The ultimate goal of program assessment is to use assessment results to inform effective teaching and learning. In order to do that, faculty collectively consider assessment and the curriculum. Many approaches exist to do this. Some programs set aside a regular time during faculty meetings to discuss assessment, while other programs have an annual retreat with assessment as the only item on the agenda. Faculty in the Human Development (HD) program recently met to discuss program assessment using a rotating discussion process that others might find useful.
Prior to the meeting, HD faculty had access to the annual assessment report submitted to ATL and an internal four-year report of assessment data collected. To begin the meeting, the assessment coordinator presented a PowerPoint summarizing the assessment process and results and answered any questions. Then faculty broke into groups of four at each site (Pullman and Vancouver). Large sheets of paper were hanging on the wall. One question was written on each sheet:
- Are the learning outcomes appropriate? Should any be added? Deleted?
- What are strengths and weaknesses of the measures?
- Is the percentage of students who meet expectations for writing and oral presentations acceptable? What do you think this percentage should be?
- What are your ideas for improving the response rate for the end of program survey?
Each group started off with one question and wrote responses on the sheet for five to six minutes then rotated to the next sheet/question, adding their responses to the last on the sheet. Printed copies of the assessment reports were available at each station for reference. After rotating through each question, the small groups came back together and the larger group reviewed and discussed contributions from both campuses. They ended the meeting by summarizing intended next steps.
This process resulted in several significant findings and action. Regarding their student learning outcome for written communication, faculty determined that the percentage of students reaching “met expectations” on the departmental rubric used to review papers in a core senior course was not high enough. They decided that more writing scaffolding was needed throughout the program. The assessment results helped inform a curriculum revision proposal that involves reorganization of some aspects of the program, the addition of new courses, deletion of some existing courses, and greater alignment of the program on all three campuses (Global, Pullman, & Vancouver). The assessment and discussion results also helped inform further refinement of the departmental assessment processes.
For further tips about meeting facilitation or for help with how to summarize and present assessment results for a faculty meeting, contact an ATL assessment specialist.