Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Washington State University Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning

Analysis of Mentor Evaluations of Interns (Human Development)

Qualitative data consists primarily of words and observations, rather than numbers. It can come in many forms and from a variety of sources, including responses to open-ended survey questions, focus group notes, interview transcripts, internship supervisor comments, essay responses, and student portfolios. Qualitative data are useful for answering “why” and “how” questions about student performance, approaches to learning, motivation, or experience.  » More …

Developing an Archive for Assessment (School of Design and Construction)

Assessment data collected by a degree program are valuable tools in making decisions about teaching and learning. As such, it is important to both protect data and provide appropriate access to data and results from data analysis (i.e. information derived from data). A well-established infrastructure makes evidence of student learning readily available for faculty and departments to use in decision-making, and reduces the logistical burden on faculty.  » More …

Integrated Learning and Assessment in the Capstone (Landscape Architecture)

Each spring, WSU’s Landscape Architecture seniors get the chance to experience a landscape outside of the classroom and to interact with the people who live in, work in, and care about that landscape. Their senior capstone course is a service-learning studio that challenges them to generate designs in response to the needs of a particular place and people, applying their knowledge and skills in a real-world setting. The title of the capstone course, “The Confluence,” reinforces this goal: similar to the junction of rivers, students are asked to merge many things into one, integrating their prior learning and experience. The senior project embodies more than a compilation of skill sets, however; it is an opportunity for students to develop, expand, and challenge all they have learned–to see and create anew.  » More …

Visualizing the Curriculum (Interior Design)

Room 118 in Carpenter Hall in the School of Design and Construction contains tables stacked with syllabi and assignment prompts. Every wall is covered with design presentation boards and other student work. The room holds course materials from every required course in the Interior Design curriculum along with samples of student products from all courses for about 20% of their students. This spring, peer evaluators from the Interior Design professional accrediting organization, the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA), visited campus and this room served the important function of demonstrating to the evaluators how the curriculum meets CIDA’s nearly 100 criteria for student skills and knowledge.  » More …

Assessing Students’ Preparation to Meet the World’s Agricultural and Food Challenges (Agricultural and Food Systems)

Should more producers utilize bovine growth hormone to meet the 100% expected increase in global food needs by 2064? This is the sort of question tackled by students in Agricultural and Food Systems (AFS). In the AFS senior capstone course, students are provided with the opportunity to apply scientific inquiry, critical thinking, and problem solving skills in a team setting to analyze agribusiness challenges and to develop original research related to issues in agricultural and food production. Small student teams are partnered with an industry representative, who they work with throughout the semester to create a strategy for addressing a problem or creating an initiative for the company, replicating the challenges students will face in the professional work environment.  » More …

An Effective Structure for Faculty Meetings about Assessment (Human Development)

The ultimate goal of program assessment is to use assessment results to inform effective teaching and learning. In order to do that, faculty collectively consider assessment and the curriculum. Many approaches exist to do this. Some programs set aside a regular time during faculty meetings to discuss assessment, while other programs have an annual retreat with assessment as the only item on the agenda. Faculty in the Human Development (HD) program recently met to discuss program assessment using a rotating discussion process that others might find useful.  » More …

Assessing Students’ Abilities to Apply Concepts to Real-world Problems (School of Food Science)

Solving real-world problems in an industry setting is critical for professionals in the field of Food Science, so faculty in the School of Food Science want to know how well their students meet this goal before they graduate. The School, a joint program between Washington State University and the University of Idaho, recently selected four competencies required by their professional accrediting organization, the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and they piloted a new process to assess student achievement in these areas. They gathered student scores from various course assignments and exam questions that aligned well with the competencies. The instructor for each course developed benchmarks. As an example, a benchmark might be that 85% of students should score at or above a certain point by the time they graduate in order for the program’s goal to be considered met. Students met some benchmarks and didn’t meet others. Analysis of one area of relative weakness indicated that students were capable of answering direct, specific questions but struggled with more open-ended questions that required application of multiple concepts simultaneously: a student may know that heat denatures whey proteins, for instance, but not be able to explain that the reason a film forms on the sides of a pot of milk being heated on a stove is due to whey proteins denaturing and sticking to the sides.  » More …

Getting Industry Input on the Curriculum (Apparel, Merchandising, Design & Textiles)

On a cold day in January, before classes had begun for spring semester, the faculty of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles (AMDT) assembled in a large classroom. Joining them were three guests, industry representatives who had flown in from Seattle for the day. The meeting’s objective was to share perspectives about what industry-readiness means for graduating students and to update AMDT’s student learning outcomes (SLOs). Maintaining industry relevance in the curriculum is critical to the success of AMDT students, yet faculty-industry collaboration takes considerable time and energy to organize and is most effective if approached thoughtfully because the two groups have overlapping, but sometimes different, areas of expertise—faculty have various kinds of experience with industry, while industry professionals are less likely to have ever taught a college class or contributed to developing a curriculum.  » More …

Washington State University