State of Assessment Report                            May 2, 2005

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

During 2004-2005, eight members from the faculty, one from the academic staff, a student representative of OSA, and an administration liaison, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Curricular Affairs Margaret Genisio, met monthly during the academic year.  Todd Borgerding was chair during the fall semester and Jennifer Mihalick was chair during the spring semester.  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).  This year plans were approved for new graduate programs in Management Information Systems and Social Work, and the committee is working with the new Athletic Training program on revisions to their plan.  Only the majors in Music Performance and Religious Studies do not have any assessment plans.

The grids have been expanded to show that departments are in many different stages with assessment and curriculum revision.  Most departments have collected and evaluated assessment data; many have used those data to revise their curriculum; and a few have been able to collect enough data after a revision to judge the impact of the curriculum change on student learning.

Once an assessment plan is approved, departments are asked to report to the FSCASL once every two years.  In 2004, 9 programs submitted status reports which were reviewed by committee members.  Several programs also consulted committee members on revisions to their assessment plans.  The rest of the programs should submit updates in summer 2005.  The following programs have not sent status reports in the past three years:  Art, Bachelor of Liberal Studies, Educational Leadership, English, Human Services, Nursing (graduate), Psychology (graduate), Public Administration (graduate), and Special Education.

Status of General Education Assessment
The plan for General Education Assessment was revised in 2003-2004.   As a result of this, new information was requested from departments.  In October 2004, each department teaching general education courses was asked to identify which of the University’s ten broad goals are applicable to their subject, then define more specific learning objectives to be assessed in their courses.  To date 18 COLS departments that offer general education courses (2/3 of the total) have submitted these reports.   To continue the process, every two years each department will be asked to report on the tools used to assess student learning and to summarize the results of the assessment.

The addition of classroom response systems to large lecture halls has created a convenient way to collect data on student learning.  This should be particularly useful in general education courses.  Several members of the FSCASL have adopted the system for their classes and will be able to provide examples of how to add this tool to an assessment plan.

The Committee members reviewed available standardized exams which would provide feedback on the overall design of the general education program. The Academic Profile, produced by Educational Testing Services, was determined to have the best match to the University’s ten goals for general education.  The Department of English agreed to assist by requiring the exam in a selection of their Advanced Composition courses.  Those courses must be taken by all students after they have earned 60 credits, so are often the last general education requirement to be completed. 

The committee agreed with the English faculty that students should receive information about the value of these examinations.  The FSCASL will provide a description of the purpose of assessment and its potential use in improving the curriculum. The committee will consult Career Services about how information on proficiency in reading, writing, critical thinking and math could be valuable in career planning.  

Preparation for NCA Accreditation
In 2007 the North Central Association will decide if the University should be reaccredited for another 10 years.  Criterion Three (out of five) deals with student learning.  To meet this criterion, the University must collect evidence of student learning. Much of the data will come from the files the FSCASL has compiled over the last ten years.  Several current and former members of FSCASL are on the University's NCA Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Preparation Committee and some of its subcommittees.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Initiative
Assessment of student learning is a key feature of many projects developed under the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) initiative.  As this program develops we will cooperate on development of and training in assessment tools and strategies. 

Grids Showing Status of Assessment Plans:

General Education

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

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last updated May 2, 2005