Student Achievement Assessment Committee
NCA Higher Learning Commission Staff Analysis, 2006
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STAFF ANALYSIS OF INSTITUTIONAL REPORT
DATE: April 24, 2006
STAFF: Karen J. Solomon
REVIEWED BY: Katherine C. Delaney
INSTITUTION: Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH
EXECUTIVE OFFICER: Sidney A. Ribeau, President
PREVIOUS COMMISSION ACTION RE: REPORT: A progress report due on 03/31/06 focused on assessment.
ITEMS ADDRESSED IN REPORT: The office of the Commission received Bowling Green State University's report on the above topic on 4/6/06.
STAFF ANALYSIS: Bowling Green University submitted a progress report that effectively documented substantial progress in the assessment program at the University. It is clear from the report that:
- Assessment practices and programs, though initially focused at the course and program levels, have now expanded to include many other areas such as co-curricular programs, libraries, student affairs, continuing education, etc.
- The University takes seriously the assessment results that it captures and feeds those results back into program improvement initiatives. The report documents those program improvements in many areas, as well as the financial resources that have been committed to those improvements.
- Assessment results have also been the basis for several innovative programs such as Safari (training for chairs and directors), GradSTEP (required for graduate students receiving their first assistantship), as well as more established programs such as the first year/University success initiatives, the support for teaching in the Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, residential learning communities, etc.
- Assessment is pervasive throughout the institution and serves as the basis for many important decisions, including curricular change, budget priorities, etc.
In response to the comprehensive evaluation team report in 2003, the report documents the following progress in those areas noted by the team (in italics):
- While the Team applauds BGSU for the progress it has made in assessment, the Team has concerns about the unevenness of implementation.
The report documents that assessment results are collected from all programs annually and post them on the Student Achievement Assessment Committee's web page. The report also notes that 100% of graduate programs are now involved in the assessment program. A review of the Assessment Committee's web page indicates an impressive collection of
Staff Analysis of Institutional Report Bowling Green State University
assessment reports that document results straightforwardly and indicate plans for improvement.
- Assessment is conducted at the program and course level. There is no structure for reviewing achievement of the University level student learning outcomes.
In this area, there is less evidence of results from the University. The assessment program at Bowling Green University is intentionally decentralized. "Responsibility for program assessment resides in the programs and areas of study of the University." Given the diversity of methods and measures used by individual courses within programs, the value of aggregating assessment results "is not apparent and thus it has not been attempted." These assessment values at the University have included even the University-wide programs such as general education, general studies writing, etc. They, too, are apparently assessed at the program level with no university-wide results being aggregated.
- In general, students are not aware of the assessment program and the institution's commitment to assessment.
Again, given the decentralized nature of the University's assessment program, students are not generally aware of assessment at the broad University level. They are very aware, according to the report, of assessment at the level of courses and programs.
- The assessment program provides input and feedback to faculty but rarely includes students in this input feedback loop.
The progress report noted results of the National Survey of Student Engagement concerning student satisfaction with their experience at Bowling Green University. The report also noted specific comments from students regarding the electronic portfolio.
The report does not document any process, however, that gives individual students feedback on their overall academic progress at the University. Perhaps it takes place, in effect, between student and academic advisor, but that is not asserted in the report.
- Many of the program assessments employ indirect indicators of learning (student satisfaction surveys, graduation rates) rather than direct indicators of learning (student products or other evidence of achievement of specific learning outcomes).
The progress report provided a large number of examples of direct indicators of student learning in academic programs, including course-embedded assessment, placement tests, critical thinking tests, ePorfolios, etc.
In general, Bowling Green University has responded very thoroughly to the concerns of the last comprehensive evaluation team with respect to assessment. The University community apparently has a philosophical disagreement with some assumptions of the team report, but it has addressed those issues in the progress report. Perhaps the next comprehensive evaluation team will want to note the impact of the underlying philosophical assumptions of the University's assessment program, particularly with respect to its decentralized nature.
STAFF ACTION: Accept the report focused on assessment. No further reports are required. The institution's next comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2012 - 2013.