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Washington State University Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning

Using a Rubric to Assess Student Learning at the Senior-Level (Sociology)

An effective system of assessing student achievement includes measures at the senior level, near graduation, providing information about what students are able to achieve at the end of the program. For many programs, senior-level direct measures connect with a capstone course, as these culminating experiences can provide valuable holistic information about students’ learning before they graduate.  » More …

Using Direct and Indirect Measures to Assess Student Learning (Middle Level Math Endorsement)

In effective program assessment, programs and faculty systematically collect information about student learning, discuss results, and use that information to guide decisions that affect teaching and learning in the curriculum and the student experience in the program. Assessment allows programs to examine key areas including curriculum design, instructional effectiveness, and student experience.  » More …

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 …

Using Case Studies to Assess Students’ Abilities to Apply Knowledge to Real-world Situations (Public Affairs)

Direct measures are assessments of students’ performances or work products that demonstrate the students’ skills and knowledge, helping to reveal what they have learned and to what extent. Direct measures come in many forms and WSU encourages programs to develop measures that fit their needs and disciplinary expectations. Results from direct measures can give faculty essential information about student achievement of program learning outcomes and insights into the effectiveness of the curriculum.  » More …

Piloting a Computer-adaptive Foreign Language Placement Exam (Foreign Languages and Cultures)

Students in the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures (DFLC) enter the program with a wide range of previous language studies and abilities, creating the need for a reliable, efficient, and consistent method to measure students’ knowledge and abilities for placement as they begin their studies in the department. Traditionally, DFLC faculty members have made recommendations for placement into courses based on individual interviews with all incoming students, requiring a great deal of faculty time.  » More …

Using Results of Standardized Examinations to Assess Student Learning Outcomes (Chemistry)

Effective program-level assessment provides data which faculty can use to collaboratively develop, maintain and improve an effective curriculum that promotes student learning through a program of study.  Access to appropriate assessment tools and measures are critical to this process. At WSU, faculty are responsible for selecting assessment measures that align with student learning outcomes in the discipline and the curriculum, in order to generate meaningful data.  » More …

Faculty Creation and Validation of a Microbiology Concept Inventory (School of Molecular Biosciences)

Assessment activities offer ways for faculty to think about student learning in the curriculum and how to support it most effectively in their own classes and the program. Many assessment activities can increase shared faculty understanding of the curriculum. For example, the design and approval of measures by faculty helps ensure that measures are meaningful and credible to faculty and are useful in relation to the curriculum. Creating and reviewing measures also gets faculty collectively involved in program-level assessment.  » 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 …

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 …

Supporting Student Success in a Capstone Course (School of Molecular Biosciences)

In which areas do students tend to succeed when doing senior capstone projects and in which areas do they struggle? How can we support their preparation for senior level coursework? These are some of the questions faculty in the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) sought to answer with a program assessment project over the last year. The results have helped target their efforts to support student success.  » More …

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