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Honing Student Learning Objectives: Beginning the Assessment Process. November 4, 2009. Assessment Council Membership. Nancy Dubetz (ECCE) [email protected] Salita Bryant (English ) [email protected] *Robert Farrell (Lib ) [email protected]

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assessment council membership
Assessment Council Membership

*Committee Chair

Administrative Advisor – Assessment Coordinator

committee charge
Committee Charge
  • Develop written strategic plan for campus assessment of student learning, which will include:

• definitions of key terms for campus assessment practices

• articulation of reporting procedures

• articulation of responsible parties

• recommendations for departmental processes for assessing

learning goals

• recommendations on incentives for faculty participation in assessment

  • Develop and promote a culture of assessment on campus
  • Act in an advisory capacity to Provost [Deans’ Council] for developing campus assessment goals
  • Act in an advisory capacity to departments and individual faculty to facilitate assessment efforts
  • Work with campus Assessment Coordinator to create cross-departmental assessment teams and partnerships.
middle states standards accreditation
Middle States Standards & Accreditation
  • Standard 14: Assessment of Student Learning:

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.


Ongoing assessment

  • Spring 2011
  • Middle States report due April 1
  • Second completed assessment cycle of
  • student learning goals
  • Analyze evidence
  • Report on how assessment results were used (May)
this semester fall 2009
This semester – Fall 2009

Again, this fall we will have:

  • articulated our learning objectives for our programs/majors.
  • identified the learning opportunities in our curricula where students demonstrate learning objectives. This will be sent in to your associate deans by February 19.
next semester
Next Semester
  • Develop a way of measuring/evaluating student performance in the mastery of that objective.
  • Gather evidence of student learning related to the objective you’ve selected.
  • Analyze this evidence (or plan to do so in Summer / Fall 2010).
fall 2010
Fall 2010
  • We’ll continue (or start) analyzing data/results from evidence evaluated.
  • We’ll be acting on the assessment results this process has yielded. (This may include curricular tweaks to improve students’ opportunity to master the objective assessed, designing new learning opportunities, rethinking content sequencing between courses, etc.) This will need to be documented by January and reported in the April 2011 report.
  • Begin gathering evidence on the next objective your program will want to look at.
workshop refining learning goals objectives
Workshop Refining Learning Goals & Objectives

Goals, Objectives, Outcomes

Goal-A broad statement of desired outcomes – what we hope students will know and be able to do as a result of completing the program/course. They should highlight the primary focus and aim of the program. They are not directly measurable. Rather, they are evaluated directly or indirectly by measuring specific objectives related to the goal.

Objective - Sometimes referred to as intended learning outcomes, student learning outcome (SLO) or outcome statements. They are clear, brief statements used to describe to a specific, measurable action or task that helps achieve the target (goal).

Outcomes - the learning results – the end results -- the knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits of mind that students have or have not taken with them as a result of the students’ experience in the course(s) or program.

exercise 1
  • (Set Up Groups)
  • Work on Reviewing Outcomes for Programs/Departments using the rubric provided.
  • Assessment really begins with 1) selecting a learning objective you’re particularly concerned about, 2)looking for the key learning opportunities and work produced by your students related to that objective, 3) then finding a tool to evaluate the work in order to see if students are in fact mastering the objective.
direct vs indirect evidence
Direct vs. Indirect Evidence
  • Direct evidence of student learning is tangible, visible, self-explanatory evidence of exactly what students have and haven’t learned.
  • Indirect evidence provides signs that students are probably learning, but evidence of exactly what they are learning may be less clear and less convincing.
  • While indirect evidence (feedback/surveys) can be useful, direct evidence is often best for getting concrete indications that students are learning what we’re hoping they’re learning.
direct vs indirect evidence1
Direct vs. Indirect Evidence

Examples of Direct Evidence:

  • Embedded course assignments (written/oral)
  • Department wide exams (blueprinted)
  • Standardized tests (blueprinted)
  • Capstone projects (with rubric)
  • Field experiences
  • Pre-Test Post-Test

Examples of Indirect Evidence:

  • Student satisfaction results
  • Alumni perceptions
  • Exit interviews
  • Placement rates into careers and/or graduate school
  • Honors, awards and scholarships
  • Course grades

(Refer to the green sheet for additional examples)

exercise 2 connecting outcomes to curriculum and identifying appropriate assessment instruments
EXERCISE 2: Connecting Outcomes to Curriculum and Identifying Appropriate Assessment Instruments
learning opportunities
Learning Opportunities
  • Do our courses provide the learning opportunities for students to master your program’s objectives?
  • If so, identify specific assignments or exercises where students demonstrate the mastery of those objectives.
  • If not, such opportunities can be designed.
how this all fits together
How This All Fits Together!


curriculum mapping
Curriculum Mapping

Curriculum mapping gives you a picture of where the learning opportunities for students to acquire, develop, and demonstrate mastery of learning objectives are located in your course offerings.

what we ll be doing next semester
What we’ll be doing next semester!

Two workshops:

  • Developing tools to evaluate and measure our evidence.
  • Using assessment results to improve student learning.
the next workshop
The Next Workshop


  • Rubrics
  • Checklists
  • Rating scales

...to evaluate evidence collected.

Blueprinting exams for assessment.

how can rubrics be used to assess program learning goals
How Can Rubrics Be Used to Assess Program Learning Goals?
  • Embedded course assignments
  • Capstone experiences
  • Field experiences
  • Employer feedback
  • Student self assessments
  • Peer evaluations
action items
Action Items


  • Select objective of concern to assess.
  • Identify the learning opportunities in curricula where students perform the learning objective.

Next semester:

  • Develop a way of measuring/evaluating student performance of that objective.
  • Gather evidence of student learning related to the objective you’ve selected.
parting thought
Parting thought…..

The purpose of defining goals and assessing learning is to improve learning through teaching. Teaching lies primarily in the hands of the faculty members, and good learning cannot happen without their commitment and dedication. Assessment, first and foremost, is a tool for faculty members to use as they do their very best to teach their student well.

Middle Commission of Higher Education

please share your thoughts with us
Please share your thoughts with us!

You will find a small sheet on which to jot a few thoughts. Take a minute to let us know:

  • Some things you’ve learned from these workshops.
  • Some things you’d like to know more about.
  • Topics for other workshops going forward.



Suskie, L. (2004). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. San Francisco: Anker Publishing Co., Inc.