What is Assessment by Design?

Assessment by Design (ABD) is the Office of Assessment, Evaluation and Institutional Outcomes flagship workshop. This workshop guides all participants through the Cycle of Assessment with a goal of developing an assessment plan for the upcoming academic year. It also helps the participant understand assessing students is not what improves student learning, it is the educational intervention that faculty employ that makes the difference. ABD is about making assessment meaningful and not a matter of compliance. The assessment process strives to: Document and improve student learning Expand faculty involvement and control in assessment Align assessment objectives with existing curriculum Encourage, support, and recognize innovation in faculty-driven assessment Analyze and support numerous approaches to meaningful assessment Assessments that are focused on improving student learning provide faculty with data about their students and how well the curriculum is working in the classroom. This is a one-day interactive workshop providing course materials, an assessment book, snack breaks, lunch, and a certificate of completion. Continue reading What is Assessment by Design?

New Program Review Software

The Office of Assessment, Evaluation and Institutional Outcomes introduced the new program review software, Strategic Planning Online (SPOL), to the campus during Professional Development Days in August. Some of the highlights of the new software include: A module dedicated to short/long term planning Assessment findings can now be entered into the software Goals can be submitted to your dean/supervisor for feedback prior to completing your program review More robust copying/pasting from other word processing programs Comprehensive and Annual program reviews are now due on December 30. Multiple hands on training workshops were held in September and additional offerings will be added as needed. Please contact our office for details.

Proving or Improving – that is the question

“What is the purpose of assessment?”  I think every assessment director, coordinator, and faculty member has been asked this question at some point.  It is a great question.  I think the answer lies in your “philosophy” of assessment.  I believe there are two distinct ways of looking at assessment – there are those who look to use assessment to “prove” learning and those who use assessment to “improve” learning.  What’s the difference? Proving Student Learning Focuses on an external audience Faculty often have little influence or control in the assessment processes Results can be difficult to tie to the actual teaching that occurs in the classroom Purpose of the assessment is to satisfy accountability requirements from the state, accrediting bodies, external stakeholders, etc. Improving Student Learning Focuses on the program and the discipline Faculty drive the assessment processes and the interpretation of the results Results are based on what happens in the classroom and program Purpose is to improve student’s learning in Continue reading Proving or Improving – that is the question

A Baseball Analogy for Assessment

The bases were loaded…everyone’s favorite hitter was up to bat as the keynote….two-year colleges were on first and second and third base was covered by a four-year school.  Jeremy stepped into the batter’s box and drove a screamer over the back fence.  The crowds were chanting Assessment, Assessment, Assessment! My apologies to the baseball aficionados in the group, but that’s how it felt this past week when we participated in the Assessment Matters 2019 conference hosted here at Johnson County Community College.  This year’s conference brought teams from 10 states and 41 colleges and universities.  Over the two days of the conference we had 162 participants in sessions on assessment in both academic and student affairs settings.  Dr. Jeremy Penn was our keynote provided a wonderful session on the past, present and future of assessment.  Our breakout sessions included projects from two-year and four-year schools, public and private. What was most exciting about the conference was the level of participation by Continue reading A Baseball Analogy for Assessment

Co-Curricular Assessment

One of the “hot button” topics in higher education is assessment of co-curricular activities.  In the Higher Learning Commission universe, it is even written into the Criteria for Accreditation; however, many schools are struggling to understand how to assess these activities. For that matter, how do we as educators define co-curricular versus extra-curricular activities?  At my institution, we are grappling with these issues with new specialized software and a task force charged with determining the how, why, and when of capturing and assessing how students benefit from co-curricular engagement. If you are in the same boat, you might consider joining us at the Pre-conference workshop for Assessment Matters on Thursday, April 25th.  We have two afternoon sessions on assessing co-curricular.  The first is from our keynote Dr. Jeremy Penn, President of the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education. His session is entitled “When you Run a Co-curricular Program, Assess it! Strategies for Developing Manageable and Meaningful Co-curricular Continue reading Co-Curricular Assessment

Spring – where are you?

Spring is not here.  I know this because we are still experiencing frigid weather, snow, ice, brown landscapes, and all the joys of winter.  But I know that spring is coming and I’m ready! Beyond the warmth and green the season brings, this spring will also bring the Assessment Matters Conference – April 25 & 26th, 2019.  It has been two years since our last conference, as we’ve moved to an every other year format.  The line-up for this year’s conference and pre-conference workshop is stellar and I’m excited for April to arrive. This year’s lineup includes Dr. Jeremy Penn, President of the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education as our keynote speaker.  We will also be featuring great sessions from colleagues at St. Louis Community College, Metropolitan Community College, Southeast Community College, Emporia State University, the University of Kansas, and others! For the next several weeks I’ll feature information on the blog about our upcoming conference.  Continue reading Spring – where are you?

Whipping up the Right Assessment

In the last few years I’ve taken up baking.  Previously, my attempts were confined to breaking open little cans of dough I would pop in the oven.  My addiction to baking began with watching The Great British Baking Show and it has taught me some interesting truths about assessment: Order matters.  In baking and assessment there are steps in the process that come in a specific order.  If you work out of order with some recipes or assessment processes your final product isn’t as successful. The right tool is important.  Baking requires some specialized tools.  I couldn’t believe the difference in my bakes after my husband bought me a high end mixer.  Assessing student learning is also best accomplished with specific types of assessments in line with what faculty are trying to measure. Practice makes perfect!  The more I bake and try to perfect certain recipes, the better my outcomes.  The same holds true with assessment.  The more you try Continue reading Whipping up the Right Assessment