Assessment of Student Learning

DATE/TIME:Wednesday, November 26, 1997

8:00 AM in the Moccasin Flower Room

SUBJECT:Minutes of the Fourth Meeting of the Committee on Assessment of Student Learning
PRESENT:Bert Ahern (Chair), Mary Elizabeth Bezanson, Jim Cotter, Mario French, Tom Johnson, Carol Marxen, Erica Rosch, Engin Sungur (Coordinator of Assessment)
ABSENT:Aaron O'Leary , Sam Schuman (Dean)


Report of Unit Survey Subcommittee - Sungur

Report of the External Models Subcommittee - Bezanson

Report of the General Education Subcommittee - Ahern

Discussion of the Timetable for Winter Quarter


Revised Unit Implementation Survey (Mathematics Program) - Sungur

A Model for Assessment of General Education - Sungur

Minutes of second and third meetings approved.

Report of Unit Survey Subcommittee - Sungur

The subcommittee is asking approval of a revised form as well as a plan of distribution. They want a follow-up survey sent to units without saying any one was unacceptable the first time. General information (including case studies) is now in Appendices and optional. The survey will be customized for each unit and there will be a cover memo with NCA general questions and concerns. There will be no blanks showing up on the Web; only headings where there is information given.

Referred to page 11 of the Plan for the Assessment of Student Learning - Progress Report II April, 1997. This gives definitions as to objectives and outcomes. "Learning objectives will flow from the unit's mission and goals and will be detailed enough to cover the different functions of the unit." "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."

Referred also to page 14 for guidelines for unit assessment plans. "Student Learning Objectives/Expected Outcomes: Learning objectives/outcomes are stated in terms of important student achievements (e.g., knowledge, skills, behaviors, competencies, and attitudes). Outcomes identified are relevant to mission and goals. A reasonable number of outcomes (3-4) is selected. Outcomes include at least one cognitive (knowledge) or performance-based.

Discussion followed:

Wide variation in quality of plans according to NCA. It is not that every program has to have the right answers, but that they are taking it seriously. It is a process that will be repeated many times.

There is a concern about frustration of faculty. How can the ASL committee help? Are we giving them too little information/not enough guidance? Some feel they need more definite guidelines. Will a listing actually help people? Can find examples now from several unit plans on the Web.

Motion made/seconded/accepted to send this revised follow-up survey to units with cover memo.

Report of the External Models Subcommittee - Bezanson

Looked at Boulder's and Dordt College's systems (assessment methods used by academic units). Dordt College is considered by NCA to have a good assessment plan. Are we looking at whether people are taking assessment seriously (are they all working at it) or whether the programs are actually working?

Referred to pages 37-38 of Progress Report II for Summary of the Discipline Assessment Methods and Tools. UMM assessment is not only because of NCA. We are always concerned with what students are learning and how we can better it. Is NCA looking at overall effectiveness to see if students are learning what we want them too? Or is it the seriousness and commitment of the school?

Next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 3 at 8:00 AM.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 AM