If the Middle States' visiting team of 24th September 2010 has taught us anything, it may be that teaching matters and so does assessment of teaching! The team's report suggests the following to me:
(a) a need for an immediate change in our habits and assessment of student learning, (b) a need for faculty to take ownership of the assessment of teaching,
(c) a need for appropriate software to collect and analyze assessment data, and
(d) a need for an internal Middle-States type of assessment committee that will do what the external one (from Middle States) has done, i.e. evaluate our assessment efforts and make appropriate recommendations.
QUESTION: What did you get from the Middle States visit of 24th September 2010?
SUGGESTION: Look at Middle States' standards and guidelines on assessment and indicate whether you agree with the visiting team's report (that we are not in compliance with standard 14) and indicate why (you agree or disagree).
1. See Faculty Meeting Minutes of 29th April 2008 for my original proposal for assessment
We should (1) stop doing what we have been doing about assessment or significantly improve upon it, and (2) immediately implement the Middle States evaluation team's suggestions and recommendations on assessment. Example for Consideration: Each instructor may, accordingly, design a simple test of student learning outcomes which could be electronically scored or graded and automatically processed and analyzed for program, department, school and university characteristics and recommendations. Thus, in addition to submitting a gradesheet at the end of each semester, each instructor can turn in an assessment sheet or report at the end of each semester (after grades have been submitted). – Safro Kwame, 4/29/08
2. See Faculty Meeting Minutes of 3rd February 2009 for my follow-up proposal for assessment
In a simple and easy way, (a) Middle States wants faculty to regularly assess some or a few of the goals and objectives of courses and programs, apart from the courses and students themselves, (b) share and discuss the results, and (c) implement changes resulting from the assessment and discussion.
An Example: One Type of Assessment:
1. Select 2 or 3 of your most important goals or objectives. Make sure they are (easily) measurable.
2. Set 2 or 3 questions specifically for each goal or objective.
3. Get students to answer the questions.
4. Find an easy, e.g. automatic or electronic, way to score the answers to the questions and analyze the results; e.g. by using assessment software such as Exam View or getting IT to acquire and administer appropriate software.
5. Discuss the results with your colleagues and, preferably electronically, forward the results and recommendations (which may include changes) to your supervisor and/or central coordinating unit which could be IR, Chairperson, Dean, or VP.
6. Make appropriate changes, e.g. to your syllabus, examination or content or delivery of course, as a result of your assessment of learning goals and objectives.
Note: You need (a) software to create, score, analyze, forward and collate assessment, and (b) personnel to support or assist in creating, scoring, analyzing and processing assessment. Consult IT, IR and VP. – Safro Kwame, 2/3/09
3. See News Report on the Need for Assessment Software:
New Software Aids in Assessment, The Chronicle Vol. 53, Issue 30, Page A37 3/30/2007 By Dan Carnevale
Facing greater demands for accountability, colleges turn to technology to analyze mounds of data. Richmond, Va. The last time Virginia Commonwealth University had to prepare for an accreditation review, officials here found themselves overwhelmed with data. The university's accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, was asking for more information than ever before about how much students were learning: grades, test scores, written evaluations, and other measures. Much of that information was scattered throughout the institution - kept in computer files and storage drawers. So Jean M. Yerian, then the director of assessment, led the development of a computer program that would organize and analyze all the assessments of students being done on the campus. The computer program, dubbed Weave, not only helped the university satisfy its accreditors, but also appealed to other colleges, which wanted to use it to prepare for their own accreditation reviews. "We started out as solving our own problem and ended up developing something that can help others as well," says Ms. Yerian. Last year Virginia Commonwealth spun off the project as an independent company called WeaveOnline. Ms. Yerian resigned her post at the university last month to become director of assessment management for the company, which has already attracted more than 40 colleges as clients. Supply is slowly meeting the demand. Companies such as Blackboard, Desire2Learn, and Datatel have developed software that helps conduct institutional assessments. Other companies, such as Oracle and eCollege, have plans to jump into the game as well.
Caribbean University Selects Blackboard Outcomes System to Assess Student Learning
Dec 11, 2007 University Is First in Latin America to Implement Comprehensive Institutional Assessment to Meet Accreditation Standards PHILADELPHIA During the annual conference of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Blackboard Inc., a leading provider of enterprise education software and services, announced that Caribbean University in Puerto Rico has selected the Blackboard Outcomes System(TM) to assess student learning across its system of four campuses, and plan for and measure continuous improvement in institutional effectiveness, to help continue to meet the rigorous accreditation standards set by the Commission.
WEAVEonline is a web-based assessment system that helps you to manage accreditation, assessment and quality improvement processes for your college or university.
The Blackboard Outcomes System helps institutions efficiently meet the demand for increased accountability and drive academic improvement with evidence-based decisions. The Blackboard Outcomes System makes planning and assessment easier and evidence-based.
The TrueOutcomes Assessment Manager is a complete, web-based solution that facilitates every aspect of Learning Outcomes Management from assigning, assessing, and tracking to analyzing and making evidence-based decisions to improve student learning outcomes and facilitate continuous improvement.
eLumen Achievement is an information system for managing a college's attention to student achievements, learning outcomes and education results. It is specifically designed to facilitate authentic assessment processes that are faculty-driven, student learning-centered, standards-based, and (now, with eLumen) system-supported.
Tk20 provides comprehensive outcomes assessment systems that let you collect all your data systematically, plan your assessments, compare them against specified outcomes/objectives, and generate detailed reports for compliance, analysis, and program improvement. A leader in assessment, Tk20 offers a complete set of tools for managing outcomes-based assessment and measurement of student learning as well as institutional activities such as program improvement, curriculum mapping, institutional effectiveness, and reporting.