Academic Assessment Accountability: Are we what we say we are? Program Improvement: How can we be even better? External audiences: SACS

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  • Academic AssessmentAccountability: Are we what we say we are?Program Improvement: How can we be even better?External audiences: SACS

  • SACS Principles of AccreditationQuality EnhancementThe Commission on Colleges expects institutions to dedicate themselves to enhancing the quality of their programs and services within the context of their missions, resources, and capacities, and creating an environment in which teaching, research, and learning occurs.

  • SACS Principles of AccreditationThe concept of quality enhancement is at the heart of the Commissions philosophy of accreditation; this presumes each member institution is engaged in an ongoing program of improvement and can demonstrate how well it fulfills its stated mission.

  • SACS Principles of AccreditationCore Requirements5. The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that incorporate a systematic review of programs and services that (a) results in continuing improvement and (b) demonstrates that the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.

  • SACS Principles of AccreditationComprehensive StandardsInstitutional Effectiveness16. The institution identifies expected outcomes for its educational programs and its administrative and educational support services; assesses whether it achieves these outcomes; and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of those results.

  • SACS Principles of AccreditationComprehensive StandardsStandards for All Educational Programs*12. The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty.

  • The Planning and Assessment Cycle

  • The 5-Column Report Template

  • The 5-Column Report Template: Operational Plans

  • The 5-Column Report Template:Assessment Reports

  • The 5-Column Report Template: Operational Plans

  • GoalsShould link to Mission and to Strategic PlanBroad areas no details here

  • GoalsMost common goals in Academic plansThe MajorGraduate Programs [must be treated separately]Involvement in CoreStaffing full-time and adjunctFaculty DevelopmentFacilities and Equipment

  • GoalsOther GoalsAdministrative StructureService to StudentsSpecial ProgramsUndergraduate ResearchExternal RelationsOne-time Special Situations

  • ObjectivesMore specific to the discipline or the departmentMany departments have lists of explicit learning objectivesWhat do you expect students to know?What do you expect students to be able to do?What broad competencies will the student have?Should be at least potentially measurableNeed to cover 2 years for budgetary purposesMay include items contained in the prior assessment report

  • Intended Assessment MeasuresDevelop measures before you undertake assessmentOnly list things you really intend to doBe specific set targetsNeed to be measurable, even if the measures are things like adequate or good

  • Intended Assessment MeasuresEVERY major program should have assessment measures relating toThe Comprehensive ExperienceNational Exam results (if given)Alumni outcomesAssessment measures look at PROGRAM outcomes, not individual students

  • Intended Assessment MeasuresGood Assessment Measures Utilize multiple sources.Have external validity.Are potentially actionable.Look at outputs, not inputs

  • The 5-Column Report Template:Assessment Reports

  • Assessment Results and Student OutcomesCompile and present your findings.Reports should be filled with facts.Compare outcomes to targets.If you didnt do an activity you said you would, report that too.

  • Assessment Results and Student OutcomesReport good news.Report bad news.Avoid a report that wastes everybodys time.

  • Actions Already Taken or Actions Planned as a Result of Assessment Respond to the findingsSome responses occurred during the year report those actions as well.Be realistic.Point out unresolved issues.

  • CLOSE THE LOOP Do it again, using what youve found to improve the next cycle.PlanAssessMake Improvements

    Assessment is not a very popular part of academics. We are used to assessing our students, but we dont like the concept applied to ourselves.

    Last time I plan on discussing SACS -- we should be doing assessment for ourselves, not because they told us to!!

    Those of you familiar with SACS know the difference between a must statement and a should statement. Play special attention to the MUST statements in the following few slides.It was in the area of assessment/evaluation of programs where we had the greatest trouble with SACS during and after our 1995 reaffirmation of accreditation. We received recommendations in this area that lasted through three follow-up reports. Emphasize that this is an on-going process, not an annual one.This is a suggested format, not a mandated one. However, your plans and reports need to be consistent with these guidelines from a content perspective.

    If you use this format, you will tend to have shorter, less complicated reports than many of you do now.

    Most of the information presented in an academic operating plan does not change from year-to year. The exceptions to this general rule arise in the following types of situations: Funding for the current year differs significantly from what had been anticipated in the prior plan; Special, one-time goals and objectives arise [e.g., specialty accreditation visit; hosting a regional meeting; new program development; major change in the direction of a program, faculty recruitment]; The College itself changes its strategic goals and objectives; and/or Changes in assessment instruments occur.

    October 15 plans utilize only the first three columns of the template the rest should be blank.Your end-of-year assessments will complete the form you will add information into the last two columns on the same form you have previously filled out [hopefully, saved as a computer file].

    If you send me your October plan electronically, Ill have a backup if you need it.

    October 15 plans utilize only the first three columns of the template the rest should be blank.Point out that any link to the areas of emphasis within the Strategic PlanUndergraduate researchService learningInternational or diversity focusesCommunity involvement

    Note these items may not be separate goals in your plans, but obviously things like advising need to be looked at, even if you include it under the major.

    Read examples from reports of various units.The 2003-2004 Bulletin of Information says the following:The purpose of the synthesizing experience is to test the students competence in the major field, not only in retention of disparate data but also in the ability to correlate, solidify, and synthesize the various courses taken in developing the major. In addition, the synthesizing experience provides important information to the faculty of the department about how effective they have been in meeting the academic objectives of the department. [p. 71]

    Your end-of-year assessments will complete the form you will add information into the last two columns on the same form you have previously filled out [hopefully, saved as a computer file].

    If you send me your October plan electronically, Ill have a backup if you need it.

    In terms of the comprehensive experience, you need to summarize findings from faculty meetings or faculty discussion of papers and presentations. In terms of the ETS (if given), you need to summarize those findings, as well as what they mean. In most cases, the Office of Institutional Research will have given you a brief summary of findings this would be a reasonable attachment to the assessment report. Likewise, the Office of Institutional Research may have provided survey results that speak to your program Student Satisfaction results, Alumni Survey findings, and the like. If this information is relevant to your program, it should be part of your findings as well.

    Academic programs at Spring Hill College are very good. To that extent, one thing assessment reports do is to allow you to share with others the good news of your success. Past reports are full of findings to be celebrated!What if some of the findings appear to reflect poorly on the program? It happens and thats why we do assessment. Sometimes there are good explanations (as opposed to good rationalizations). Sometimes these findings point to aspects of our programs we need to address. Sometimes they point to areas where the College needs to devote financial resources. The assessment provides you an opportunity to help build your case if resources are needed. But the main reason even negative assessment findings need to be reported it that the main beneficiary of the assessment process is your own program. Program assessment is a tool to help you improve to improve poor programs and to improve excellent programs. Both benefit from assessment.

    Ive sometimes described the assessment report as the main document you would want to give to a new person hired to chair the department once they arrive on the job. It should give that person a snapshot of where the program has recently been, the programs strengths and weaknesses, where it needs to go to be better, and how it has been thinking of getting there.


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