Assessment 101: Back-to-Basics An Introduction to Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Overview Topics and Goals of Workshop Definitions of Assessment Benefits of Assessment Assessment Myths and Misconceptions Essential Components of an Assessment Plan Basic Steps in Implementing Assessment Guidelines for Good Assessment Practice Assessment Resources Definitions of Assessment A Background Knowledge Probe How would you define assessment? (origins of your personal definition?) What words comes to mind when you hear the term ‘assessment’? What benefits could you foresee in undertaking assessment? What concerns or misgivings do you have about assessment? Definitions of Assessment A Formal Working Definition (AAHE, ‘95) Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the results to document, explain, and improve learning and performance Definitions of Assessment (key underlying questions) What do you expect students to know, to be able to do, and to value as a result of completing your program? Do your students know, do, and value these things--are they learning what you want them to learn (and how do you determine this)? If they do NOT know, do, and value these things, how could your program be changed to improve their learning? Definitions of Assessment A Glossary of Related Terms Measurement Assessment Assessment as Process, as Description Evaluation Other Key Terms and Distinctions Goals, Objectives, Outcomes Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Direct vs. Indirect Measures of Learning Program Assessment, Program Evaluation The Benefits of Assessment (To the Key Stakeholders in the Process) To accreditation commissions & state legislators… To administrators... (admissions, career services, curriculum and educational policy, development, marketing, retention) To faculty members… To graduate training programs and employers... To parents… To students… (prospective, current, exiting, alumni) The Benefits of Assessment (What’s in it for Faculty Members?) Helps us focus our collective attention & examine our assumptions Helps us better understand what is taught and learned at various points in the curriculum Helps create a shared culture dedicated to assuring/improving the quality of higher education Reduces unnecessary duplication of teaching efforts; unnecessary time in and outside classroom Better equips us to hold students accountable for prior educational experiences Assessment Myths and Misconceptions It’s a Passing Fad It’s Not My Job or Concern You Can’t Assess What We Do in Academe I Already Assess, I Call it ‘Grading’ I Don’t Have the Time to Do Assessment I Don’t Have the Expertise to Do Assessment Assessment Might Reveal “Bad” News Essential Components of an Assessment Plan Goals, Objectives, Intended Outcomes Methods,Techniques,Target Groups Time Line Provisions for Administration of Plan Provisions for Use/Sharing of Findings Evaluation of the Assessment Program Basic Steps in Assessment (What to do and when to do it) State the broad educational purposes and goals of your program Specify objectives and intended learning outcomes Select appropriate methods, establish criteria Gather assessment data Interpret findings and report to audiences Identify and implement strategies for change Revise assessment objectives, criteria, and methods, etc., as appropriate Basic Steps in Assessment: Preliminary Questions What “unit(s)” are you assessing? Major, minor, general education program, specific area/course What is the mission of the (program)? Catalog lists institutional mission and goals Catalog may reveal program mission and goals Consult specific national organization Consult with program colleagues Who is your audience? How will findings be used? NCA, Faculty,Parents/Students, Committee Guidelines for Good Practice What NCA Evaluators Expect Links to Mission, Goals, Objectives Involvement of All Segments of Campus Multiple Measures; Assessment of Cognitive, Behavioral, Affective Domains of Learning Evidence of Use in Improving Programs Ongoing Assessment & Re-Evaluation of Assessment Program Link Assessment to Planning/Budgeting Process Guidelines for Good Practice Some Final Words of Wisdom Choose 3-5 objectives to drive assessment Choose methods wisely Pilot test Assess only what you intend to use Assess at key decision points Make appropriate use of existing resources Keep it simple Assessment Resources Books Palomba, C.A. & Banta, T.W. (1999). Assessment Essentials, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Nichols, J. O. (1995). The departmental guide and record book for student outcomes assessment and institutional effectiveness. New York: Agathon Press. Banta, T.W., et al. (1996). Assessment in Practice. San Francisco, Jossey-Bass. Web Sites http://www2.acs.ncsu.edu/UPA/survey/resource.htm http://www.siue.com/~deder/assess/ Local Resources Need Help? On Which Topic(s)?: Check all that apply Involving/Motivating Faculty, Staff, and/or Students Developing Broad Program Purposes and Goals Developing Objectives and Intended Learning Outcomes Methods of Assessment and Criteria for Success General Guidelines For Selecting Measures Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Methods Choice & Implementation of a Specific Method Analysis and Interpretation of Assessment Findings Means of Reporting and Using Assessment Information Other (Development of Timelines, Administrative Provisions) Optional (Name or Program: ) Concluding Remarks: One-Minute paper What is the most important thing you learned today about assessment? What remains most unclear or confusing to you about assessment at this point?