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Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

WSU EPPM Updated to Recognize Value of Program Assessment

Faculty Senate recently approved an update to university-wide assessment policy, making more explicit the value of genuine assessment of student learning, as a way to identify areas of weakness, as well as strengths, and help guide program improvement. The statement, added to the Educational Policies and Procedures Manual (EPPM, Section 11.4), also specifies that assessment results will not be used punitively against individuals or programs, or used alone for high stakes decisions. » More …

Sample Reflective Questions for Undergraduate Degree Program Assessment for Spring 2020

The unexpected COVID-19 outbreak, and resulting move to remote learning, means a disrupted and stressful semester with substantial challenges and changes to courses, teaching, and learning. As outlined in ATL’s Guidance and Priorities for Undergraduate Program Assessment for Spring 2020, programs may want to consider conducting alternative formative assessment activities, to help gauge the impacts of this semester on teaching, learning, and curricula. This input may be useful in informing decisions about potential adjustments to courses taught in upcoming semesters.

ATL has prepared sample reflective questions (downloadable Word document) intended to help undergraduate degree programs intentionally gather input about adjustments made this semester and potential impacts on student learning throughout the curriculum. This resource is intended to provide a flexible approach to collecting valuable input from program faculty and/or students to be used as qualitative program assessment data this semester. ATL encourages programs to adapt and implement these reflective questions as best fits their context and capacity.

We appreciate all that faculty, advisors, and staff are doing to deliver courses and support students, and are glad to discuss these reflective questions to help determine what will serve each program. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Guidance and Priorities for Undergraduate Program Assessment for Spring 2020

Recognizing the unexpected move to distance education means a disrupted and stressful semester, with substantial challenges to teaching and learning, this message offers guidance on undergraduate program assessment activities and flexible approaches to gather useful information, including how to set assessment priorities in the coming weeks. ATL developed this guidance in consultation with Vice Provost Mary Wack and the Associate Deans overseeing undergraduate program assessment, informed by national discussions. » More …

Brief Program Assessment Update for Spring 2020

ATL has received a few recent emails from assessment coordinators regarding program assessment expectations this semester.

We appreciate that faculty are focused on moving courses online and meeting the needs of students as they return from spring break.  Once we have a clearer picture of how this semester will play out—with online instruction, operational shifts on WSU’s campuses, and the larger public health situation— ATL will be providing general guidelines around program assessment activities and potential impacts this semester.

In the meantime, if you have pressing questions about assessment in your program, feel free to reach out to ATL staff—but please don’t feel the need to prioritize it over instruction.

During this time of social distancing, ATL staff are working remotely, with limited on-campus office presence.  Email is our preferred method of contact and our meetings will take place via Zoom. See our Contact Us webpage for more information.

New Timeframe for Undergraduate Program Assessment Reporting

Based on thorough discussion with the Liaison Council for Undergraduate Assessment, Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement Mary Wack, and the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning, annual undergraduate program assessment reporting will be shifting to a calendar year cycle.

This change impacts the 2020 reports that undergraduate programs will be submitting, with an additional semester to transition to the new reporting timeframe. Programs will not submit a 2020 report this June; instead 2020 reports will be submitted during the new reporting window, Jan – Feb 2021, as described below. » More …

Reporting Program Assessment Activities in Activity Insight for Faculty Annual Review

Beginning in 2018, updates to WSU’s faculty manual provide recognition for faculty participation in assessment in the annual review process, as part of Teaching or Service accomplishments, depending on the activity. This update aligns with the university’s EPPM policies on assessment, which include recognizing assessment work in annual review at all levels.

Now, in 2020, the faculty annual review software, known as Activity Insight, has also been updated to reflect these changes. The current iteration of Activity Insight now includes drop-down menus and built-in prompts for assessment activities connected to teaching and curriculum in the Teaching/Mentoring section, as well as the continued ability to report work coordinating assessment and serving on related committees in the Service section. » More …

Celebrating Excellence in WSU Undergraduate Program Assessment

Interim Provost Bryan Slinker speaking at 2019 Celebration of Assessment Excellence.On November 6th, the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning (ATL), Interim Provost Bryan Slinker, and Vice Provost Mary F. Wack hosted the second Celebration of Assessment Excellence, shining a spotlight on good practices in learning outcomes assessment and the efforts of program faculty, faculty assessment coordinators, chairs and directors, representing diverse academic programs and colleges, who share a strong commitment to providing high quality education to WSU’s undergraduate population. » More …

WSU-wide Summary of 2019 Undergraduate Degree Program Assessment Reports Available

In October, ATL provided Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement Mary Wack and Vice Provost for System Innovation and Policy Craig Parks with the 2019 WSU-wide Summary of Undergraduate Degree Program Assessment Reports.

WSU’s undergraduate degree programs report annually on their system of assessing student learning, a practice begun in 2009. Program-level assessment looks at student learning in a degree or program of study — focusing on the key skills and knowledge students should develop, as well as their experiences in the curriculum. Assessment helps faculty collaboratively develop, maintain, and improve an effective curriculum that promotes student learning. » More …

Using Course Grades to Assess the Student Experience (Mathematics)

While course grades are not fine-tuned enough to give information about student achievement on specific learning outcomes, they can nonetheless provide a rough indication of some aspects of curricular effectiveness, which programs can use – often in combination with other measures – to guide decision-making.

Course grades are often considered the “indicator” type of indirect assessment measure, and may provide programs with information that can uncover student course-taking patterns and give information about student progress through the curriculum, or identify new areas for investigation of a program’s effectiveness. For example, a high D/F/W rate in a core course may indicate a need to re-evaluate the curriculum (or a particular option/track) and how students are prepared for the course. A program could also use course grades to generally indicate where students may need more support in the curriculum. » More …

WSU’s Approach to Assessment Highlighted by National Organization

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), widely-recognized as the preeminent organization in the area of student learning outcomes assessment in higher education, regularly spotlights good assessment practices employed by colleges and universities across the country. In 2019, WSU was showcased by NILOA in a case study due to our promising approach to assessing student learning outcomes in the complex environment of a large, highly decentralized research university. » More …