One principle of good assessment practice is assessing outcomes and the experiences that lead to those outcomes.
Therefore, identifying meaningful outcomes and activities about student learning may require faculty, staff, and students to work together. Here are some examples of good practices:
In Dr. Stacey Clare's class, she always asks students about the class in the mid-term. "I use my own evaluations, teaching evaluations from the end of the year, my SSI's, but I also do mid-term evaluations on my own that I, I hand them out in the middle of class. They give them back and I ask them "What's going well for you? What don't you like? How could I improve the class? What is impeding your learning?" I can make changes in real time, and I do that every semester. That student feedback is invaluable to me."
In Dr. Catherine Amoroso Leslie's class, one of the strategies she adopted to learn about students learning progress is monitoring students Blackboard activities. In week 5 and week 10 of each semester, she sends messages to students. "Through Blackboard Learn, I can monitor those students that are participating and those who aren't, and periodically throughout the semester, usually week 5, week 10, I will send a message that says, "I noticed that you're not participating. I encourage you to participate. You have to be in it to win it. I believe in you. Please engage." And students who get the higher grades on the exam, I send a message that says, "Well done, I see it."
Co-curricular assessment has grown steadily at Kent State. Recognizing the importance of data-informed decision making, the Strategic Engagement Task-Force (SET) of the Division of Student Affairs developed an inaugural assessment plan in 2015-2016 that states the value of assessment in Student Affairs and describes the linkage of student learning outcomes and co-curricular activities. After clarifying the assessment process and its value to the Division, goals were established in 2016-2017, coinciding with a review of all departments, units and practices within Student Affairs to ensure the most positive impact on students.
Do you know how Kent State faculty and professional staff determine if students are learning and developing?
The College of Education, Health, and Human Services is using Taskstream (LAT) to track student-level achievement of specific programmatic standards over time across and within all educator preparation programs. Several other programs in this college are utilizing this system to collect data on student learning. Want to learn more?
Dr. Maureen Blankemeyer suggests "when you are coming up with your assignments, STOP, before you decide what assignment and begin with those objectives (learning outcomes)"
Assessment is meaningful when we use the data to inform our work and improve our programs or services.
Special Education, BSE
Faculty from the Special Education, BSE in Mild-Moderate and Moderate-Intensive programs (referred hereinafter as SPED) engaged in a dialogue about assessment data collected for an upcoming accreditation report. SPED faculty reviewed three semester’s worth of assessment data collected using newly developed rubrics. Using a list of questions, the faculty discussed how the curriculum and/or rubrics could be altered to address shortcomings identified through the data.
The Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship
Assessment results from fall of 2014 indicated that students were not achieving quantitative skills commensurate with the target for the learning outcome (students will perform basic calculations using quantitative tools to support business decisions). In response, the Fundamentals of Business Statistics (MIS 24056) course was revised from a large lecture course to a lecture course with labs in Fall 2015. This was designed to provide students with an opportunity to apply learning and receive feedback under guided supervision of an instructor. However, assessments of quantitative skills continued to fall below the college’s target in subsequent years. Starting in Fall 2018, the college addressed the need for improvement through curricular revisions that would now require two analytics courses, one at the sophomore level and one at the junior level. The sophomore level course, Fundamentals of Business Statistics (MIS 24056) was replaced with Business Analytics I. To satisfy the junior level analytics requirement, students will be able to choose from Business Analytics II, Econometrics (required for economics majors), Financial Modeling I and II (required for finance majors), and marketing analytics (required for managerial marketing majors).
Using NSSE data
University-level assessment data are shared with the ACAA, deans, directors, chairs, and other leadership who often request to have more detailed information about their particular students or a group of specific interest to implement change. For example, NSSE results have been used for additional insight when developing retention strategies. Disciplinary differences in scores on Collaborative Learning and Reflective and Integrative Learning are shared with offices such as the Center for Teaching and Learning to facilitate collaboration and planning.
There are so many ways to learn more about assessment! Check this out!
Taskstream AMS (Assessment Tool) Workshops and one-on-one training
Kent State deans, directors, faculty, staff, and administrators are learning how to use Taskstream AMS to report and review their assessment data. As of December 21, 2018 more than 200 participants have learned to use this assessment tool.
Want to learn this assessment tool? Contact our office at AAL Assessment
Assessment Pioneers of 2018 are Leading Assessment Work
Kent State implemented Taskstream by Watermark as part of a comprehensive plan to provide centralized resources for and increase communication about assessment. The academic year of 2017-2018 is the first year assessment reports have been entered into the Taskstream system. These 20 recipients of the Assessment Pioneer Award represent faculty and staff who not only embraced this assessment reporting challenge but often went beyond it by promoting and supporting a culture of assessment in their units through communication, developing educational materials, and providing professional development for their colleagues! Thank you and congratulations!
D. Mark Manley
Mary Ann Raghanti
Kent State Assessment Support Group is Growing
Since July 2018, the Kent State Assessment Support Group has continued to expand. We welcome all members of Kent State who are interested in the assessment of student learning, to join us. In this group, members share challenges and achievements, cultivate strategies and skills, and develop knowledge and expertise in the field of assessment. Contact AAL Assessment and join us today!
At Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) Conference 2019, Sarah Wu (Associate Director of Assessment) and Susan Perry (Assistant Provost) shared the idea of applying "Communities of Practice" to enhance the assessment culture at Kent State University. View their presentation.
Brandon Shields (Assessment and Accreditation Analyst in Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship) and Misty Bennett (Assessment Director at Central Michigan University) shared best practices for engaging faculty, methods to help students understand their performance on Assurance of Learning assessment, and how Assurance of Learning results can positively impact future courses and curriculum.
As business schools face pressures to demonstrate the value of faculty research in addressing societal problems, Brandon Shields (Assessment and Accreditation Analyst in Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship) has been leveraging the Digital Measures platform to meet the accreditation needs. His experiences and strategies were shared in 2019 Watermark webinar.
At Watermark Engage 2018 Conference, Erica Eckert (Assistant Dean for Assessment and Accreditation and an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Services) and Courtney Marsden (Assessment and Accreditation Coordinator) discussed two structured activities used at Kent State to migrate assessment to Taskstream by Watermark. They reviewed an activity that can be used by academic and student affairs programs to clarify and explore how outcomes are structured across learning opportunities and assessments. They also walk through a process that can be used with large and small programs/institutions, and repeated over time.
At American Evaluation Association Conference 2018, Yi-Chin (Sarah) Wu (Associate Director of Assessment in the Office of Accreditation, Assessment and Learning) shared Kent State Assessment Support Group practice. She presented the purpose, mission, values, and strategies of assessment engagement.