Assessment of Student
Learning

THE PLAN FOR

 

The Plan for

the Assessment

of Student Learning

 

Web Site: http://www.morris.umn.edu/committees/asl/

Progress Report III

University of Minnesota, Morris
Morris, Minnesota

June , 1998

 

Prepared by

the Assessment of Student Learning Committee Members:

Bert Ahern

Chair,

Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of History

Mary Elizabeth Bezanson

Associate Professor of Speech Communication

James Cotter

Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Geology

Mario French

Undergraduate Student

Thomas Johnson

Associate Professor of Psychology

Carol Marxen

Associate Professor of Elementary & Secondary Education

Aaron O'Learly

Undergraduate Student

Erica Rosch

Director of Faculty Teaching & Learning Center

Assistant Professor of French

Sam Schuman

Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs

Engin Sungur

Director of Assessment,

Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Associate Professor of Mathematics

   

UMM Assessment of Student Learning Plan is Approved by

the UMM Campus Assembly on April 14, 1997

Table of Contents

I. The Context for Planning

II. The Institutional Mission and Goals

III. Goals of the Curriculum

IV. The Conceptual Framework for the Assessment of Student Learning

V. Assessment of the Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Major Programs

VI. Assessment of the General Education Program

VII. Assessment of the Co-curricular Academic Programs

VIII. Integration of Assessment of Student Learning Activities With Other Campus processes

IX. Administration of the Assessment Process

XI. Assessment of Assessment Process

XII. Timetable for Implementation

Appendices

• Some of the Current Activities Related with Institutional (Indirect Measures)

• Discipline/program level(Some examples)

• Summary of the Discipline Assessment Methods and Tools

• Discipline Assessment

  • Art History
  • Studio Art
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Elementary Education
  • English
  • French
  • Gen Ed Web
  • Geology
  • German
  • History
  • Honors Program
  • Latin American Area Studies
  • Liberal Arts for the Human Services
  • Managment
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Secondary Education
  • Sociology & Anthropology
  • Spanish
  • Speech Communication
  • Theatre
  • Wellness and Sport Science-Coaching
1997-98 Assessment of Students’ Learning Planning & Implementation Survey
1996-97 Assessment of Students’ Learning Planning Exercise and Survey
1996-97 Assessment of Students’ Learning Planning Exercise and Survey
Form for the Assessment of Students' Learning: Unit Plans for the Disciplines (An Example)
Form for the Assessment of Students' Learning: Unit Plans for the Co-curricular Programs
1997 General Education Assessment Pilot Exit Survey/Test
1998 General Education Assessment Exit Survey/Test
General Education Assessment Faculty and Sub-committee Surveys
The Model for the Detailed Assessment of the General Education Abstract Systems Requirement
Assessment of Assessment Sub-committee Report


Executive Summary

This progress report provides information on the current stage of the UMM Assessment of Student Learning activities which is based on a plan that places the faculty, individually and collectively, in charge, and defines an administrative structure which will promote and support assessment activities.

By using various planning tools such as surveys, exercises, meetings, and electronic communications, the plan represents an institution-wide conceptualization of the assessment process shaped by the faculty. The conceptual framework presented in this report has been implemented and tested within the institution and proven to be realistic. The assessment process originates and returns back to the unit mission, goals and objectives. It also considers inter-unit impact of the assessment process and opens up channels which could lead to a change in the institution’s mission, goal and objectives. Inclusion of all decision making units in the assessment process will definitely increase the likelihood of leading to institutional improvement.

The plan aims to integrate assessment with the academic functions of the institution and to support and strengthen assessment as part of the academic culture. The report shows that assessment is already a part of the academic culture of UMM. At the same time, the campus needs a common language which will ease the communication between units and create an infrastructure which will promote, motivate and support the units. To enrich faculty knowledge on assessment the 1997 Fall Faculty Workshop was offered on assessment. Also UMM Faculty Teaching & Learning Center offered video courses on assessment. Implementation of the assessment process showed that the timeline is realistic and fast enough to produce reliable input in the direction of institutional improvement. The administration part of the UMM assessment process proposes a unique and innovative unit: Center for Student Learning and Faculty Teaching. This organizational structure places the assessment where it belongs, underscores faculty ownership, and emphasizes that student learning is an outcome of faculty teaching and can not be improved without addressing faculty instructional development.

During the 1997-98 academic year UMM assessment of student learning process completed its first cycle having faced several tasks such as:

• overseeing the implementation of the assessment plan which was under review [and subsequently accepted] by our accrediting agency; which included providing feedback to the unit assessment plans submitted in 1996-97;

• developing an assessment plan for the general education program;

• developing an approach to assess our unit assessment activities;

• cooperating with the reaccredidation effort.

Some examples of the assessment activities that took place during the 1997-98 academic year are:

I. Implementing the Assessment Plan.

As of June 1997, all academic instructional units and six non-instructional units had submitted assessment plans. The committee surveyed those units who had prepared a plan to see how the plan was working and to ask them to reconfirm the plan . A Unit Assessment subcommittee reviewed the results of the survey as well as the unit plans, taking into account the developed guidelines and responses from the NCA reviewers of the plan. The Coordinator of Assessment communicated the results of that review to the units that had responded to the survey.

The committee, working with the Coordinator of Assessment and the Dean, secured funding for the Coordinator, secretarial support and supplies and expenses. The nature of the funding brought the Assessment of Student Learning into a closer relationship with the Faculty Center for Learning and Teaching. On the basis of this year's experience, the committee recommended an ongoing annual budget of a $26,000.

In support of implementation, the Coordinator and the committee arranged for several faculty development experiences: the Fall Faculty Workshop focused on Assessment of Student Learning; the videotape orientation, Assessment 101, was scheduled for multiple viewings; the Faculty Center added assessment materials to its library, etc.

II. Assessment of General Education

After consultation with the Curriculum Committee, the ASLC and the Curriculum Committee formed a Jt. Committee for the Assessment of Student Learning with membership drawn from the two committees. Guided by an experimental pilot survey/test of the 1997 graduates and by a survey of faculty, the Joint Committee developed a two-pronged plan for assessing General Education. See the report Appendix. The Assessment of Student Learning Committee agreed that the plan was consistent with the basic assessment planning principles.

UMM implemented a General Education Exit Survey/Test with a very high response rate.

 

 

III. Assessment of Assessment

A subcommittee on Assessment of Assessment surveyed discipline coordinators to gain a sense of ways to improve the process of assessment. The results of that survey raised several important questions for review by next year'scommittee. Also, assessment of assessment will give a chance to measure the change of attitude of faculty throughout the years and carry out a cost-and-benefit analysis of the assessment process.

IV. Tasks in Process

Based on comments from academic units who found it difficult to connect their learning objectives to the campus Mission Statement as currently written, the Committee requested that the Planning and Resources Committee revise the Campus mission statement to address more clearly the place of student learning. That request is under consideration.

Interaction with the NCA Self-Study committee structure will begin next year.

As it is well known, assessment is an ongoing process. We hope to see many changes in the process in the future that will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the assessment. The plan promotes a solid and modest start at which the faculty will feel comfortable. It stays away from a "perfect" plan which will not give an opportunity to constant improvement by faculty learning from each other,



I. The Context for Planning

The University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) is an undergraduate, residential, liberal arts campus of the University of Minnesota with about 2000 students and 120 teaching faculty located in a rural community 150 miles west of the Twin Cities. It offers the academic reputation of the University of Minnesota with the special atmosphere of a small college. Its primary institutional mission is to offer undergraduate education in the liberal arts including licensure programs in teacher education. This mission as a single purpose liberal arts college has not changed since the college was founded in 1960 and reflects its historic values, current strengths, and plans for the future.

Evaluation, appraisal, and assessment of the quality of courses, programs, and services have been practiced at the University of Minnesota, Morris for years. With an active institutional research program, it was clear that substantial outcome-oriented evaluation was already taking place including longitudinal profiling of the student body as a whole, student opinion surveys, follow-up studies of graduates and non-returning students, and analysis of graduation and retention rates. Students evaluate every course. A detailed evaluation of the general education program was recently completed and many disciplines appraised the competency of their majors through cap-stone seminars, tutorials, portfolios, and recitals. Some of the current activities related with the assessment of students’ learning are given in the appendix.

Although the campus is doing a great deal on the assessment of student learning, there is a need to create a common assessment language and process. The assessment process that is in effect includes a structure which defines and opens up the necessary channels that will lead to institutional improvement by using the assessment results. The results of the assessment efforts should be tied into institutional planning and resource allocation directly . Perhaps most important, the results of assessment should be systematically used to improve student learning in a regular, ongoing way.

To overcome some of the shortcomings in the college’s assessment activities, a task force made up of faculty and students representative of the governance committees with a major stake in assessment (and supported by staff familiar with the current institutional research efforts), worked during the spring of 1995 to develop a plan specifically to assess student learning across the campus. The group's principal objective was to develop a conceptual model for the assessment which would be generally applicable at each level where student learning and achievement take place. These levels would include the course; the discipline curriculum and major; the general education program and its components; several support programs such as academic assistance, honors, study abroad; and some of the educational, social, and recreational programs of the extra curriculum. The conceptual model was to unify the assessment process across units, in each case beginning with the institutional mission, moving to unit goals and objectives, then to the assessment and analysis phase leading to appropriate action at the individual, unit, or institutional level as the case may be. The process would be controlled through the governance system by the faculty. In addition, rather than an intrusive chore imposed by an outside agency, the process ought to be compatible with the natural responsibilities of faculty members committed to teaching and research in their respective disciplines. After the receipt of reviewer’s reports on the proposed plan which ask for revisions, a second task force was appointed by UMM Campus assembly in the Fall of 1996. The second task force made up of two faculty representatives from Science and Mathematics, Social Science, and Humanities divisions and one faculty from Education Division who were nominated by the divisions, two students, and the Dean of Academic Affairs. The task force was charged to review the draft UMM Assessment Plan, bring it back to Assembly with any revisions that seem necessary, and take steps to begin the implementation of the plan, fulfilling the duties of the proposed Assessment of Student Learning Committee until its establishment. Starting from September 1997 the Assessment of Student Learning committee became in charge of UMM Assessment of Student Learning process and oversaw the completion of its first cycle.

The Assessment of Student Learning is a discipline and program-based process aimed at improving the teaching and learning at UMM. It is intended to determine how well what students are actually learning conforms to the objectives of that academic enterprise. Although the assessment process will produce a body of information which will be useful in the preparation of discipline and institutional self-studies, the primary purpose is program improvement. Further, it is the intention of the committee as it was of both task forces that, as a matter of policy, this assessment process should not bear a connection to the college's faculty evaluations for the purposes of promotion, tenure, and salary determination.

II. The Institutional Mission and Goals

Explicit statements of the institutional mission, goals, and educational objectives are contained in the 1995-97 UMM Bulletin. The formal mission statement, approved by the Campus Assembly in 1993, is as follows:

 

The mission of the University of Minnesota, Morris as an undergraduate, residential liberal arts college is distinctive within the University of Minnesota. The Morris campus shares the University’s statewide mission of teaching, research, and outreach, yet it is a small college where students can shape their own education. The campus serves undergraduate students primarily from Minnesota and its neighboring states, and it is an educational resource and cultural center for citizens of west central Minnesota. Through its instructional excellence, its commitment to research, its numerous extracurricular programs and services, and its strong sense of community, the University of Minnesota, Morris endeavors to achieve its place among the best liberal arts colleges in the region.

III. Goals of the Curriculum

The goals of the academic program at the University of Minnesota, Morris are expressed through the requirements for the bachelor of arts degree . The degree requirements consist of three parts, two of which are in general education: Process Requirements and Expanding Perspectives Requirements. The third part is the Major, or field of specialization; its requirements are specified by faculty in each discipline (1997-99 UMM Bulletin, p.53). The requirements are meant to prescribe student competencies, which are usually demonstrated through the successful completion of qualifying courses but may be met by demonstrating proficiency in other ways.

The first goal of general education is to become familiar with the process of liberal learning--to acquire the intellectual skills, the communication skills, and the framework of knowledge needed for successful advanced work. The second goal is to expand one's intellectual perspectives, gaining enough understanding of the principal areas of human endeavor to be able to continue learning in the future and to have a sense of the limits of one's knowledge. Successful study in a major field, in which one pursues knowledge in depth with the goal of becoming reasonably expert, constitutes the third area required for the B.A. degree.

III.1. Process of Liberal Learning

The Process requirements emphasize the development of intellectual skills, the critical and creative thinking skills, and the communication skills needed for future work. The goals of the process requirements are as follows.

Inquiry, a freshman core course. Introduces students to liberal education; students are expected to gain a sense of community, develop skills of intellectual inquiry, and learn to be active participants in the learning process.

College Writing. Students acquire the basic compositional skills necessary to develop multi-paragraph essays and to write documented papers. Following the introductory course, students develop and apply expository writing skills appropriate to various disciplines.

Computing. Students learn to understand the role of computers in society, know how to solve problems using a computer, and how to make productive use of computers to enhance their knowledge and skills in a chosen field.

Foreign Language. Students are introduced to the grammar, the basic skills of reading, writing, and speaking a language other than their own, and to the cultures of the countries speaking that language.

III.2. Expanding Perspectives

The Expanding Perspectives requirements emphasize the development of breadth in a world of diverse peoples, activities, and values, all increasingly related. All Expanding Perspective courses are intended to actively involve students in the following: understanding how knowledge is acquired, engaging in the process of acquiring knowledge, understanding the influences and assumptions that lead to particular perspectives in a given field, engaging in critical and creative thinking and inquiry appropriate to the field, and pursuing connections to knowledge in other disciplines. The goals of specific Expanding Perspectives requirements are as follows.

The Self and Others. To encourage the development of self-understanding and an understanding of the forces which shape human interactions.

Historical Perspectives. To provide an understanding of the past, the complexity of human affairs, and the way in which various forces--economic, cultural, religious, political, scientific--influence efforts to control the course of these events.

Different Cultures. To introduce students to a culture other than their own.

Social Institutions. To develop an understanding of a method for analyzing modern society or some significant political, economic, religious, social, or scientific component of it.

Analysis and Interpretation of the Arts. To develop an understanding of the principles of aesthetic judgment, including the means for analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating the arts produced by others.

Performance. To introduce students to the creative process through individual performance in an artistic activity such as writing, acting, dance, studio art, and music.

Arts and Culture. To investigate how cultures shape and are shaped by the arts.

The Natural World. To acquaint students with the scientific method as a means of studying the natural world through understanding fundamental scientific concepts and through engaging in scientific analysis and experimentation.

Abstract Systems. To learn to formulate abstractions, employ proofs, and manipulate symbols in formal systems; to use abstract languages with defined rules of deduction to strengthen the student's ability to think logically.

III.3. The Major

The purpose of the major is to ensure that each student pursues a particular field of knowledge in depth, investigates advanced theories and schools of thought, and becomes competent in using the language and methods of inquiry of the field. Through such concentrated study, conducted over an extended period of time, a student begins to master an existing body of knowledge and understands the nature of expertise in the chosen field, including both its power and its limitations. Each of 27 formally approved majors have certain specific goals defined by the faculty of the disciplines involved.

IV. The Conceptual Framework for the Assessment of Student Learning

As designed by the task force, the conceptual model consists of unit assessment cycles as well as an institutional assessment cycle. Units include the course, the discipline curriculum, the major, the general education curriculum or its components, and other programs--for example, Study Abroad--where significant student learning has been identified (a detailed list of units is given in appendix). The overall institutional cycle aims to provide feedback among units to assist them in identifying overlapping student learning needs, and to integrate the results of individual unit assessments. The conceptual framework not only allows the unit assessment cycles to flow from the institution's published mission and goals, but it also creates channels to identify necessary changes in institutional goals.

The key ingredient of the model is the Unit Assessment Cycle, given in Figure 1, which consists of seven elements.

• Unit Goal/Mission

• Learning Objectives

• Expected Outcomes

• Assessment Methods and Tools

• Observed Outcomes

• Action

• Impact on the Students' Learning

The cycle may be further divided into a planning phase and an application phase. The planning phase (the right-hand side of the diagram) consists of the determination of learning objectives, the clarification of expected outcomes, and selection and development of assessment methods and tools. The application phase (the left-hand side of the diagram) consists of the observation of the outcomes resulting from the application of the assessment methods, taking actions based on these results, and analyzing the impact on the students' learning of the action(s) taken.

The cycle originates with the unit's goal/mission and returns to this stage as the cycle is completed. Through various actions taken by a unit, the cycle interconnects with cycles from other units and with the institutional assessment cycle as a whole. Since the model cycle will be employed by all the units, the assessment process will be consistent across the campus. In addition, the similarity among assessment cycles will have the beneficial effect of providing multiple measures of effectiveness of the academic program as a whole. Rather than impose a new approach upon units, it is intended that the cycle provides a conceptual framework for assessment which is compatible with appraisals currently being carried out in most units within a less formalized structure.

 

IV.1. Unit Goal/Mission

The cycle begins with a statement of the mission and goals particular to that unit. While they should be compatible with the institutional mission, the unit goals may be quite specific and initially may not take into consideration the mission and goals of other units. The institutional assessment cycle is designed to integrate the goal and mission of all units. Even if it is not true at the beginning, this dynamic process will in time integrate unit and institutional goals.

Figure 1. Unit Assessment Cycle

IV.2. Learning Objectives

Learning objectives will flow from the unit’s mission and goals and will be detailed enough to cover the different functions of the unit. Based upon the unit's goals, an individual instructor for a course, or the discipline faculty in the case of a major, will identify the specific learning objectives. They may be as specific as those for a particular course (for example, understanding a cost/benefit analysis) or as general as those for the major (for example, provide students with a basic understanding of the nature and functioning of the economic system).

IV.3. Expected Outcomes

Units must next specify, based upon their learning objectives, a variety of expected outcomes, measurable in qualitative or quantitative terms. Depending upon the unit's goals, the expected outcomes may be stated as cognitive, behavioral, or attitudinal characteristics. The outcomes can be as specific as being able to solve differential equations, being able to integrate trigonometric functions, or being able to interpret the results of a factor analysis, or as broad as being able to explain how the development of mathematics has been part of the evolution of civilizations and is intimately interwoven with their cultural and scientific development. At this stage in the assessment cycle the expected outcomes represent predictions of how student learning will be demonstrated.

IV.4. Assessment Methods and Tools

Each unit will select or develop its own assessment methods and tools. Assessment methods may be based on descriptive or experimental data collection processes. These methods will include portions of examinations in key courses, the products of capstone experiences, seminars, recitals, locally-developed examinations, surveys, oral examinations, professional licensure examinations, standardized comprehensive examinations, portfolios, alumni follow-up surveys, and the like (please see the Figure 4).

Different units may select and develop differing assessment methods and tools to measure the same or similar expected outcomes. This will have the advantage of creating multiple assessment measures more likely to capture the complete range of student achievements and promote innovative and "better" assessment techniques as their results are shared during the assessment cycles with other units.

 

 

IV.5. Observed Outcomes

When the assessment method, tools, and techniques have been utilized with the appropriate students, the results will be analyzed by the unit itself and interpreted in terms of the expected outcomes identified earlier during the planning phase. The results will become part of one or more assessment outcome documents. These may include discipline or program self-study reports, annual discipline/division/committee reports, institutional data summaries, accreditation self-study reports.



Figure 4. Areas of Assessment and Examples of assessment Instruments

IV.6. Action

Neither the process of appraisal nor knowledge of the results automatically leads to constructive change and improvement. The assessment model must include an action stage, providing for a response to the results of the assessment of student achievement. The most direct action, and that which routinely occurs at the present time, is for the results to be provided to students and used in improving their achievement. Action may occur as the modification by faculty of a course or a discipline curriculum, or by a governance committee of a program or administrative unit. In particular, the assessment process must, as a matter of policy, influence the institution's decision making processes which determine curriculum, pedagogy, and resource allocation. At the action stage, as shown in Figure 2, the cycle provides for sharing recommendations for change based upon documented results of the assessment process.

IV.7. Impact on the Students' Learning

Once an action has been taken to improve student achievement, its impact will be evaluated to see whether the desired improvement actually occurred. If the proposed action requires a higher unit’s involvement the impact of that involvement should be measured and evaluated as well. Note that this stage might call for the application of the assessment tools developed in a previous stage. It may also lead to a change in the unit’s mission and goal.

IV.8. Back to the Unit Goal/Mission

One of the outcomes of unit assessment will often be a modification of that unit's statement of missions and goals. An Assessment Committee (see below) will both guide the process and act as a clearinghouse for information and recommendations which emerge from the unit assessment cycles. One of its responsibilities will be to provide information to other units, appropriate governance committees, the administration, and the Campus Assembly, which may result in modifications of units or institutional goals.

V. Assessment of the Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Major Programs

 

In November 1996, the Task Force on Assessment of Students’ Learning designed and started implementing a series of assessment planning exercises and surveys. The objectives of these exercises and surveys are to;

• clarify some of the concepts in assessment of the student learning;

• present expectations from the units that are related with the assessment;

• motivate units;

• initiate a discussion on assessment;

• increase faculty involvement and awareness on assessment;

• determine some of the assessment activities that are already taking place at UMM;

• determine the areas of the assessment with which the units do not feel comfortable;

• produce examples of unit assessment cycles that can be shared with other units;

• set up connections between different units by clarifying their expectations of each other;

• learn how the units are planning to disseminate the results so that the required channels can be opened and be available when needed;

• get input from the faculty on the possible functions of the future assessment committee.

The Task Force used the results of the assessment planning exercises and surveys to:

• select some of the responses and ask the units to present them in a meeting(such as Talking about Teaching)

• send the response of a unit to a related unit to increase communication, (note that on the survey units will tell with which other units they would like to share the results). The general education part of the responses, for example, can be sent to the general education committee;

• prepare a document for the assessment activities in progress and get more detailed information from the units to include on our plan;

• design workshops on the areas with which units feel uncomfortable;

• provide literature and examples on the areas with which the units feel uncomfortable;

• revise the guidelines based on the results;

• determine the functions of the assessment committee based on the responses;

• group units together that have similar objectives and are planning to use similar assessment techniques;

• prepare a report on the results and distribute to the all units. This will produce examples and knowledge base generated by the UMM faculty;

• keep track of how the unit responses will change throughout time;

• determine a time table for the assessment based on the results.

The first of these exercises and surveys was sent to the all UMM faculty (a copy of the survey and cover memo is included in the Appendix). First, program faculty individually filled out the exercise and survey. At the second step responses of each faculty brought up to a discipline meeting at which a joint response of the discipline was prepared. Discipline coordinators submitted the discipline response to the Task Force. The survey showed that the disciplines generally were very comfortable in responding to the questions and that most of the assessment methods and tools were in progress. Through this exercise each discipline stated their mission/goal(s), described how their mission/goal(s) relate to the institutional mission, stated at least three learning objectives and expected outcomes in terms of important student achievements (at least one of which was cognitive(knowledge)- or performance based outcome), provided a description of assessment methods that will be used to measure expected outcome, and proposed a time line including a starting date and anticipated date for the first results. The results of the exercise and survey well documented that the disciplines are carrying out an extensive assessment of their students’ learning by using a variety of methods and tools. It also produced many creative in-house examples of the assessment methods and tools. Discipline plans include assessment strategies which proceed through classroom techniques, end point assessment (including portfolios, senior seminars, senior thesis, comprehensive exams, exit interviews, standardized tests), discipline specific techniques such as internship supervisor reports, research performance on UROP, MAP, and graduate and post graduate surveys. Some of the assessment information is common to all disciplines , such as GRE scores, placement records, admission to and success in graduate programs, general student attitude survey, graduate/professional school admission tests which are currently collected institutionally. The Task Force made the discipline plans available electronically on UMM Assessment of Student Learning web page to increase the communication between different disciplines, and to create an atmosphere for the disciplines to learn from each other.

At the second stage the Task Force sent to all faculty another form which included the response of the discipline to the planning exercise and survey, the summary of the assessment methods and tools proposed by all the disciplines, and additional questions related with the use of the observed outcomes, and possible actions, and the implementation needs of the disciplines (a copy of the second form send to the disciplines is included in the appendix).

The 1997-98 Assessment of Student Learning Committee followed a similar approach to improve unit assessment plans. The committee surveyed those units who had prepared a plan to see how the plan was working , to ask them to reconfirm and to improve the plan by considering general comments such as "measuring student learning across a discipline instead of within a course" and "eliminating non-measures of student learning" . The information sought from units not only included planning stage (learning objectives, expected outcomes, assessment methods and tools) but also the application stage (observed outcomes, action(s), impact on student learning) which completes the unit assessment cycle. A Unit Assessment subcommittee reviewed the results of the survey as well as the unit plans, taking into account the developed guidelines and responses from the NCA reviewers of the plan. The input from the committee to the units was provided by using the following form. The Coordinator of Assessment communicated the results of that review to the units that had responded to the survey. It was the Assessment of Student Learning committee's expectation that units would modify their plans based on the input provided and submit the revised plans by Fall of 1998. As a result of these inputs, it is the Assessment of Student Learning Committee’s expectation that "non-measures" of student learning such as completion of courses and assessment within the classroom or course instead of across a discipline will be eliminated from unit plans during the next cycle of the assessment process. A set of discipline assessment plans, including the responses to the above questions, are provided in the appendix.

The results of the discipline assessment process will be collected periodically and disciplines will be given a chance to modify and change their learning objectives, expected outcomes, and assessment methods and tools after the completion of their assessment cycle.

 

 

 

UNIT:

 

REVIEW DATE:

 

Guidelines for Unit Assessment Plans

These guidelines are used by the Student Learning Assessment Committee in reviewing the unit assessment plans of learning objectives/expected outcomes and assessment methods.

Unit Mission/Goals(s):

oYES oNO o UNABLE TO JUDGE Plan includes statement of unit mission/goal

oYES oNO oUNABLE TO JUDGE Unit mission/goal relates to institutional mission

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES/RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Student Learning Objectives/Expected Outcomes:

oYES oNO o UNABLE TO JUDGE Learning objectives/outcomes are stated in terms of important student achievements

(e.g., knowledge, skills, behaviors, competencies, and attitudes)

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Outcomes identified are relevant to mission and goals

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE A reasonable number of outcomes (3-4) is selected

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Outcomes include at least one cognitive-(knowledge) or performance-based

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES/RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Assessment Methods & Tools:

oYES oNO o UNABLE TO JUDGE Provides a detailed description of assessment methods that will be used to measure

expected outcome

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Defines the measure(s) and instruments that will be used for each expected outcome

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Involves content across courses and/or disciplines

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Considers validity of measures and instruments

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Considers reliability of measures and instruments

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES/RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The final elements of the plans are evaluated according to the following guidelines:

Procedure:

oYES oNO o UNABLE TO JUDGE Gives a detailed description of procedure for measuring expected outcome

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Specifies an implementation time line

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Assigns responsibility for data collection and analysis

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Assesses the student learning across the discipline

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Assesses the student learning independently from the course assessment/evaluation

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Describes who will administer the assessment

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Specifies who the assessors are

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Specifies how public assessment results are

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES/RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Possible Use of Observed Outcome and Actions:

oYES oNO o UNABLE TO JUDGE Describes how the results of the assessment will be communicated to faculty

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Identifies mechanisms and processes for using results to improve the student learning

and programs

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Has feedback loops to related university processes (e.g., planning (academic and

nonacademic, curriculum review))

oYES oNO oUNAB LE TO JUDGE Describes how the results of the assessment could change unit mission/goal(s)

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES/RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall:

oYES oNO oUNABLE TO JUDGE Evidence of faculty involvement (planning, implementation, and evaluation stages)

oYES oNO oUNABLE TO JUDGE Evidence of student involvement (planning, implementation, and evaluation stages)

oYES oNO oUNABLE TO JUDGE Plan will provide information that can be used to improve teaching and learning

processes and curricula

oYES oNO oUNABLE TO JUDGE Assessment plan elicit performance with sufficient data to provide for diagnostic,

structured feedback to the student on her strength and weaknesses

oYES oNO oUNABLE TO JUDGE Plan considers effectiveness over time

oYES oNO oUNABLE TO JUDGE Considers effectiveness of important academic processes (e.g., teaching, learning

and advising)

STRENGTHS/WEAKNESSES/RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

 

VI. Assessment of the General Education Program

The two main topics that concerned the determination of the general education assessment were the approach and timing. The Assessment of Student Learning Committee wants to make sure that the decisions made a nd implemented in the General Education assessment are ideas coming from the faculty who are directly involved with the general education. Currently, learning objectives for the different general education requirements are approved by the Campus assembly and published in the University Bulletin. The UMM Assessment of Student Learning Plan states that " To ensure that general education assessment plan is developed and owned by the faculty, approved general education learning objectives will be sent to the individual units and faculty in charge of teaching general education courses in each area and these units will be asked to elaborate learning objectives, produce expected outcomes, and suggest appropriate assessment methods and tools". To develop a detail ed assessment plan for the general education, the Assessment of Student Learning Committee sought the Curriculum Committee's control and input over the proposed process. It asked the Curriculum Committee to determine the most appropriate way to involve t he faculty in shaping expected outcomes and assessment methods for the learning objectives of the General Education component. As a result, the two committees formed the Joint Sub-committee for the Assessment of General (with three faculty members and one student member from each committee comprising the membership.) Since the UMM is in the process of switching to semester system in the fall of 1999, learning objectives which will continue to exist and are not currently in place (but eventually be impleme nted) are included in the assessment areas.

The following table summarizes the learning objectives for the quarter and semester systems and identifies the related units (disciplines) that will elaborate objectives and suggest assessment methods.

Goal/Mission: The first goal of general education is to become familiar with the process of liberal learning--to acquire the intellectual skills, the communication skills, and the framework of know ledge needed for successful advanced work. The second goal is to expand one's intellectual perspectives, gaining enough understanding of the principal areas of human endeavor to be able to continue learning in the future and to have a sense of the limits of one's knowledge. Successful study in a major field, in which one pursues knowledge in depth with the goal of becoming reasonably expert, constitutes the third area required for the B.A. degree.

Process of Liberal Learning

The Process requirements emphasize the development of intellectual skills, the critical and creative thinking skills, and the communication skills needed for future work. The goals of the process requirements are as follows.

Learning Objectives (Quarter System)

Learning Objectives (Proposed for the Semester System)

Comprehensive Assessment

Detailed Assessment

Related Units

Inquiry, a freshman core course. Introduces students to liberal education; students are expected to gain a sense of community, develop skills of intellectual inquiry, and lea rn to be active participants in the learning process.(P1)

Common Course

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(will be included in 2000)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

The Common Experience Task Force

College Writing. Students acquire the basic compositional skills necessary to develop multi-paragraph essays and to write documented papers. Following the introductory course , students develop and apply expository writing skills appropriate to various disciplines. (P2)

College Writing (II.A.). To understand the writing process through invention, organization, drafting, revising, and editing; and develop writers who can write about a range of ideas for a variety of readers.<

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Writing Portfolio

(1999-)

(Annual)

English

Speaking. Students develop the skills and understandings necessary to prepare and deliver effective oral presentations before an audience. Students then learn to apply these skills in oral presentations appropriate in various disciplines.(S)

     

Not in effect

Computing. Students learn to understand the role of computers in society, know how to solve problems using a computer, and how to make productive use of computers to enhance t heir knowledge and skills in a chosen field.(C1, C2)

Ethical and Civic Responsibility (III.4). To broaden and develop students’ capacity to question and reflect upon their own and society’s values and critical responsibilities, and to understand forces, such as technology, which cause us to modify these views and often mandate creation of new ways to solve legal, social and scientific issues.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

C1. Computer Science

Foreign Language. Students are introduced to the grammar, the basic skills of reading, writing, and speaking a language other than their own, and to the cultures of the countr ies speaking that language.

Foreign Language (II.B.). To develop some fluency in the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing in a second language, and critical insight into another culture.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

French, German, Spanish

 

The Expanding Perspectives

The Expanding Perspectives requirements emphasize the development of breadth in a world of diverse peoples, activities, and values, all increasingly related. All Expanding Perspective courses are intended to actively involve students in the following: understanding how knowledge is acquired, engaging in the process of acquiring knowledge, understanding the influences and assumptions that lead to particular perspectives in a given field, engaging in critical and creative thinking and inquiry appropriate to the field, and pursuing connections to knowledge in other disciplines. The goals of specific Expanding Perspectives requirements are as follows.

Learning Objectives (Quarter System)

Learning Objectives (Proposed for the Semester System)

Comprehensive Assessment

Detailed Assessment

Related Units

Group A: The Self and Others. To deepen self-awareness and gain understanding of the forces that shape human interactions.

       

The Self. To encourage the development of self-understanding and an understanding of the forces which shape human interactions. (E1)

Human Behavior, Social Processes and Institutions (III.B.). To increase students’ systematic understanding of themselves as functioning humans, their individual similarities to and differences from others, their awareness of the nature and significance of their conscious experience, and the forces that shape their interpersonal attachments and interactions; or to increase students’ understanding of methods of analyzing modern society or some significant legal, political, economic, religious, social or scientific component of it.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

Anthropol., Education, English, History, French, Interdisciplinary Studies, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Speech

Historical Perspectives. To provide an understanding of the past, the complexity of human affairs, and the way in which various forces--economic, cultural, religious, political, scientific--influence efforts to control the course of these events. (E2)

Historical Perspective (III.A.). To increase students’ understanding of the past, the complexity of human affairs, the ways in which various forces--economic, cultural, religious, political, scientific--influence efforts to control events, and the ways historians verify and interpret their findings.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Historical Perspectives Assessment Test (HPAT)

(1999-)

(Annual)

Art History, English, Geology, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Theatre

Different Cultures. To introduce students to a culture other than their own. (E3)

     

Anthropolo., Education, French, German, History, Humanities, Inter. Stud., Music, Political Science, Sociology, Spanish, Speech

 

Social Institutions. To develop an understanding of a method for analyzing modern society or some significant political, economic, religious, social, or scientific component of it. (E4)

     

Anthropolo., Computer Science, Economics, Education, English, History, Management, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology,

Group B: The Arts. To encourage the understanding of the principles of aesthetic judgment, including the means for analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating the arts produced by others.

     

Art History, Studio Art, Theatre Arts, Music

Analysis and Interpretation of the Arts. To develop an understanding of the principles of aesthetic judgment, including the means for analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating the arts produced by others.(E6)

Communication, Language, Literature, and Philosophy (III.C.). To expand students’ capacity to understand, analyze, discuss, and evaluate discourse concerning the complexity of the human condition through the study of human languages, and works of thought and imagination.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

Art History, English, French, German, Hum., Music, Philosophy, Spanish,

Russian, Theatre

Performance. To introduce students to the creative process through individual performance in an artistic activity such as writing, acting, dance, studio art, and music.(E7)

Artistic Performance(II.D.). To introduce an understanding of the creative process through individual performance, and demonstrate skill in such activities as composition, theatre, dance, studio art, and music.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

Studio Art, English, French, Music, Theatre, Wellness and Sport Science

Arts and Culture. To investigate how cultures shape and are shaped by the arts.(E8)

Fine Arts (III.D.). To develop students’ understanding, analysis and appreciation of the arts.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

Art History, English, History, Hum., Music

The Natural World. To acquaint students with the scientific method as a means of studying the natural world through understanding fundamental scientific concepts and through e ngaging in scientific analysis and experimentation.(E9)

Physical and Biological Science (III.E.). To increase students’ understanding of the structure and dynamics of the physical and biological worlds, and of the scientific method.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

Geology, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics,

 

Abstract Systems. To learn to formulate abstractions, employ proofs, and manipulate symbols in formal systems; to use abstract languages with defined rules of deduction to strengthen the student's abil ity to think logically.(E10)

Mathematical/Logical Reasoning (II.C.). To strengthen students’ ability to formulate abstractions, construct proofs, and utilize symbols in formal systems.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(in effect 1997-)

(Annual)

Abstract Systems Assessment Test (ASAT)

(1998-)

(Annual)

Computer Science, Mathematics, Philosophy

Non-Western Focus.

Students are introduced to cultures other than those of Western European origin, such as the cultures of Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Pacific; the remnants of indigenous cultures of regions presently conside red Western, e.g., American Indian and Australian Aborigine; and non-Western cultures that have been brought to or migrated to the West, e.g., African American, Chicano/Latino, and Asian American

The Global Village (III.F.). To increase students’ understanding of the growing interdependence of nations, peoples and the natural world.

1. Human Diversity: To increase students’ understanding of individual and group differences (e.g. race, gender, class) and their knowledge of the traditions and values of various groups in the United States.

2. People and Environment: To increase students’ understanding of the interrelatedness of human society and the natural world.

3. International Perspective: To increase students’ systematic understanding of national cultures other than those in which they received their prior schooling.

4. Ethical and Civil Responsibilities. To broaden and develop students’ capacity to question and reflect upon their own and society’s values and critical responsibilities, and to understand forces, such as technology, which cause us to modify these views and often mandate creation of new ways to solve legal, social and scientific issues.

General Education Exit Survey/Test

(will be included in 2000)

(Annual)

Detailed Plan will be ready by June 1999

Anthropolo., Economics, Education, History, Hum., Music, Political Science, Sociology, Speech

VI.1. The Comprehensive Assessment of the General Education

1996-97 the Task Force created and implemented an Assessment of Student Learning Exit Survey/Test. This pilot survey/test produced input to the Assessment of Student Learning Committee and tested possible directions that can be followed in the future. Joint Sub-committee for the Assessment of General Education analyzed the results of the pilot survey/test and made some modifications.

The objectives of the Assessment of Student Learning Exit Survey/Test are to:

• learn the students perception and attitudes toward the existing requirements

• learn the activities that they valued and recall on meeting these requirements

• measure the change in their attitudes and expectations

• create a data base that serves as a resource for planning

• help disciplines, Curriculum and Assessment of Student Learning to shape their assessment plan and to meet their assessment needs.

The Comprehensive Assessment Survey/Test provides information about students attitudes and general levels of comprehension. Students assess how well they have achieved the learning objectives and how important the objectives were to them. Their respon ses to open-ended questions asking them to identify the learning activities tied to the specific objectives and the educational outcomes which they experienced offers some insights as to their level of achievement of the objectives.

The target population for the survey/test is the graduating seniors. The audience of the report will be the UMM community, outside institutions and reviewers. In fact, the results of the 1997 pilot survey/test have been posted on the UMM Assessment of Student Learning web page. To increase the participation rate survey/test has been made a part of UMM's existing application for the graduation process. The other incentives that are used and will be used in the future are: creation of a web-site that wil l include the results and actions taken based on the results, (so that the students will be convinced that they are producing an impact on the future of the institution), and a $5 UMM bookstore coupon. The Director of the Assessment of Student Learning w ill make a presentation at the existing UMM Graduation meeting to emphasize the importance of participating in the survey/test.

The Assessment of Student Learning Exit Survey/Test is designed as an electronic survey. The seniors first received an e-mail message from the chair of the Assessment of Student Learning committee which included the address of the electronic survey. Th e seniors are also given a chance of filling out the paper survey/test. The response rate for the 1998 survey/test is close the 70%. The same procedure will be repeated every spring quarter(semester). The Assessment of Student Learning committee and rela ted sub-committee will analyze the results and make the necessary changes during the fall quarter(semester). A copy of the survey/test has been included in the Appendices. Also the electronic version of the survey/test can be viewed at http://www.morris.umn.edu/committees/asl/gened.html.

 

VI.2. Detailed Assessment of the General Education Components

The Joint Sub-committee for the Assessment of General Education discussed a general approach to the detailed assessment of the UMM general education program committee began with a discussion of general approaches and agreed to focus on those components which are judged to be of highest priority and/or most susceptible to effective assessment. The following criteria were used for the selection of components: student rating of importance (1997 General Education Se nior Survey); faculty rating of importance (1998-99 General Education Faculty Survey); similarity between quarter and semester requirement; degree to which stated objectives are measurable; size of faculty involved; extent to which students and faculty fe lt that current practice lacks success.

Using these criteria, College Writing, Historical Perspectives and Abstract Systems have been selected as the components that will be assessed at the first step. All the other components will have a detailed plan and an assessment process in effect by June of 1999, before the UMM moves to the semester system.

The detailed general education assessment administration structure will be consist of a committee of faculty who are teaching the courses in that area (Component Assessment committee), Joint Sub-committee for the Assessment of General Education, Curric ulum Committee, and Assessment of Student Learning Committee.

Parallel to the approach used with unit assessment plans the detailed assessment of the general education components will be designed by the core faculty responsible for the component. Component Assessment committees will elaborate learning objectives which the Campus Assembly has established for each component, produce expected outcomes, suggest appropriate assessment methods and tools, specify the ways in which the assessment information would effect subsequent instruction, implement the assessment p rocess, analyze the results and proposed actions that will lead to the improvements on the students' leaning. Proposed plans and reports on the implementations will be discussed at Joint Sub-committee for the Assessment of General Education meeting and be directed to the Assessment of Student Learning committee and Curriculum committee for further action based on the recommendations of the Component Assessment committee. This administrative structure is applied to the three components selected and led to the following three detailed general education assessment plans:

 

VI.2.1. ASSESSMENT PLAN FOR COLLEGE WRITING

COMPONENT ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE: English Faculty. Functions of the committee are to develop, implement and interpret the "College Writing Assessment". Prepare a report on the results and make recommen dations to the related committees.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE

Quarter System: Students acquire the basic compositional skills necessary to develop multi-paragraph essays and to write documented papers. Following the introductory course, students develop and apply expository writing skills appropriate to various disciplines. (P2)

Semester System: To understand the writing process through invention, organization, drafting, revising, and editing; and develop writers who can write about a range of ideas for a variety of readers.

EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES

Students will:

• Demonstrate that they can develop paper topics, focus the topic, and create a thesis [invention]

• Demonstrate that they can construct coherent essays with logical structures and transitions [organization]

• Demonstrate that they can edit and revise a paper by submitting multiple drafts [drafting, editing, revising]

SUGGESTED METHODS OF ASSESSMENT

Choose at random 30-40 students who, by the end of their first year, have taken College Writing. Ask them to volunteer to submit copies of all their written work from the sophomore through the senior year. The writing staff would then examine t hese portfolios to see what the students' subsequent work indicates about the education outcomes of college writing. (Some

significant methodological and administrative issues would need to be examined, however, if we choose this approach.)

EFFECTS ON THE WRITING PROGRAM

The results would help us modify or significantly alter the program. For example, if the portfolios should indicate that basic writing problems persisted in our students, we would need to address such issues in our courses in more concerted ways t han we have. Or the portfolios might indicate that certain kinds of writing assignments are more common than others, and we could revise the program with that in mind.

VI.2.2. ASSESSMENT PLAN FOR HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES

COMPONENT ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE: History Faculty. Functions of the committee are to develop, implement and interpret the "Historical Perspectives Assessment". Prepare a report on the results and make recommendations to the related committees.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE

Quarter System: To provide an understanding of the past, the complexity of human affairs, and the way in which various forces--economic, cultural, religious, political, scientific--influence efforts to control the course of these events. (E2 )

Semester System: To increase students’ understanding of the past, the complexity of human affairs, the ways in which various forces--economic, cultural, religious, political, scientific-- influence efforts to control events, and the ways hi storians verify and interpret their findings.

EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES

1. Demonstrate familiarity with an historical era other than one's own.

2. Demonstrate an acquaintance with the complexity of the past.

3. Be able to recognize and analyze an historical interpretation.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

Ask a random selection of seniors to write brief essays on the following topics:

#1 identify an historical era which you have studied and describe the features that distinguish the earlier era from today

#2 Historical perspectives offer an awareness of the complexity of the past. Taking an historical event with which you are familiar, describe its causes and consequences.

#3 Summarize and critique a specific interpretation [e.g., Marxist, idealist, feminist, etc.,] of an historical event with which you are familiar.

Students will be asked to write these essays sometime during the first half of the winter quarter. In the spring quarter prior to the biennial Bulletin revision, faculty will review the responses and make appropriate recommendations for revisions in c urriculum and/or instruction.

The core faculty will read these essays, being attentive to the range in quality of responses as indicated by the degrees of accuracy and specificity. The expectation is that, over time and as a result of assessment, the quality of the responses will improve. At this point, the faculty are uncertain as to what proportion of seniors might be unable even to answer such questions.

EFFECTS ON THE HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES COMPONENT

This approach will allow the faculty to draw more informed conclusions about the degree to which students have retained the core historical understandings proposed by this general education component. Feedback in regard to the level of understandi ng in each of the expected outcomes will influence subsequent curricular and pedagogical practice. The process will also lead to improved statements of learning objectives and educational outcomes.

VI.2.3. ASSESSMENT PLAN FOR ABSTRACT SYSTEMS

Since abstract systems requirement can be met by taking mathematics, logic or statistics course a special approach has been followed.

COMPONENT ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE: Mathematics, Philosophy, and Statistics Faculty. Functions of the committee are to develop, implement and interpret the "Abstract Systems Assessment". Prepare a report on the results and make recommendat ions to the related committees.

LEARNING OBJECTIVE

Quarter System: To learn to formulate abstractions, employ proofs, and manipulate symbols in formal systems; to use abstract languages with defined rules of deduction to strengthen the student's ability to think logically.(E10)

Semester System: To strengthen students’ ability to formulate abstractions, construct proofs, and utilize symbols in formal systems.

EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES

Students will:

• be able to see the logical connections between everyday phenomenon (e.g. music) and abstract systems

• be aware of logical reasoning and symbolic languages

• be able to use and criticize numerically based arguments

be able to write, read proofs critically and make a distinction between a proof and an example

• be able to understand, interpret and criticize statistical results

know all the steps of a statistical analysis and implement correctly

• know the difference between inductive and deductive reasoning

• be able to distinguish between a valid and invalid deductive argument and to prove invalidity by providing a counterexample

SUGGESTED METHODS OF ASSESSMENT

The assessment instruments for the abstract system component is a the Abstract Systems Assessment Test (ASAT). ASAT will include parallel questions from mathematics, logic and statistics. A copy of the test for the 1998 assessment is included in th e appendices. The test will be prepared/revised during the spring quarter and implemented during the fall quarter. Abstract System committee will prepare a report during the winter quarter and submit to the Assessment of Student Learning committee. The te st will be given to the randomly selected students from the populations who met the requirement and who did not. To eliminate the confounding effect a stratified random sampling will be used. Major will be the key element to determine the strata.

EFFECTS ON THE INSTRUCTION OF THE ABSTRACT SYSTEMS COMPONENT

The results would help us to measure the students learning in Abstract Systems, determine the pattern on how they are meeting the requirement, understand how meeting the requirement by taking X instead of Y is affecting their learning and assess ef fectiveness of the coursework (by testing both incoming and graduating students). The assessment can lead to a change in general structure of the abstract systems courses.

VII. Assessment of the Co-curricular Academic Programs

The UMM Assessment of Student Learning Plan includes units other than the disciplines which are extensively involved with the students’ learning. These units are the Academic Assistance Center, Advising, Athle tics, Campus Compact, Computing Services, Gateway Program, Honors Program, International Program, Library, Minority Student Program, MAP/MAI Program, Study Abroad Program, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, and University College. These units w ere asked to fill out a specially designed form (a copy of the form is included in the appendix). Inclusion of these units in the assessment process not only helps to produce a comprehensive plan but also provide channels to integrate different areas whe re student learning taking place. It will also make it easier for the assessment results to have an impact on the campus planning and resource allocation by creating a common structure and language. Examples of the learning objectives for some of the uni ts in this category are given below:

Study Abroad

to provide an education that prepares students to become global citizens by expanding their world view and deepening their understanding of world issues.

Morris Academic Partners Program

to enhance students’ intellectual competence and increase their interest in graduate or professional study.

Advising

Set up connections between students and faculty outside the classroom to contribute to a successful educational experience

Academic Assistance Center

To help students achieve their academic goals, whatever they might be.

Honors Program.

To encourage active learning through writing, experimentation, creative activity, or discussion and, if at all appropriate, emphasize primary texts and materials. Honors students must do original work, work that demonstrate s a consistently high level of academic commitment. The senior honors project is a substantial scholarly or creative work that shows the student’s engagement in the intellectual life of the discipline(s) in which the project is completed.

 

VIII. Integration of Assessment of Student Learning Activities With Other Campus processes

To make assessment a part of the academic culture of the institution it is essential to integrate assessment activities with the other academic activities. Being engaged in a process of moving into a semester system in Fall of 1999, opens up possibilities for this integration. The Curriculum Committee added a new part on assessment to the New and Revised Course Proposal Form. This part asks for a clear and brief statement of the goals of the course and suggestions on how faculty will assess how successful this course is in achieving the described goals. Also, the Discipline Objectives and Requirements Form includes the following two questions: What should students learn in this discipline? and how does discipl ine measure the extent to which student learning meets disciplinary goals and objectives? These two forms are prepared for all courses and disciplines for the transition to the semester system and will be approved by the Curriculum Committee and the Campu s Assembly.

The proposed assessment plan creates a structure which will allow the assessment results to give feedback to discipline, division, and support services 5-year plans, program reviews, and all other decision making un its of the Campus.

As it can be seen from the table given in the appendix, UMM is collecting extensive and comprehensive information on institutional effectiveness through various methods and tools. The Assessment of Student Learni ng committee is in a process of developing ways of redirecting some of these efforts to assess student learning. The committee is also interacting with the NCA Self-Study committee to

increase the impact of the assessment process on the planning and resource allocation process of the institution.

Based on comments from academic units who found it difficult to connect their learning objectives to the campus Mission Statement as currently written, the Committee requested that the Planning and Resources Committee revise the Campus mission statemen t to address more clearly the place of student learning. That request is under consideration.

UMM Assessment of Student Learning Plan calls for a close integration between the Faculty Center for the Learning & Teaching and Assessment of Student Learning. In this direction, the Fall Faculty Workshop focused on Assessment of Student Learning ; the videotape orientation, Assessment 101, was scheduled for multiple viewings; and the Faculty Center added assessment materials to its library.

 

IX. Administration of the Assessment Process

The assessment of student learning is ultimately a faculty responsibility. The assessment process is to be faculty designed and supervised, with a committee of the Campus Assembly having major responsibility for the program. On November 18, 1996, the UMM Assessment plan and a constitutional By-law amendment proposal establishing the Assessment of Student Learning Committee was presented to the Campus assembly by the Executive Committee for information. The By-law a mendment proposal is given below:

By-law Amendment Proposal

Rationale: In keeping with its effort to fulfill its educational mission, UMM seeks to implement a process whereby assessment of student learning occurs in an ongoing manner at every appropriate level and informs the development of educational poli cy and practice. A standing committee is necessary to assure that this process operates effectively. This committee will help UMM meet Criteria Three from the NCA Accreditation standards.

Membership: The Assessment of Student Learning Committee consists of ten members, including one faculty member from the Division of Education, and two each from the Divisions of Humanities, Science & Mathematics, and Social Sciences, and two students. The Dean or his designee will serve ex officio.

Powers: The Assessment of Student Learning Committee oversees and provides support to all aspects of the assessment process, receives all data and materials generated by assessment activities, recommends improvements in the assessment program an d disseminates reports on the results of assessment and the initiatives based on assessment intended to improve student learning.

Technical restraints within the UMM Constitution prevented the operation of a new standing committee until the 1997-98 academic year. To allow the process to move forward during the 1996-97 academic year, the Exe cutive Committee recommended to the Campus Assembly the creation of a second Task Force on the Assessment of Student Learning. It solicited nominations for membership from the Division chairs and then forwarded a slate to the Campus Assembly. The Assembly approved the recommendation and selected the membership for the Task Force at its meeting of November 18, 1996. The immediate duties of the Task Force were to review the 1995 Assessment Plan in light of the NCA referee critique and other relevant informa tion, to consult with the faculty and appropriate committees in its review of the plan and bring an Assessment Plan to the Campus Assembly for its approval in Spring, 1997. The Task Force, in carrying the responsibilities of the forthcoming Standing Commi ttee, was also to guide the development and implementation of the assessment process, facilitate unit involvement, provide relevant results to the other governance committees (Curriculum, General Education, Campus resources and Planning, and Scholastic ar e the most germane) and recommend necessary actions to the Campus Assembly.

On February 3, 1997 the Campus Assembly approved the by-law amendment proposal establishing the Assessment of Student Learning Committee as of September, 1997. Also, on April 14, 1997, the Campus Assembly discussed and approved unanimously the plan fo r the assessment of student learning at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

The proposed structure of the administration of the assessment process and the place of the Assessment Committee is given in figures 5 and 6. The UMM Assessment of Student Learning model decentralizes decision-making. The function of the Assessment C ommittee is to assure that each unit has answered the necessary questions and, where appropriate raise questions for clarification. The unit has the responsibility for design and implementation.

The present model proposes that accountability and quality control comes through the public exercise of responsibility by the unit faculty. In addition to demands of professional integrity, a practical incentive for taking the process seriously will o perate via the value of credible assessment approaches in order to buttress the individual unit's efforts to secure approval of policy changes and resources. The challenge to the Assessment of Student Learning Committee and to the units is to refine this model so that assessment activities. including report and review practices, are integral to rather than distractions from the instructional activities of the faculty.

At the present time, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean is responsible for much of the institutional research, evaluation, and appraisal which occurs on the Morris Campus. This activ ity will continue, since it plays an essential role in resource allocation and in appraising institutional effectiveness for self studies and accreditation reviews. For this reason, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will coordinate a nd provide support for the Committee for the Assessment of Student Learning. On November, 1996 the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs named Engin Sungur, Associate Professor of Mathematics, as Interim Director of Assessment. In June 1997, Engin Sungur i s appointed as the Director of the Assessment.

The Task Force discussed the budgeting issues related with the assessment of student learning activities and supported the proposal prepared by the Dean Schuman submitted to the central administration. The proposal asked for a support for a unique and innovative "Center for Student Learning and Faculty Teaching" which would bring together these two efforts administratively, as, in fact, they are inseparably linked in actuality: how the faculty teaches is obviously a major factor in how stude nts learn; improving the quality of teaching is helped immeasurably by understanding how students are learning. It was proposed to create a unified office for both these functions, with an integrated support and material budget, and two cooperating facult y coordinators. A single support staff person would serve the integrated program. Joint programs would be offered, and would continue as well the new, and newly successful, individual efforts in assessment of student learning and faculty development. The total budget proposed for the Center for the two years is $190,500. The proposal was accepted and the center started to function as it is described in the proposal.

 

Figure 5. The General Structure for the Administration of the Assessment Process

To function effectively and efficiently the Assessment of Student Learning Committee has four sub-committees. The detailed structure of the Assessment of Student Learning committee is given in Figure 6.

Figure 6. The Detailed Structure of the Assessment of Student Learning Committee

External Models Sub-committee

Membership: three faculty and one student member of the Assessment of Student Learning committee

Duties: To look for external assessment models and compare with the UMM model, to propose changes in the existing model based on comparative analysis.

Unit Assessment Sub-committee

Membership: director of the assessment, two faculty and one student member of the Assessment of Student Learning committee

Duties: To design discipline and co-curricular academic program assessment processes survey and input forms, to evaluate planning and application stages of the discipline and co-curricular academic program assessment processes.

Joint Sub-committee for Assessment of General Education

Membership: chair of Curriculum committee, chair of Assessment of Student Learning committee, director of assessment, one faculty member from Curriculum committee, one faculty member from outside the membership of the two committees, one stu dent from either one of the two committees.

Duties: To develop a comprehensive and detailed assessment plans for the general education, to design assessment instruments and oversee their implementations, to produce reports on the implementation for the Curriculum and Assessment committees .

Assessment of Assessment Sub-committee

Membership: one faculty from outside the membership of the Assessment of Student Learning committee, two faculty and one student member of the Assessment of Student Learning committee

Duties: To assess the UMM Assessment Plan, to develop and implement instruments to measure the overall effectiveness of the assessment process, to produce a mechanism that will provide information on the opinion and attitude of the faculty towa rd assessment and help to see the changes on opinions and attitudes throughout the years, to clarify the needs of the units, to produce reports to improve the assessment process.

X. Assessment of assessment Process

The UMM Assessment Plan aims to support and strengthen assessment as part of the academic culture. This objective can not be achieved without getting constant and systematic input from the faculty. Faculty opinio n and attitude toward the assessment should be measured and changes in opinions and attitudes should be documented. This assessment will also surface the needs and help the assessment administration to take necessary actions towards the improvement. The s ub-committee on Assessment of Assessment will survey faculty systematically to serve this purpose. In fact, the 1997-98 sub-committee on Assessment of Assessment surveyed discipline coordinators to gain a sense of ways to improve the process of assessment . The results of that survey raised several important questions for review by next year's committee. Also, assessment of assessment will give a chance to measure the change of attitude of faculty throughout the years and carry out a cost-and-benefit anal ysis of the assessment process.

The report that the sub-committee generated is included in the Appendices. Also, the report was made available to all UMM community through the Assessment WEB-site. The Assessment of Assessment Process will be carried out every Spring which would provi de a staring point and invaluable input for the following year's committee.

 

XI. Timetable for Implementation

A detailed timeline for the first cycle of the assessment process, that is completed, is given in the following table. The first cycle included stages such as organization, planning, application, dissemination, a nd overall assessment of the assessment of students’ learning process. The organization stage consisted of activities which maximized the faculty involvement and aimed to create an atmosphere which will make the assessment a crucial part of the inst itutions academic culture. Two of the key activities at this stage were the 1996-97 Assessment of Students’ Learning Planning Exercises and Surveys, and 1997-98 Assessment of Student Learning Planning and Implementation Surveys which were sent to all the faculty, and setting up a web site. The UMM Assessment of Learning web site includes progress report, surveys & exercises, unit assessment plans, Task Force And Assessment Committee meeting minutes, links to the assessment related sites, and an nouncements on assessment related faculty development activities. The site also includes the results of the 1997 General Education Assessment Pilot Survey/Test and Assessment of Assessment Survey. In the future it will also include the results of the asse ssments that will be received from the units. This electronic page will increase the communication between units and create an environment that motivates and encourages units toward the assessment of student learning.

At the next stage each unit developed their assessment plan based on the guidelines that were developed by the Assessment Committee and submitted them to the Committee by April, 1997. The unit assessment plans r eviewed by the Task Force on Assessment. The process has been repeated during the 1997-98 academic year. The units revised their plans based on the input from the Assessment of Student Learning committee and provided additional information about the appl ication stage of the process. The Assessment of Student Learning committee provided a written and oral input to the units to increase the quality of the plans. It is the expectation of the Committee that the units will consider this input during the imple mentation of the next assessment cycle. With this, the dissemination stage of the process will begin. The assessment results are being disseminated across the units and the Committee is helping to move the results through the appropriate channels so that substantial impact on the improvement of the students’ learning can take place and appropriate input for the campus planning and resource allocation can be generated.

The last stage of the first cycle was the overall assessment of the UMM Assessment of Students’ Learning Process. The Assessment of Students’ Learning Committee set up a Assessment of Assessment sub-committee which will continue to exist in the future. This unit determined the problems, discussed successes and failures, and carried out a preliminary academic cost/benefit analysis. The report on the overall assessment of the processes was prepared and distributed to the faculty and all other related units including the NCA(see Section XI). This stage will be the key component of the following cycles and also attempt to provide some evidence on the impact of the process on the students’ learning,

The following cycles will include planning revision and updating, application, dissemination, and overall assessment of the process stages. The length of each cycle will be a year. Based on the responses from the units an Assessment Report is prepared for each unit. A sample of such a report is included in the appendices. The report provides information on all stages of the unit assessment including application, problems and needs. Every year, during each cycle, the units will receive a copy of this r eport and asked to make revisions based on the Committee's input, and provide new information on the implementation of the process. Each cycle will start with the input from the previous cycle such as general education assessment, assessment of assessment , and unit assessment reports from the related sub-committees and end with the assessment activities for developing the required inputs for the next cycle. The detailed time table for the assessment of the general education si given in section VI.

Summary of the Assessment Time Table

Organization

Nov. ‘96-

Jan. ‘97

Set up Assessment Committee

Feb. ‘97

Meet with Committees

Jan. ‘97

Create a Web Site

Dec. ‘96

Budget for the assessment Activities

Jan. ‘97

Planning

Jan. ‘97-

May. ‘97

Planning Survey & Exercise (Disciplines)

Feb. ‘97

Unit Assessment Plans

Disciplines

Co-curricular Academic Programs

Apr. ‘97

General Education Assessment Plan

June ‘97

Integration with Institutional Effectiveness

May. ‘97

Implementation

Oct. ‘97-

Nov. ‘97

Unit Implementation Reports

Disciplines

Co-curricular Academic Programs

Nov. ‘97

General Education

Nov. ‘97

Dissemination

Nov. ‘97-

Dec. ‘97

Dissemination of Assessment results across the units

Dec. ‘97

Moving the Results through Appropriate Channels

Dec. ‘97

Overall Assessment of the Assessment Process

Oct. ‘97-

Dec. ‘97

Determination of Problems

Dec. ‘97

Looking for Evidence on Impact of Assessment on Student Learning

Dec. 97

Academic Cost & Benefit Analysis

Dec. ‘97

Beginning of the Next Cycle

Jan. ‘97

 

 

The Time Table for an Assessment Cycle

 

 

Planing revision & Updating

Implementation

Dissemination

Overall

Assessment of the Assessment Process & Faculty Development

January

Unit Assessment Planning & Implementation Reports

• Statistical Analysis of Abstract Systems Assessment Test (ASAT)

 

• Workshops, Meetings and Video Presentations on Assessment

February

   

March

 

Preparation of Assessment Report on ASAT

• Input to the Units on their Assessment Planning & Implementation Reports

 

April

   

Implementation of the Assessment of Assessment Survey

May

 

General Education Exit Survey/Test

• Historical Perspectives Assessment Test (HPAT)

• Implementation of Other Detailed General Education Assessment Instruments

 

 

• Analysis of the Abstract Systems Assessment Report

• Analysis of the Assessment of Assessment Survey by the Sub-committee

June

Preparation of Detailed General Education assessment Instruments (HPAT, ASAT, etc.)

 

• Preparation of Yearly Assessment Progress Report

 

July

 

Statistical Analysis of General Education Exit Survey/Test by the General Education Joint Sub-committee

• Statistical Analysis of HPAT

 

August

     

September

 

Preparation of the reports on the Detailed Assessment of the General Education

• Analysis of the General Education & Unit Assessment Reports by Appropriate Committees

• Actions Based on Assessment Results

• Workshops, Meetings and Video Presentations on Assessment

October

 

Analysis of the Assessment of Assessment Sub-committee Report & Actions

November

 

Abstract Systems Assessment Test (ASAT)

December

     

APPENDICES

List of Units *

Disciplines *

Programs *

Committees *

• Some of the Current Activities Related with *

Institutional (Indirect Measures) *

Discipline/program level(Some examples) *

• Summary of the Discipline Assessment Methods and Tools *

• Discipline Assessment *

Art History *

Studio Art *

Biology *

Chemistry *

Computer Science *

Economics *

Elementary Education *

English *

French *

Gen Ed Web *

Geology *

German *

History *

Honors Program *

Latin American Area Studies *

Liberal Arts for the Human Services *

Managment *

Mathematics *

Music *

Philosophy *

Physics *

Political Science *

Secondary Education *

Sociology & Anthropology *

Spanish *

Speech Communication *

Theatre *

Wellness and Sport Science-Coaching *

• 1997-98 Assessment of Students’ Learning Planning & Implementation Survey *

• 1996-97 Assessment of Students’ Learning Planning Exercise and Survey *

• 1996-97 Assessment of Students’ Learning Planning Exercise and Survey *

• Form for the Assessment of Students' Learning: Unit Plans for the Disciplines (An Example) *

• Form for the Assessment of Students' Learning: Unit Plans for the Co-curricular Programs *

• 1997 General Education Assessment Pilot Exit Survey/Test *

• 1998 General Education Assessment Exit Survey/Test *

• General Education Assessment Faculty and Sub-committee Surveys *

• The Model for the Detailed Assessment of the General Education Abstract Systems Requirement *

Assessment of Assessment Sub-committee Report 198

List of Units

Disciplines

Art History

Geology

Social Science

Studio Art

German

Sociology

Biology

History

Spanish

Economics & Management

Latin American Areas Studies

Speech Communication

Chemistry

Liberal Arts for the Human Services

Theater Arts

Computer Science

Mathematics

Wellness and Sport Science

Elementary Education

Music

 

Secondary Education*

Philosophy

 

English

Physics

 

European Studies

Political Science

 

French

Psychology

 

Programs

Academic Assistance Center

International Program

Advising

Library

Athletics

Minority Student Program

Campus Compact

MAP/MAI Program

Computing Services

Study Abroad Program

Gateway Program

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

Honors Program

University College

Committees

Campus Resources and Planning Committee

Minority Experience Committee

Curriculum Committee

Freshman Year Experience Committee

Scholastic Committee

International Program Committee

General Education Committee

Honors Program Committee

Teacher Education Committee

 

 





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