What We Do
The Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness (ACE) at WSU works with colleges and programs to assess student learning towards the improvement of undergraduate academic programs.
ACE supports WSU faculty and leadership in developing and implementing meaningful and sustainable program-level assessment systems. Program faculty use their assessment system to collect evidence related to student achievement of learning outcomes, which informs decisions about the design and delivery of high quality undergraduate curricula.
Assessment is the process of collecting and analyzing information to determine if progress is being made toward a desired end. While this broad definition is applicable to a range of goals and contexts, ACE supports the assessment of student learning outcomes in the context of undergraduate academic programs at WSU. Program-level student learning outcomes assessment, specifically, is a process of faculty identifying what students should be able to do and know by the end of an academic program, measuring progress toward meeting these learning outcomes, and using that information to inform decision-making about teaching, learning, and curricula.
In line with WSU’s land-grant ideals, ACE values inclusive excellence and wide access to quality educational programs. ACE strongly values faculty voice and expertise; as a university-wide resource, we are partners in the shared aim of providing all undergraduates with the best possible academic experience. We strive to promote educational experiences and assessment practices that authentically document what students know and can do, bringing an equity lens to interpretation of data and use of results. In addition, ACE values improvement through continuous self-study and evaluation consistent with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), WSU’s regional accreditor, as assessment allows programs to examine matters of vital interest, including curriculum design, instructional practices, and student development.
Reporting to the Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement, ACE’s primary focus is in supporting degree programs on assessment of student learning. In our primary role, we:
- Work with faculty assessment coordinators to develop plans, tools, and processes to assess student learning in their degree program, including learning achievement of majors near the end of the curriculum
- Provide assessment resources, including good practices in learning outcomes assessment and related faculty professional development
- On partner projects, help optimize assessment tools and data collection, and analyze and report results for interpretation by faculty
- Help faculty better understand and use assessment, including use of program and institutional data, to inform decisions about curriculum and instruction
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ACE also provides assessment support for WSU undergraduate education more broadly, managing general education (UCORE) assessment, annual program assessment reporting, and other projects for the Vice Provost. In this role, we:
- Design, manage, and support assessment for general education (UCORE), coordinating with the UCORE Director
- Manage annual undergraduate program assessment reporting and provide summaries for college and university leadership
- Lead WSU’s planning and participation in the National Survey of Student Engagement (coordinating with the Office of Institutional Research) and produce reports for colleges, programs, and UCORE
- Analyze data from multiple sources to meet emerging needs for aggregated and disaggregated data on student learning, academic achievement, and equity
- Work with colleges and leadership to develop policies and infrastructure to sustain assessment