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Washington State University Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning

Using Results of Course-Embedded Assignments to “Close the Loop” (Psychology)

“Painless,” “organic,” “minimally invasive” – these might be some of the adjectives used to describe the annual assessment activities of the Department of Psychology. Their practices offer others a model of efficiency in assessment, while providing useful – and actionable – information about student learning at both course and program levels.  » 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 …

Identifying Gaps with Curriculum Mapping (Criminal Justice & Criminology)

Curriculum mapping is an activity that visually aligns the program’s courses with its student learning outcomes, allowing faculty to identify strengths, gaps, redundancies, and places in the program to assess student learning. An important aspect of curriculum mapping is the faculty discussion which occurs in the process of creating and refining the map – a forum for dialog and the chance to deepen connections among assignments, learning activities, and departmental approaches to teaching.  A faculty-developed curriculum map can also help each instructor understand how his/her course is situated in the curriculum, and the essential contributions that course makes toward student learning outcomes for the degree.  » 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 …

ATL Offers Curriculum Mappping Workshop for Integrated Plant Science

Curriculum maps are like road-maps that guide a student’s progression through a program of study.  Using a matrix format,  a curriculum map aligns student learning outcomes for a degree with courses in the program of study.  It provides a useful visual representation of the curriculum. » More …

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