State of Assessment Report                            May 27, 2004

Prepared by Jennifer Mihalick, Chair,
Faculty Senate Committee on Assessment of Student Learning

During 2003-2004, eight members from the faculty, one from the academic staff, and an administration liaison, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Curricular Affairs Margaret Genisio, met monthly during the academic year.  A website with reports and examples of assessment plans was maintained by Jennifer Mihalick. 

Status of Program Assessments
Grids showing the status of each program are attached to this report (and also appear on the website). Only a few majors do not yet have an assessment plan:  Athletic Training, Management Information Systems (graduate program), Music Performance, and Religious Studies.  

Once an assessment plan is approved, departments are asked to report to the FSCASL once every two years.  In 2003, 28 programs submitted status reports which were reviewed by committee members.  In addition several programs (including Art and English) consulted committee members on revisions to their assessment plans.  The following programs have not sent status reports in the past three years:  Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Fitness Management, Human Services, Nursing (graduate), and Physical Education Teacher Preparation.

Most programs have been collecting data for several years, and are learning how to interpret the results.  Many have changed their original assessment plans.  More than 50% of the programs report that assessment data have been used to change the curriculum. 

General Education Assessment
The 1995 plan was revised by the committee in order to improve the collection of data for general education courses.  The revised plan appears as an attachment to this document.  Departments teaching general education courses are asked to identify which of the ten broad goals are applicable to their subject, then define more specific learning objectives which can be assessed in their courses.   Instructors are encouraged to use existing course assignments or exams as assessment instruments.  Members of FSCASL will be available to assist with implementation of assessment plans for general education courses, and examples will be added to the FSCASL website.  The Department of English has recently developed an assessment plan for Theme Based Inquiry Seminars.

Assessment of student learning in general education courses is valuable because instructors collect information they can use to improve their courses.  However, the committee members are also interested in assessment of the overall general education program, to provide data for the COLS Curriculum Committee and the Academic Policies Committee's General Education Subcommittee (APGES) which have the responsibility of approving new general education courses.  Some information can be obtained from the "National Survey of Student Engagement" and "Faculty Survey of Student Engagement".  Next academic year the FSCASL will research standardized exams designed to assess student learning in general education, and find a method to ensure that a broad group of students will take such an exam.  Pilot studies at UWO and other institutions have demonstrated that students will not volunteer to take an exam, and that offering incentives such as pizza or bookstore gift certificates is not effective.  Possibilities to be explored include requiring an exam before seniors can register for classes, or making it a graduation requirement (as at UW Green Bay).

Preparation for NCA accreditation

The University's 10 year accreditation review by the North Central Association will take place in 2007.   In March a subcommittee of the FSCASL met Dr. John Taylor, Director of Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality at NCA Higher Learning Commission, to discuss how the University Assessment Plan meets the expectations for accreditation.   He predicted that since the assessment plan has been operating for many years, the evaluators would be most interested in learning if feedback to the curriculum is occurring.  The FSCASL will ask departments to highlight this area in their future reports to the committee. 

Current and former members of FSCASL are on the University's NCA Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Preparation Committee and some of its subcommittees.  Data on student learning collected by FSCASL will be included in the University's self-study document. 

Grids Showing Status of Assessment Plans:

    College of Business Administration
    College of Education and Human Services
    College of Letters and Science
    College of Nursing

back to assessment home page

last updated June 3, 2004