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Student Learning Outcomes Workshop September 26 th , 2007 What is Assessment? Assessment is the systematic gathering and analysis of information to inform and improve student learning in the context of specific educational goals Assessment Cycle Why is assessment necessary?

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What is assessment l.jpg
What is Assessment?

  • Assessment is the systematic gathering and analysis of information to inform and improve student learning in the context of specific educational goals



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Why is assessment necessary?

  • Demanded by accrediting body


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From Middle States:

  • “Assessment of student learning demonstrates that the institution’s students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional goals and that students at graduation have achieved appropriate higher education goals…In order to carry out meaningful assessment activities,

  • institutions must articulate statements of expected student learning at the institutional, program, and individual course levels…

  • Course syllabi or guidelines should include expected learning outcomes…Assessment is not an event but a process and

  • should be an integral part of the life of the institution”


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Why is assessment necessary?

  • Demanded by accrediting body

  • Want it to be based on internal vs. external standards

    • Spellings Report/ AAC&U Debate

  • Feedback for department

  • Accountability to students


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Assessment vs. Grading

  • More informative

    • Details what skills have been attained

    • Gives feedback on how to improve

  • Absorbs individual differences in evaluation

  • More focused on long-term retention

  • Qualitative data is more valued


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Assessment steps

  • 1. Develop learning objectives

  • 2. Check for alignment between curriculum & objectives

  • 3. Develop an assessment plan

  • 4. Collect assessment data

  • 5. Use results to improve the program

  • 6. Routinely examine the assessment process & correct as needed


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Important distinctions:

  • Mission: broad vision of purposes & values of program

  • Program goals: broad statement re knowledge, values, & skills acquired through student’s program of study

  • Learning objectives: operationalize program goals


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Example: Psychology Dept. Muhlenberg College

  • Mission Statement:

  • The Psychology Department at Muhlenberg College is a vibrant department with an active faculty and involved students. Through research and coursework, independent theses and informal interactions, the psychology faculty offer students a superior undergraduate experience and strive to fulfill the mission of the college as well as addressing the goals outlined below.


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Psychology Dept. Muhlenberg College:

  • Program Goals: students will…

    • Know the theories, models, and findings of psychology

    • Develop effective writing, speaking, and listening skills

  • Learning Objectives: students can…

    • write a report in APA style

    • make an argument supported by available evidence and reason


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Example: U Arizona Math Dept.

  • http://math.arizona.edu/resources/headoffice/mission.html


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Examples:

  • www.Assessment.gmu.edu/ProgramGoals/index.html

  • Communications: http://www.assessment.gmu.edu/ProgramGoals/CHSS/comm-BA/IGoals.cfm

  • Economics: http://www.assessment.gmu.edu/ProgramGoals/CHSS/econ-BA/IGoals.cfm

  • Art History: http://www.assessment.gmu.edu/ProgramGoals/CHSS/arth-BA/IGoals.cfm


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1. Defining Learning Objectives

  • Use active verbs to describe a behavior that demonstrates learning

  • Identify expected depth of processing

  • Distinguish between absolute and value-added expectations


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Exercise: Learning Objectives

  • Communications students can…

    • speak more effectively when seeking to inform or persuade.

    • analyze material written by others in order to effectively interpret and share that material with an audience.

    • access the information society including basic procedures for effective research, internet access, and writing.


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How to: Top-Down

  • Look at mission statement



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General Education Goals:

  • The goal of an AUP education is ultimately to nurture the development of individuals to become independent thinkers, adaptable lifelong learners, and active contributors to society. Students are encouraged to translate intellectual endeavor into civic responsibility, and to apply the lessons of history to today’s exigencies and those of the future.


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General Education Pillars:

  • I: Knowledge and Perspectives

    • To (examine the influence) of the written word and other media

    • To apply methods that describe, predict, and intervene in the natural and social worlds

  • II: Intellectual skills

    • Speaking & debating effectively in public

    • Working efficiently in teams

  • III: Contexts

  • IV: Creativity and Production


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How to: Bottom-up

  • Look at catalog, syllabi, assignments, & examinations


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How to cont’d

  • Discuss with colleagues the value-added of studying your discipline

  • Describe ideal graduate of program

  • Ask students, alumni, & employers

  • Look at other departments and/or professional associations

  • Look at criteria for acceptance into graduate program


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2. Aligning to curriculum

  • Check whether/when learning objectives are introduced and reinforced

  • More important learning objectives are introduced earlier

  • Summative learning objectives are built into senior projects


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How to: Alignment

  • Alignment matrix (example)

  • Helps identify whether courses and/or learning goals should be adjusted


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Example Alignment Matrix

I = Introduced

P = Practiced

D = Demonstrated


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3. Developing an Assessment Plan

  • Multi-year program

    • Select multiple measures

    • Select sample of students

  • Start small, with areas most competent in

  • Annual report as record of ongoing assessment

  • Assessment plan itself should be continually evaluated



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Examples:

  • http://www.oir.uiuc.edu/assessment/plans/english_department.htm

  • http://programs.weber.edu/assessment/participants/assessment%20plan/physicsap.htm


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4. Collect Assessment Data

  • Want different assessment techniques to triangulate (see handout)

  • Direct (performance) vs. indirect (perception)

  • Collecting student work

    • Writing samples @ diff stages, senior projects

  • Exit & Alumni surveys

  • External evaluators

  • Scoring Rubrics




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