Assessment of Student Learning

DATE: February 19, 1997
SUBJECT: Minutes of the Ninth Meeting of the Task Force on Assessment of Students' Learning
PRESENT: Bert Ahern, Edith Borchardt, Jim Cotter, Carol Marxen, Dean Sam Schuman, Engin Sungur
ABSENT: Eric Bass, Tom Johnson, Nat Hart

The Task Force on Assessment of Students' Learning met on February 19, 1997 at 4 pm. in Education 211.

Approval of Minutes: The minutes for meeting # 7 approved as is. Carol Marxen motioned to approve the minutes and Jim Cotter seconded it. The vote was all in favor, no opposed, and no abstentions.

Discussion: General Education Assessment

Two things to be aware of when discussing General Education Assessment is the approach and timing. The task force wants to make sure that the decisions made and implemented in the General Education Assessment are ideas coming from people who will be dealing with General Education and not from administrators and others further up the chain of command. One way to do this would be to give the General Education objectives to either the individual units or to the faculty in charge of teaching General Education classes for reviewing. After some discussion, the consensus was to give the objectives to the individual units and ask them to pass the appropriate data along to the faculty teaching the General Education classes. The task force would then follow up by talking to the faculty in charge of General Education classes to make sure they received and understood the objectives. Since the entire University is in the process of switching to semesters in the fall of 1999, objectives that are not currently in place (but will eventually be implemented) will be included in the list of General Education objectives.

The other concern was the timing of the General Education Assessment. Because units are currently working on converting to semesters, it does not make sense to do assessment on General Education when the entire system will be changing in a couple of years. It was suggested that the TFASL talk to the General Education Committee and send NCA the plan for General Education Assessment but wait to do the assessment until after the plan has been implemented.

Dean Schuman made a motion to give an outlined proposal of the General Education outcomes to the General Education Committee and have them forward the proposal to the individual units. The units could then forward the proposal to the individual faculty members in charge of General Education classes. NCA would get a copy of the final proposal with an explanation telling them the assessment would wait until the semester conversion has occurred.
Edith Borchardt seconded the motion and the vote was all in favor, no opposed, and no abstentions.

Another vote was taken on whether the task force should deal, in principle, with the Honors objectives in the same way they decided to deal with the General Education objectives. The vote was all in favor, no opposed, no abstentions.

There was also discussion about the Common Course. The TFASL decided there were still too many undecided factors with how and what the Common Course will include to decide on a general plan for assessment or objectives. Engin Sungur will talk informally to Jooinn Lee, the Chair of Common Experiences Task Force, to get some more information. The task force felt the Common Course must have a clear statement of exactly what students need to get from the course. The task force is interested in helping with the assessment on the course and eventually having control over the Common Course.

Feedback to Programs

A statement will be sent out to the individual units stating the following information:

1) Thank you for the surveys.

2) Assessment on this campus is being performed by the majority of the units.

3) Any questions the units have asked the TFASL, or if the TFASL has questions for the units, they will be included in that unit's individual letter.

Each of the task force members will be going through the surveys and will look for any questions they have regarding that unit's assessment process. At the next meeting, the task force will discuss these questions and include them in the informational statement given to each unit. One question that will be asked of each of the units is how they plan on using the assessment data gathered in the future. Information on how to reach the web page for the assessment process will be given to each of the units so they can keep track of what is going on.

Request for Funding

Dean Schuman talked to the Vice Chancellor and the Chancellor about the possibility of getting some money set aside for the assessment process and a budget. They both agreed that money is needed, and it will be included in the next budget cycle (next summer). Some of the expenses incurred this year may be carried into next year's budget.

Behmler Representative

Dean Schuman made the announcement that he would have Nancy Mooney replace him as the Behmler representative on the Student Assessment Committee. Since Nancy Mooney worked in Institutional Research, he felt she would be more valuable to the committee then he would. After some discussion as to whose particular field of knowledge would be most valuable to the committee in the long run, the task force decided to discuss the issue in greater depth at the next TFASL meeting (which neither Nancy Mooney nor Dean Schuman will attend).
To be discussed at the next TFASL meeting:

1) Discuss whether Nancy Mooney of Dean Schuman should be the permanent Behmler representative on the Assessment of Student Learning Committee.

2) Bring questions about unit's surveys and their assessment practices to discuss with the rest of the task force.

submitted by Julie Brotzler