Student Achievement Assessment Committee
Best of 1998, Assessment Highlights
The Student Achievement Assessment Committee (SAAC) uses four outcomes to assess the assessment cycle itself, as observed through the lens of departmental and program annual reports. They are:
- The learning outcomes are clearly stated and measurable.
- Measures have been administered and data have been collected.
- The data have been analyzed and interpreted.
- Actions have been planned or executed based on the assessment findings.
We reviewed the assessment progress reports submitted for the 1997-98 academic year, and have provided comments and suggestions to the report authors.
Here we present some of the highlights (underlined names are links to copies of full reports). For 1998-99 reports, we suggest using the narrative style of reporting shown in these examples. Departments wishing to continue to use the matrix style of reporting may do so.
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. About 2100 students major in business administration. They must complete 17 core courses, and specialize by taking an additional five to eight junior and senior level courses in any of 16 specializations. A college-wide committee assessed the BSBA program using a combination of surveys (freshmen, seniors, alumni, co-op employers), capstone course performance measures, faculty evaluations, and interviews with faculty in prerequisite programs (e.g., Math, IPC). Many curricular requirements have been revised, and a new freshman course in business will be introduced. Several issues were identified for in-depth assessment during the 1998-99 year.
Cooperative Education Program. The Co-op Program surveys employers and BGSU students about their experiences during co-op placements. The Director and his staff work directly with faculty in many departments (e.g., Computer Science, Management, Finance) to assure that results from the surveys find their way into curricular changes. Staff facilitated an assessment session between returning students and the Management faculty, an activity that may be expanded to other units.
Department of English . As a consequence of assessments in a senior capstone course, as well as the lower than desired success rate for top seniors in gaining entrance to graduate study programs, the Literature faculty has designed and is implementing a wholesale revision of its BA curriculum. The Creative Writing faculty is adding a sophomore portfolio review, implemented as a requirement for admission to upper division courses and workshops in the BFA in Creative Writing major. The portfolios will allow the faculty to put greater depth and focus into the upper level courses.
Department of History . Papers written for two sections of a senior research seminar required of all majors (History 480) were randomly sampled and duplicated before being evaluated by instructors of record. The papers were independently assessed by all three members of the undergraduate curriculum committee, using the learning outcomes adopted by the department. The report presents results from the second full cycle, and seniors in the 1997 cohort did not perform as well as seniors in the 1996 cohort. Several actions were undertaken to strengthen instruction in entry- and mid-level courses so that students begin developing their skills earlier in their studies as history majors.
Division of Kinesiology, School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies. Assessments of writing and class participation for majors within the Human Movement Science program showed a clear need to go beyond the enforcement of two prerequisite courses, ENG 112 and IPC 102, so curricular changes have been implemented in six courses. A seventh course and a poster presentation requirement needed no revisions. Assessment attention has now turned to students' ability to identify key research questions in kinesiology.
Department of Romance Languages . A year ago, the department began implementing an objectively scored pre-test and post-test assessment plan in French, Spanish, and Italian. While waiting for the first pre-tested cohorts to progress to graduation, portfolio-based interviews were conducted with graduating seniors in French and Spanish. The portfolios showed noticeable improvements in communication skills and knowledge of literature and culture. The interviews yielded many suggestions about program improvements. Curricular modifications, a mentoring system, a reading room, and other program improvements are being developed.
Department of Theatre . Theatre hosted its second Main Event, an audition-like series of presentations by Theatre majors assessed by two external professionals. Theatre faculty were able to build on their experience in the first Main Event, and brought back the same two external assessors. The assessors noted great improvement in the general level of student preparation and performance and in the quality of the work that was presented. The department has now expanded its program assessments to cover its learning outcomes for teamwork and collaboration.
Options Program (Continuing Education, International, and Summer Programs). The Options Program creates and offers a wide variety of enrollment-driven continuing education short courses and workshops, none of which are requirements in degree programs. End of course surveys and analyses of enrollment patterns have been used to modify course offerings and enhance instructor effectiveness.
Department of Psychology . Members of the assessment committee in Psychology have created and begun using (1) a measure of critical thinking--written judgments about the quality of thinking exhibited in a six paragraph "Letter to the Editor" criticizing day care for children, (2) an exam of knowledge in psychological methodology, statistics, clinical psychology, and developmental psychology, and (3) a self-assessment of learning form, completed by students in undergraduate courses, organized around the four university learning outcomes. Feedback is provided to individual instructors, course supervisors, curriculum committees, and university committees (e.g., General Education, Student Achievement Assessment Committee).