Office of Assessment & Institutional Effectiveness
Assessment is "a rich conversation about student learning informed by data"
(Theodore Marchese quote adapted from Banta, T. W. in 'Developing Assessment Methods at
Classroom, Unit and University-Wide Levels' )
Guidelines for Creating Effective Surveys
Frequently, assessment includes collecting direct and indirect information to provide a more in-depth analysis of program or unit effectiveness. Indirect results are commonly collected via surveying alumni as well as current students. Writing effective surveys is an important consideration when expanding assessment to include indirect data. Qualtrics Survey Software has published a list of the "Top 10" Rules for writing surveys that prove helpful for new or experienced survey writers alike. Click here.
“Within institutional effectiveness, departments (academic and nonacademic) are free to stretch themselves to the limit and to attempt innovative approaches to provide services without fear of failure. Within institutional effectiveness, departments are not held accountable for failure or success, only for having in place a process for stating outcomes, measuring accomplishments, and using the results to improve programming.” ~ James O. Nichols (2008)
Administrative Assessment Handbook (2008) – James O. Nichols
The purpose of this handbook is to provide department heads and staff with a framework for developing an assessment plan, with the purpose of improving the administrative unit. Chapter 1 provides an overview of assessment, specifically administrative unit assessment. Guidelines and suggestions for planning for assessment are provided in Chapter 2. Methods that can be used to assist the department in developing its goals are included in Chapter 3. Chapter 4 is devoted to the development of student and operational outcomes and includes a checklist and a preparation form to aid those involved in the assessment process. An inventory of assessment tools, methods, and techniques are detailed in Chapter 5.
Assessment Bibliographes and Booklists
Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) provides a current and comprehensive resource page on assessment. Resources may be searched by category of special interests in addition to assessment publications, guides and campus practices. http://www.aacu.org/resources/assessment/index.cfm.
The AAC&U VALUE rubrics contain the most common and broadly shared criteria or core characteristics considered critical for judging the quality of student work in 15 outcome areas including problem solving, critical thinking, quantitative literacy, teamwork, etc. Users may complete a one-time short survey to access the VALUE rubrics, which can be downloaded as PDFs. http://www.aacu.org/core_commitments/value.cfm
Developing Student Learning Outcomes
The University of Texas at Austin Teaching and Learning Center provides guidelines and tips on creating effective student learning outcomes. Examples are provided as well as a checklist and essential outcome components. The information is helpful to those developing new learning outcomes or to those interested in strengthening their supporting evidence that current outcomes are task specific, measurable, student-oriented and align with the program mission statement. http://www.utexas.edu/academic/ctl/assessment/outcomes-writing.php
Authentic Assessment Toolbox
John Mueller explores the process and rational for an alternative (authentic) model of assessment in his article Authentic Assessment Toolbox for Higher Ed Faculty. Mueller provides examples of students performing 'real-world tasks' that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills. Mueller also describes how to construct such authentic assessments to improve student learning within any academic program.
The Authentic Assessment Toolbox website provides excellent examples of using student portfolios for assessment. http://jonathan.mueller.faculty.noctrl.edu/toolbox/index.htm
Developing Assessment Methods at Classroom, Unit and University-Wide Levels
Trudy Banta presents a comprehensive review on the definitions of outcomes assessment, characteristics of effective assessment and using assessment findings. The paper also provides practical guidelines for involving stakeholders in assessment. The rationale to include both direct and indirect measures in good assessment practices is discussed along with examples of each measurement type. Additionally, learning outcome action verbs that reflect higher order thinking skills using Bloom’s Taxonomy provide the reader with information that may be adapted to any academic program or co-curricular program. Banta paper
Course Grades and Course Embedded Assessment
Educational Support Service Unit Assessment Tips
"Creating a Culture of Evidence"
ETS Releases Third White Paper on Creating a Culture of Evidence
In 2006, the nation turned its attention to accountability in higher education. As a leader in educational research and measurement, ETS added to the dialogue by examining the general topic of student learning outcomes. This examination resulted in a series of 3 Culture of Evidence reports in which ETS researchers identified the key issues of accountability and surveyed current practices in assessing student learning. The report series is available on line at www.ets.org/cultureofevidence.
A Culture of Evidence: An Evidence-Centered Approach to Accountability for Student Learning Outcomes
ETS researchers developed a framework to improve, revise and introduce comprehensive systems for the collection and dissemination of information on student learning outcomes. This report presents a practical approach to help the educational community meet the call for accountability while respecting the diverse attributes of students, faculty and the institutions themselves. (Catherine M. Millett, David G. Payne, Carol A. Dwyer, Leslie M. Stickler and Jon J. Alexiou, 2008.)
A Culture of Evidence: Critical Features of Assessments for Postsecondary Student Learning
To provide higher education stakeholders with a greater understanding of current assessment tools, ETS researchers take a detailed look at available measurements in this “30,000 foot” overview. (Carol A. Dwyer, Catherine M. Millett and David G. Payne, 2007.)
A Culture of Evidence: Postsecondary Assessment and Learning Outcomes
To address the dearth of empirical data on student learning in higher education, ETS researchers provide an overview of the assessment landscape to outline accountability models and metrics used in higher education. (Carol A. Dwyer, Catherine M. Millett and David G. Payne, 2006.)
Sample Rubric Templates
Qualtrics Survey Software has published a list of the "Top 10" Rules for writing surveys that prove helpful for new or experienced survey writers alike. Click here.