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Washington State University Assessment of Teaching and Learning

Celebrating Excellence in WSU Undergraduate Program Assessment

Interim Provost Bryan Slinker speaking at 2019 Celebration of Assessment Excellence.On November 6th, the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning (ATL), Interim Provost Bryan Slinker, and Vice Provost Mary F. Wack hosted the second Celebration of Assessment Excellence, shining a spotlight on good practices in learning outcomes assessment and the efforts of program faculty, faculty assessment coordinators, chairs and directors, representing diverse academic programs and colleges, who share a strong commitment to providing high quality education to WSU’s undergraduate population. » More …

WSU-wide Summary of 2019 Undergraduate Degree Program Assessment Reports Available

In October, ATL provided Vice Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Achievement Mary Wack and Vice Provost for System Innovation and Policy Craig Parks with the 2019 WSU-wide Summary of Undergraduate Degree Program Assessment Reports.

WSU’s undergraduate degree programs report annually on their system of assessing student learning, a practice begun in 2009. Program-level assessment looks at student learning in a degree or program of study — focusing on the key skills and knowledge students should develop, as well as their experiences in the curriculum. Assessment helps faculty collaboratively develop, maintain, and improve an effective curriculum that promotes student learning. » More …

Using Course Grades to Assess the Student Experience (Mathematics)

While course grades are not fine-tuned enough to give information about student achievement on specific learning outcomes, they can nonetheless provide a rough indication of some aspects of curricular effectiveness, which programs can use – often in combination with other measures – to guide decision-making.

Course grades are often considered the “indicator” type of indirect assessment measure, and may provide programs with information that can uncover student course-taking patterns and give information about student progress through the curriculum, or identify new areas for investigation of a program’s effectiveness. For example, a high D/F/W rate in a core course may indicate a need to re-evaluate the curriculum (or a particular option/track) and how students are prepared for the course. A program could also use course grades to generally indicate where students may need more support in the curriculum. » More …

Warm Syllabus Workshop Brings Inclusive Excellence to Syllabus Design

Research shows that student belonging is a key aspect of student academic success, especially for underrepresented students. A holistic approach to increasing student belonging includes the careful construction of all documents related to the course, including the syllabus.

In May, nearly 60 instructors from 30 departments explored ways to reduce unintended barriers and set a positive tone in the classroom through a workshop entitled “Designing a Syllabus to Enhance Student-Faculty Relationships and Decrease Workload,” offered by the Office of Assessment of Teaching & Learning in conjunction with the Office of Undergraduate Education and the College of Arts and Sciences. » More …

WSU’s Approach to Assessment Highlighted by National Organization

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), widely-recognized as the preeminent organization in the area of student learning outcomes assessment in higher education, regularly spotlights good assessment practices employed by colleges and universities across the country. In 2019, WSU was showcased by NILOA in a case study due to our promising approach to assessing student learning outcomes in the complex environment of a large, highly decentralized research university. » More …

Using National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Results to Assess the Senior Experience (School of Molecular Biosciences)

Every two years, WSU participates in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to help assess student engagement in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development. In collaboration with Institutional Research, ATL disaggregated 2017 WSU NSSE results by major for undergraduate academic degree programs and colleges, focusing on responses from seniors, intended to provide information about the student perspective to help continually improve the learning experience for WSU undergraduates.  Some programs also received disaggregated reports for 2014-15, as part of a pilot.

The School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) has used the 2017 NSSE responses from their seniors to identify program strengths and set priorities for improvement, as well as corroborate the results of other assessment measures.  » More …

Program Assessment Contributes to Teaching and Service Accomplishments in Faculty Annual Review

January opens the new year and begins the annual review process for faculty, a time to reflect on and report accomplishments of the past year.  ATL joins university leadership in valuing the contributions faculty make as they engage in assessment activities that advance student learning in undergraduate courses and curricula.

Beginning in 2018, updates to WSU’s faculty manual provide a mechanism to recognize faculty participation in assessment in the annual review process, as part of Teaching or Service accomplishments, depending on the activity.  This update aligns with the university’s EPPM policies on assessment, which include recognizing assessment work in annual review at all levels.  » More …

ATL Visit to WSU Tri-Cities and Assignment Design Workshop

ATL would like to thank WSU Tri-Cities faculty and staff for a successful visit this fall. In November, ATL traveled to WSU’s Tri-Cities Campus to meet with WSU Tri-Cities colleagues about program assessment and to present a workshop on Transparent Assignment Design» More …

Accreditation Reaffirmed by NWCCU, WSU’s Next Steps Take Shape

Now that fall semester is in full swing and many faculty and administrators with assessment duties have kicked off another cycle of assessment, we in ATL find ourselves wrapping up 2018 undergraduate program assessment reporting. In doing so, we are reminded of the effort and dedication that goes into creating a viable system of assessment across all of WSU’s undergraduate programs.

We want to take a moment to recognize that, over the summer, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) reaffirmed WSU’s institutional accreditation; an acknowledgement that we, as a university, continue to meet or exceed criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process. » More …

WSU-wide Summary of 2018 Undergraduate Degree Program Assessment Reports Available

In October, ATL presented Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Mary Wack and the Provost’s Accreditation, Assessment, and Academic Program Review Committee with the 2018 WSU-wide Summary of Undergraduate Degree Program Assessment Reports from all WSU undergraduate degrees.

WSU’s undergraduate degree programs report annually on their system of assessing student learning, a practice begun in 2009. Program-level assessment looks at student learning in a degree or program of study — focusing on the key skills and knowledge students should develop, as well as their experiences in the curriculum. Assessment helps faculty collaboratively develop, maintain and improve an effective curriculum that promotes student learning.  » More …