Assessment data look at student performance in order to offer evidence about student learning in the curriculum, provide information about program strengths and weaknesses, and guide decision-making. Analyzing the data (in context) gives meaning to the information collected and is essential in order to appropriately utilize and communicate the assessment results. There is no “one size fits all” approach to analyzing assessment data. ATL encourages programs to match their analysis strategy to the type of data collected and the assessment questions to be answered. 

ATL Mini-grant Project: In the academic year 2015-16, the School of Biological Sciences (SBS) received assessment mini grant funding in support of their project “Assessment Database Development – Aligning Data from Multiple Sources.” This project involved the development of a standardized data collection spreadsheet for collecting and organizing assessment data to be used by all SBS faculty; the development of a SPSS program that imports and organizes the spreadsheet data from all SBS courses; and the development of a SPSS program that imports student data from OBIEE and combines it with the SBS assessment data on a student by student basis.

According to Pat Carter, project leader and Professor in the School of Biological Sciences, “Development of this database is absolutely essential to the success of the SBS assessment program. The statistical programs developed allow extensive and complex analyses of assessment data in the context of student performance and demographic variables. These types of analyses will provide SBS faculty with needed information to improve courses and to identify predictors of success for our majors.”

For additional information about assessment mini grants, including examples of other previously funded projects, see ATL’s Assessment Mini-Grant webpage.