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

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 …

Using National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Results to Assess the Senior Experience (School of Molecular Biosciences)

Every two years, WSU participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to help assess student engagement in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development. In collaboration with Institutional Research, ATL disaggregated 2017 WSU NSSE results by major for undergraduate academic degree programs and colleges, focusing on responses from seniors, intended to provide information about the student perspective to help continually improve the learning experience for WSU undergraduates.  Some programs also received disaggregated reports for 2014-15, as part of a pilot.

The School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) has used the 2017 NSSE responses from their seniors to identify program strengths and set priorities for improvement, as well as corroborate the results of other assessment measures.  » More …

Team-based Online Focus Group Activity Collects Student Input on Capstone Project (Agricultural and Food Systems)

Focus groups provide a way to get feedback about student experiences, perceptions, and motivations, and can provide insight into the ways a curriculum can be most effectively designed to support student learning.

In Spring 2017, ATL worked with Dr. Desmond Layne, Director of Agricultural and Food Systems (AFS), to pilot a new focus group activity designed to elicit feedback on capstone students’ project team interactions with their industry partners. While traditional focus groups typically involve a facilitated whole group discussion, ATL’s pilot activity used a live online discussion board where teams leveraged their experience in group decision-making to respond to questions.  » More …

Using the Paired Question Technique to Assess Student Learning in General Chemistry (Chemistry)

Assessment data serve multiple functions in the assessment process. These data provide insight into student performance in order to offer evidence about student learning in the curriculum, provide information about program strengths and weaknesses, and guide decision-making. A robust data set provides a rich base for analysis, faculty discussion, and evidence-based decision making. In this way, assessment results inform continual reflection and discussion to ensure effective teaching and learning.  » More …

Using a Rubric to Assess Student Learning at the Senior-Level (Sociology)

An effective system of assessing student achievement includes measures at the senior level, near graduation, providing information about what students are able to achieve at the end of the program. For many programs, senior-level direct measures connect with a capstone course, as these culminating experiences can provide valuable holistic information about students’ learning before they graduate.  » More …

Using Direct and Indirect Measures to Assess Student Learning (Middle Level Math Endorsement)

In effective program assessment, programs and faculty systematically collect information about student learning, discuss results, and use that information to guide decisions that affect teaching and learning in the curriculum and the student experience in the program. Assessment allows programs to examine key areas including curriculum design, instructional effectiveness, and student experience.  » More …

Using Results of Course-Embedded Assignments to “Close the Loop” (Psychology)

“Painless,” “organic,” “minimally invasive” – these might be some of the adjectives used to describe the annual assessment activities of the Department of Psychology. Their practices offer others a model of efficiency in assessment, while providing useful – and actionable – information about student learning at both course and program levels.  » More …

Using Case Studies to Assess Students’ Abilities to Apply Knowledge to Real-world Situations (Public Affairs)

Direct measures are assessments of students’ performances or work products that demonstrate the students’ skills and knowledge, helping to reveal what they have learned and to what extent. Direct measures come in many forms and WSU encourages programs to develop measures that fit their needs and disciplinary expectations. Results from direct measures can give faculty essential information about student achievement of program learning outcomes and insights into the effectiveness of the curriculum.  » More …

Using Exit Survey Results to Assess the Senior Experience (Construction Management)

Senior exit surveys give students an opportunity to provide feedback on their undergraduate experiences. Questions may include those about curriculum, faculty, offices and services, social opportunities, and career preparation. Academic programs can use students’ responses to inform decisions and improve student learning.  » More …

Piloting a Computer-adaptive Foreign Language Placement Exam (Foreign Languages and Cultures)

Students in the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures (DFLC) enter the program with a wide range of previous language studies and abilities, creating the need for a reliable, efficient, and consistent method to measure students’ knowledge and abilities for placement as they begin their studies in the department. Traditionally, DFLC faculty members have made recommendations for placement into courses based on individual interviews with all incoming students, requiring a great deal of faculty time.  » More …