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Sam Houston State University’s Online Assessment Tracking Database (OAT Db). Institutional Research & Assessment (IRA) Office Jeff Roberts, Assessment Coordinator Rita Caso, Ph.D., Director Information Technology (IT) – Web Development Group Colt Ramsden, Lead Programmer

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sam houston state university s online assessment tracking database oat db

Sam Houston State University’s Online Assessment Tracking Database (OAT Db)

  • Institutional Research & Assessment (IRA) Office
    • Jeff Roberts, Assessment Coordinator
    • Rita Caso, Ph.D., Director
  • Information Technology (IT) – Web Development Group
    • Colt Ramsden, Lead Programmer
    • Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
    • Mitchell Muehsam, Ph.D., Associate Vice President & SACS Liaison
what is the oat db
What is the OAT Db?

OAT Db stands for “Online Assessment Tracking Database,” a 24/7 web-based application for collecting, managing, storing and viewing academic and non-academic assessment information from all university units.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

history of the oat db
History of the OAT Db
  • Fall ‘05
    • New SHSU Institutional Research & Assessment (IRA) Director begins drafting designs for web-accessible assessment planning and documentation tools.
  • Winter ‘05-’06
    • Anticipating 2009 SACS reaffirmation, Academic Affairs Assoc. V.P. (SACS Liaison) endorses investigation of commercial, online assessment applications.
    • Interim Action: With Advisory Committee approval, IRA Director develops & distributes standardized template for prompting, organizing, documenting & collecting yearly outcomes assessments from all units, using Blackboard.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

history of the oat db1
History of the OAT Db
  • Spring ‘06
    • SHSU IT Web Development (Web Dev) Supervisor reviews and evaluates WEAVEonline with IRA Director
      • Data maintained off campus
      • Specific feature and function limitations (at that time)
      • Start-up fee & yearly fee
    • SHSU IT Web Dev Team recommends local development of online assessment-tracking database application, and projects optimistic timeline
    • With support and input from the SACS Liaison/Assoc. VP for Academic Affairs & IRA Director, SHSU Web Dev Team begin to develop OAT Db (Interim assessment template on Blackboard provides guide )

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

history of the oat db2
History of the OAT Db
  • Fall-Winter ‘06-’07
    • Revisions of OAT DB interface by Web Dev Team with intensive input from SACS Liaison/ Assoc. VP Academic Affairs and IRA Director
    • IRA conducts focus-group testing of Beta OAT Db
  • March ‘07
    • Group training sessions for every major university unit, by IRA
      • Session 1: Introduction & overview of assessment bare-essentials and OAT DB (12-40 people per event)
      • Session 2 & 3: Hands-on computer lab training on use of OAT Db and essentials of assessment planning, implementation & documentation (8-15 people per event)
    • The OAT Db is opened for use by entire campus community
      • IRA provides continuing individual and small-group hands-on training, coaching, and review, on demand and as needed.
      • Web Dev responds to technical problems on demand, through IRA liaisons

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

why locally developed oat db
Why Locally Developed OAT Db?
  • Easy, assured access to data over years
    • All the data entered is stored in our databases, rather than elsewhere
    • No yearly fees
  • Application Support and Improvements
    • Local Development team can provide better support
    • Local Development team can continue to custom-modify and improve the application over time as needed

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

what does oat db collect
What does OAT Db collect?
  • Key Elements of each unit’s assessment process
    • Goals (for each unit)
    • Outcome Objectives (Learning & Performance)
    • Indicators
    • Criteria for satisfying Objectives
    • Findings & Conclusions (Results of Assessment)
    • Actions (based upon Findings & Conclusions)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

oat db elements
OAT Db Elements
  • Goals
    • The unit’s broadly stated intentions, aspirations, or ambitions.
  • Objectives
    • Unit’s specifically stated, desired outcomes -- related to one or more of the entered goals.
      • All objectives must be measurable.
  • Indicators
    • Specific, observable and measurable evidence of whether or not an objective was achieved or satisfied. Related to a particular objective

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

oat db elements1
OAT Db Elements
  • Criteria
    • Specific, predetermined targets, standards, or benchmarks for a particular Indicator that must be met in order to indicate success
      • Determined prior to the collection of data.
  • Findings
    • Related to a specific Criterion, these are the results or conclusions derived from the assessment process.
  • Actions
    • Specific actions taken in response to the Findings, in relation to a single Objective.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

what does it do
What does it do?
  • Prompts input & editing of useful assessment information
  • Organizes & relates information (across assessment Elements & across Levels of related units)
  • Stores (across years)
  • Retrieves and reports (across years)
  • Encourages learning & sharing assessment procedures across units
  • “Rolls” previous reporting period’s Goals, Objectives, Indicators & Criteria into new reporting period, on demand

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

who uses oat db
Who Uses OAT DB?
  • Everyone with SHSU computer account I.D. has viewing access to all information in OAT DB
  • Units designate authorized person to input and edit information for the unit
  • Every academic & non-academic unit documents its assessment information
  • IRA can provide targeted assessment coaching to units through OAT DB
  • External reviewers and guests use special I.D.s for OAT DB viewing access

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

how is oat db used
How is OAT DB Used?
  • SACS reaffirmation process
  • Professional and disciplinary accreditation processes
  • Regular internal planning, accountability-tracking & reporting , i.e.,
    • Provides indicators, targets & outcomes for President’s Performance Indicator Reports
    • Informs University Strategic Planning
  • Documenting periodic and continuous self-assessment for unit improvement & justification of change
  • Assessment and evaluation of research & intervention projects (internally or externally funded)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

technical aspects of the oat db
Technical Aspects of the OAT Db
  • Written in PHP scripting language
  • Written using PDO in PHP, which is an abstraction layer for a variety of different relational databases
  • Currently working with MIMER DB
    • Can work with variety of relational DBs such as as Oracle, SQL, mySQL, etc.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

technical aspects of the oat db1
Technical Aspects of the OAT Db
  • Minor integration into University’s “SamWeb”
    • Program is designed so that it can work without it
  • Plug-in design for all actions (e.g. "Add Indicator")
    • Additional "plug-ins" can be developed and linked to within the OAT Db with little effort
  • Built-in ability to store assessment data for multiple institutions
    • Terminology customizable for each institution

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

introduction to oat db screen
Introduction to OAT Db (screen)

(The next 4 slides will explain this screen)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

levels in the oat db
Levels in the OAT Db
  • Levels define the “familial” standing of units in relation to each other
    • i.e., College is Parent to its Departments.
    • Department is Parent to all of its Degree Programs, which are siblings to each other
    • Degree Programs are Children of the Department and Grandchildren of the College

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

levels in the oat db1
Levels in the OAT Db
  • Users enter unit information in their own specific levels, but Parent and Grandparent units may edit their Children’s and Grandchildren’s information
    • Users see links to their Parent and Child levels on their main OAT Db page
    • Goals of Child-Level units should reflect the goals of their Parent, or Grandparents
    • Objectives of Child-Level units should reflect their own or their Parent, or Grandparents’ goals

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

accessing oat db screen
Accessing OAT DB(screen)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

accessing oat db screen1
Accessing OAT DB(screen)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

entering information into oat db
Entering Information Into OAT Db
  • 24/7 Access from link on SHSU main web page with SHSU’s universal login ID
  • Users authorized to input, revise & delete unit information are recognized by their SHSU login ID.
  • Parent-level users authorized to edit Child-level programs are recognized by their SHSU login ID

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

starting page for oat db unit input screen
Starting page for OAT Db unit input(screen)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

inputting a new objective screen
Inputting a new Objective (screen)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

inputting a new objective screen1
Inputting a new Objective (screen)

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

entering information into the oat db
Entering Information Into the OAT Db
  • Input unit assessment information into each Element of the OAT Db by clicking active links and using drop-boxes
  • Each Element is linked with previous elements
  • Supporting documents can be uploaded and attached to Indicators, Criteria, Findings, and Actions.
    • i.e., Sample Surveys; Reports; Writing Samples; Student Test Samples; Scoring Rubrics; Sample Portfolios; Sample Videos or Sound Recordings; Meeting Minutes, etc.
  • At any time, authorized users can edit, modify, or delete any information they have entered.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

objective centered assessment documentation
Objective-centered assessment documentation
  • Objective-centered approach to assessment tracking
    • Every Objective must be related to one or more Goals, and must have at least one associated Indicator, Criteria, Finding, and Action.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

learning outcome objectives vs performance outcome objectives
Learning Outcome Objectives vs. Performance Outcome Objectives
  • The OAT Db captures assessment information for both Learning Outcomes Objectives and Performance Outcome Objectives.
    • Assessing either type of outcome objective is about observing and measuring the desired impact.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

learning outcome
Learning Outcome
  • A desired behavior, knowledge, or attitude that someone will be able to demonstrate as a result of activities intended to promote learning
    • Most often associated with intentional instructional experiences offered by academic programs
    • Not exclusive to academics
    • Non-academic programs have learning outcome objectives re. staff development, client or community development, and advisement

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

performance outcome
Performance Outcome
  • A particular achievement, or level of attainment in operations that an office, department or program expects to accomplish
    • Most often associated with efficiency or productivity levels by which administrative and support services seek to improve processes, products and services.
    • Underlying purpose to improve infrastructure or operations that help make it possible for university mission to succeed.

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

common pitfalls for oat db users
Common pitfalls for OAT Db users
  • Insufficient familiarity with outcome assessment
    • Trouble distinguishing between Goals and outcome Objectives
    • Difficulty specifying Indicators for outcome Objectives
    • Difficulty pre-specifying Criteria
  • Insufficient understanding of need for outcome Indicators measures to be..
    • Consistent
    • Replicable, beyond the judgment of a single instructor
    • Recognizable to professional peers
  • Confusion about use of class-embedded student assessments as measurements & indicators of learning outcome Objectives

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

oat db work in progress
OAT Db Work-in-Progress

Coming soon

  • Automated reports and searches

To be scheduled

  • Customizable reports and searches

Under consideration

  • Additional input and storage fields for..
    • Introductory unit descriptiosn
    • Descriptions of HOW learning and performance outcome Objectives will be achieved

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

hurdles
Hurdles
  • Remaining unfamiliarity with good assessment processes and good practices in assessment documentation among SHSU units
  • Residual resistance to using OAT DB
    • Some negative technical experiences with early OAT Db
    • Some infrequent technical problems with current OAT Db
    • Some resistance to standardized documentation of assessment information
  • Competition for local development resources make additional OAT Db progress slower than wished

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Increased awareness of assessment’s role in quality management and improvement efforts
  • More involvement in assessment and its documentation across all university units
  • Information about the assessment activities of university units is much more accessible
  • Assessment processes and their documentation are much more consistent
  • OAT Db users are more knowledgeable about the goals, objectives and assessment efforts of other units in the university

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

contact information
Contact Information
  • Mitchell Muehsam, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs
  • M. Rita Caso, PhD, Director, Institutional Research & Assessment
  • Jeff L Roberts, Assessment Coordinator , Institutional Research & Assessment
  • Colt T Ramsden, Analyst , SHSU IT/Web Development

TAIR 2008 Conference, 2/5-6/08

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