http://www.provost.wisc.edu/assessment/Assessment_Resources.html College of Letters and Science Academic Assessment http://www.ls.wisc.edu/assess/
UW-Madison Assessment Resources Academic Planning and Analysis http://apa.wisc.edu/ Alumni Profiles http://apa.wisc.edu/Alumni/alumni_profiles.html Division of Information Technology http://www.doit.wisc.ede WebSurvey http://www.doit.wisc.edu/websurvey/ Office of Quality Improvement http://www.quality.wisc.edu/index.php Testing and Evaluation Services http://testing.wisc.edu/ UW Survey Center (UWSC) http://www.uwsc.wisc.edu/
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