OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT - University of South Florida

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OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT:
Linking Learning, Assessment
and Program Improvement
James O. Carey
Associate Professor Emeritus
School of Information
University of South Florida
ALA Annual Meeting, June 27, 2011
Overview
• What is outcomes assessment?
• Why do outcomes assessment?
• What are the required elements
of outcomes assessment?
• How is an outcomes assessment
process implemented?
• Practical tips for successful
outcomes assessment
• Summary and Conclusions
What is Outcomes Assessment?
3 Characteristics
• Identifying
desired
outcomes
• Assessing
progress on
outcomes
• Using the
results of
assessment for
improvement
Roughly = To:
• Institutional
effectiveness
• Accountability
• Continuous
improvement
• Quality
assurance
• Formative
evaluation
What is Outcomes Assessment?
Continuous process . . .
NEEDS
PLANNING
ASSESSMENT
PROGRAM
. . . instead of an event.
What is Outcomes Assessment?
• At the institutional level
– Institutional effectiveness
– Accountability
• For example:
– The University’s goal is to graduate
80% of entering freshmen in 5 years
– A three-year assessment indicates
graduation rate of 63% in 5 years and
points to financial problems as primary
cause.
– Office of Student Affairs will create a
student services taskforce on
alternative paths to financial viability
What is Outcomes Assessment?
• At the program level
– Accountability
– Outcomes assessment
• For example:
– A departmental objective is relevant job
placement for 85% of graduates within
1 year of graduation
– Surveys of alumni indicate 70% have
found relevant placements in first year
– An initiative is planned to contact
relevant professional constituencies
and develop structured involvement in
the program with regional employers
What is Outcomes Assessment?
• At the program level
– Student Learning outcomes assessment
• Another example:
– A library school wants graduates to be
able to write an action research plan for
a given problem scenario.
– On the comprehensive exam, 18% of
students fail the action research
question and analysis indicates that
most took the course with an adjunct
– The curriculum committee standardizes
the syllabus for the research course and
the pass rate increases
What is Outcomes Assessment?
• At the classroom level
– Student learning outcomes assessment
• For example:
– The instructor wants students to learn
how to analyze service needs for a
specified patron group
– On the final project students
consistently confuse patron needs with
programming alternatives
– The instructor develops new case
studies on analyzing service needs, and
performance on the final project
improves to an acceptable level
What is Outcomes Assessment?
To summarize:
• Has three basic components
• Is part of a whole family of
accountability methodologies
• Goes by many names
• Is used in many organizations in
both public and private sectors
• Is used at many levels within
organizations for multiple
accountability purposes
Our Purpose Today
• Institutional and programmatic
learning outcomes assessment
– For accreditation
– Mandated, unit-level accountability
– Shared responsibility
Rather than
• Course-level outcomes assessment
– For course improvement
– Elective, individual accountability
– Personal responsibility
Our Purpose Today
Focus on:
• Program level accreditation
requirements
• Systematic planning and
evaluation
• Student learning outcomes
assessment
Why Do Outcomes Assessment?
• A systematic process of outcomes
assessment is currently required
for accreditation by:
– ALA Committee on Accreditation
– Parallel professional association
accreditation (e.g., NCATE)
– All eight regional higher education
accreditation organizations
– Most state boards of regents and
departments of education
• A proven methodology for best
results from effort and resources
Overview:
Elements of Outcomes Assessment
Identify Student
Learning Outcomes
Use Results to
Improve Student
Learning
Organize and
Interpret Results of
Assessments
Develop Measures
of Learning
Outcomes
Assess Learning
Outcomes
Identify Student Learning
Outcomes
Use Results to Improve
Student Learning
Organize and Interpret
Results of Assessments
Develop Measures of
Learning Outcomes
Assess Learning Outcomes
Student Learning Outcomes
• What are they?
– Statements describing knowledge and
skills that students are expected to
master by completion of their program
of studies
• Synonyms (sort of):
– Core competencies
– Learning objectives
• Where do we get them?
– Parent institution’s mission, goals, and
strategic objectives
– Unit-level mission, goals, and objectives
Student Learning Outcomes
• Where do we get them? (continued)
– Professional standards
• ALA/COA Standards for Accreditation (2008)
(see Standards I and II)
• ALA Task Force “Core Competencies” (2009)
• ALA divisions and other library/information
professional associations
– Expert faculty members
– Syllabi from core courses
– Program advisory boards, alumni,
employers, practitioners, students
– Exemplary LIS programs
– Futurists
Student Learning Outcomes
• What do they look like?
– Declarative sentences describing what
students will know and be able to do
– Description of a single skill or set of
closely related skills that can be
assessed at the same time
– Performance of the skill(s) should be
observable, or result in an observable
product
– Performance of the skill(s) should be
measurable; i.e., one can determine
when it has been done successfully
Student Learning Outcomes
• How many should we have?
– Don’t go overboard!
– Remember, if you write it you will need to
assess it and report on it.
– Usually 2-5 outcomes for each core
content area are sufficient.
• Write outcomes at a high intellectual level
(analysis and problem solving) that subsumes
multiple sub-skills
• For example:
Students use strategic planning processes to guide
the direction and progress of an organization
VS
Students list the steps in a strategic planning
process
Student Learning Outcomes
Bad Ones:
Good Ones:
• Students appreciate
the value of
professional
organizations
• Students join
relevant
professional
organizations.
• Students become
familiar with needs
assessment for
collection
development
• Students plan a
simulated needs
assessment for a
given collection
development
problem
(observable &measurable)
(observable and measurable)
Student Learning Outcomes
Bad Ones:
Good Ones:
• Students know the
scholarly literature
in the LIS field
• Students select
scholarly literature
appropriate for
analyzing a current
issue in LIS
(observable and measurable)
• Students
understand
principles of fair use
and how to apply
them
• Students describe
principles of fair use
and write policy for
applications in an
information center
(observable and measurable)
Student Learning Outcomes
Bad Ones:
Good Ones:
• Students find
sources of outside
funding for libraries
and information
centers
• Students select a
source of outside
funding and write a
proposal for support
of a project
• Students learn
about cataloging
tools and
bibliographic
utilities
• ?
(higher level skill)
Student Learning Outcomes
Bad Ones:
Good Ones:
• Students list the
features of an
effective reference
interview
• ?
• Students describe
functional areas
within libraries or
information centers
that offer
opportunities for
applied research
• ?
Identify Student Learning
Outcomes
Use Results to Improve
Student Learning
Organize and Interpret
Results of Assessments
Develop Measures of
Learning Outcomes
Assess Learning Outcomes
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• IF learning outcomes have been
written well, logical measures are
often implied
• For example:
Outcome: Students will identify and
assess the specific information
needs of user groups in the
community and use that information
to write a collection development
policy
Measure: Write a collection
development policy for user groups
in the following community scenario
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• Characteristics of good measures
– Valid; that is, actually measures what it
claims to measure
– Reliable; that is, will yield consistent
scores
– Applied uniformly across all students or
sampled across students
– Objective or require consensus of more
than one judge/evaluator/rater
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• Two general types of measures:
– Direct measures (primary data)
Describe the selection and configuration of
technological resources required to solve the
communications problems depicted in the
following case study. (requires a product)
– Indirect measures (supplemental data)
How would you rate your ability to select and
configure technological resources to solve
communications problems?
a.
b.
c.
d.
Not adequate for an entry-level professional
Adequate for an entry-level professional
Above average for an entry-level professional
Equal to an experienced professional
(elicits an opinion)
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• Examples of direct measures
–
–
–
–
Comprehensive examination w/rubric
Portfolio w/rubric
Products from capstone course w/rubric
Observation scale from fieldwork or
internship
– Standardized tests (local, state, or
national)
– Common course examinations
– Licensure examinations
• All examples must conform to
characteristics of good measures
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• Examples of indirect measures
– Exit interviews
– Focus groups with students, alumni,
supervisors, and employers
– Surveys of students, alumni,
supervisors, and employers
– Reviews by advisory boards or councils
– Case studies of cohort groups
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• What about students’ grades in
classes, seminars, capstone courses,
fieldworks, and internships?
NO WAY!
• Can not satisfy the characteristics of
good measures
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• Set performance expectations
– Once measures have been established,
set the levels of performance that will
be considered acceptable or “passing”
– This is an internal “gatekeeping”
function for student progress
– for example:
•
•
•
•
Yes or no; right or wrong; pass or fail
80% correct, 90% correct, 95% correct
Average rating of 4 on a 5 point scale to pass
Students must perform at 4.5 level on critical
criteria #1 and #2, but can pass with an
overall rating of 4.0 averaged across all 5
criteria
Develop Measures of Outcomes
• Practical considerations
– Not a simple task
– Requires a level of sophistication in
testing and measurement
– Requires a committee of the willing
and/or a layer of administration for:
• Design and development of direct measures
• Design and development of indirect measures
• Formative testing and revision of both direct
and indirect measures
Identify Student Learning
Outcomes
Use Results to Improve
Student Learning
Organize and Interpret
Results of Assessments
Develop Measures of
Learning Outcomes
Assess Learning Outcomes
Assess Learning Outcomes
• Developing and carrying out an
assessment plan
• Practical considerations
– Requires a committee of the willing
and/or a layer of administration for:
• Policy, procedures, and calendar for
administration of measures
• Policy, procedures, and calendar for grading
• Policy, procedures, and calendar for notifying
successful students and notifying and
managing unsuccessful students
• Procedures and calendar for recording,
summarizing, and reporting results
Assess Learning Outcomes
• More practical considerations
– It is difficult to measure all student
learning outcomes with a single
instrument in a single event
– Use multiple measures, for example:
• Comprehensive exam and products from
capstone course
• Capstone course products and portfolio
• Portfolio and fieldwork observations
– Sample across outcomes and students,
for example:
• Measure several outcomes in each
comprehensive exam and rotate outcomes
across exams each semester
Identify Student Learning
Outcomes
Use Results to Improve
Student Learning
Organize and Interpret
Results of Assessments
Develop Measures of
Learning Outcomes
Assess Learning Outcomes
Organize and Interpret Results
• Purposes for organizing and
interpreting results
– Confirm satisfactory performance
– Detect performance problems
– Detect faulty assessment instruments
and/or procedures
– Discover opportunities for programmatic
expansion, reorganization, additions,
cuts, and changes in overall direction
– Address accountability expectations for
the parent institution and for
accreditation
– Inform programmatic improvement
Organize and Interpret Results
• Set accountability expectations
• How do we know when the program
is meeting its obligations to its
students, its institution, and its
profession?
• For example:
• 90% of alumni will report “adequate” or
better preparation on 90% of learning
outcomes
• 85% of our students will achieve an average
rating of 4.5 or above on a 5-point scale on
their capstone projects
• 95% of students will rate a “pass” on student
learning outcome #6 on the comps exam
Organize and Interpret Results
• Methods for organizing and
interpreting results
– Matrix analysis is most typical
– Display student learning outcomes by
measurement items and fill in results at
the intersection, for example:
Measure 1
Outcome A
Etc.
Measure 3
85% Pass
Outcome B
Outcome C
Measure 2
94% Pass
63% Pass
72% pass
Etc.
Identify Student Learning
Outcomes
Use Results to Improve
Student Learning
Organize and Interpret
Results of Assessments
Develop Measures of
Learning Outcomes
Assess Learning Outcomes
Use Results for Improvement
• Remember—no need to improve what
is working well!!!
• The dependent variable in this
investigation is student learning
• The independent variables are many!
– Teaching and learning are parts of a
complex system with multiple interacting
components
– Data can point to problems, but cause
and effect relationships are difficult to
establish
Simplified Model of Variables in Teaching and Learning
(See Figure 1 in handout.)
LEARNER
CHARACTERISTICS
LEARNING
ENVIRONMENT
STUDENT LEARNING
OUTCOMES
ASSESSMENT
COURSE
CONTENT
ESSENTIALS FOR
LEARNING:
IMPROVEMENT
MOTIVATION
LEARNING
GUIDANCE
ACTIVE
STUDENT
PARTICIPATION
CONTENT
INTEGRATION
IMPROVEMENT
Use Results for Improvement
• Where would one look among all of
the variables for opportunities for
improving student performance?
– Begin with assessment data
– Look for gaps between performance
expectations and actual performance
– Look for gaps between accountability
expectations and actual performance
– Sharpen understanding of performance
problems with qualitative data
(See Table 1 in handout.)
Practical Tips for Implementation
• Establish authority for outcomes
assessment
A person or committee charged with
managing the process and delegating
assessment responsibilities
• Establish an annual assessment
calendar
(See Table 2 in handout.)
• Establish a uniform reporting format
(See Table 3 in handout.)
Summary and Conclusions
• For good teachers, learning outcomes
assessment is intuitive; good teachers
are always improving what they do
based on the results of what they
have done in the past.
• The challenges:
– Infuse the logic of that “good teacher”
intuition school-wide or department-wide
– Create sustaining policies and
administrative structures
– “How we do it.” instead of “What we do
for accreditation.”
This PowerPoint presentation along
with resource links for outcomes
assessment will be available at:
HTTP://SHELL.CAS.USF.EDU/~JCAREY/OA/
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