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 Assessment of Student Learning

CASL - 12 December 2012

Present: Shannon Godsey, Jeni Eltink, Jerry Pepper, Tracy Bolen, Julia Williams, Mick McComber, Jim Klueg, Richard Davis, and Eve Browning

Shannon introduced Eve Browning as the new CLA representative, provided a summary of the Peer Review and invited discussion. 

Data from the peer review indicate improvement in all six areas measured using the peer review rubric.  CASL members impressions of the event suggest overall improvement in assessment on campus including increased awareness, more effective plans, programs identifying problems and knowing how to solve them, gaining meaningful feedback and best practices from colleagues, and using UMD assessment as preparation for disciplinary accreditation.  They did identify areas of concern including how to assist programs that are creating or re-creating assessment plans, how to address assessment in departments with multiple programs, and how to manage assessment in programs where faculty are housed across several departments. 

Shannon reported all but one of the feedback forms included a positive review of the activity—the neutral review suggested the peer review activity should be limited to the department level.  Eve reported the Philosophy PAL did not report a positive experience and suggested switching tables half way through.  Jim stated limiting reviews to the department would eliminate the opportunity for sharing best practices.  There was discussion about co-curricular programs having difficulty separating learning assessment from other types of assessment and whether to focus on student employees.  The group confirmed the peer review should be repeated next year.

Shannon provided a summary of the HLC Assessment Academy Results Forum and five suggested action items:

  • A pre-planned and well advertised focused professional development plan
  • Intentional student involvement
  • Moving forward on assessment in Liberal Education
  • Following up in a timely and meaningful way following the Peer Review
  • Creating a succession and communication plan for assessment on campus

All CASL members agreed a student representative should be invited to CASL.  Jerry reiterated his support for better student awareness and involvement in assessment on campus--we have the opportunity to hear the students’ voice and be accountable to students and their learning.

Shannon reported there were three faculty members at the Assessment in Liberal Education Orientation sessions last week.  Suggestions for getting greater participation included contacting the SFA Dean and direct contact with possible faculty.  Jerry suggested having at least as many faculty involved as we had in the pilot; Eve suggested recruiting until will get a proportionate number of faculty members for the number of courses being taught in the target categories.

Re: succession and communication, Jerry indicated the need for an outline for methods of communicating information campus wide and sharing positive results.  Jim suggested an article in the Statesman.

A grant proposal from CLA was reviewed and discussed. The proposal was not approved because it did not suggest special circumstances outside the expectations of program student learning assessment.  It was recommended to seek funding through the college.

Jerry led discussion about the culture or feelings of assessment on campus now that we have completed the HLC Assessment Academy.  Overall comments were positive: Jim stated general acceptance of the process and purpose of student learning assessment; Richard indicated we have a better understanding of the language and have moved passed having to define terminology every time there is discussion about assessment, plans are being followed and we are at a place where we can determine was is productive and what isn’t.  The peer review was worthwhile in helping determine what is productive and meaningful and what isn’t.  Julia said it has forced us to align our efforts and work less in silos, which has been beneficial in eliminating unnecessary duplication of efforts.  We have not yet reached the vision of assessment as a means to continuous improvement, but we are heading in the right direction. Completing our Academy project means we are responsible for maintaining momentum in assessment efforts and it will be helpful for administration to confirm higher expectations for assessment practices.  Jeni shared examples of seeing learning manifested in student life areas—a priority for co-curricular programs.  The campus needs to know we’re making progress and we need to prioritize successes.  There was a recommendation to hold a special summit for programs without plans or who are struggling to create meaningful plans.

Shannon asked CASL members to look at a few assessment websites ahead of time so we could discuss what would be good to include in the redesign of UMD’s assessment site.  Recommendations included:

  • Focus on celebration of successes and highlights
  • Multiple audiences: splash page that presents choices and various paths for various audiences (outside visitors, liaisons, etc.)
  • Graphic to show how the process comes together.
  • Sharing information about assessment stars
  • Keeping focus on the questions we want answered by assessment work (what do we want student to learn, how do we know, etc.)

Meeting adjourned: 10:25


Shannon Godsey, recorder



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