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Washington State University Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning

Assessment of Undergraduates’ Experiences with High-Impact Practices (English)

Due to their positive associations with student learning and retention, certain undergraduate opportunities (such as first-year experiences, learning communities, undergraduate research and culminating experiments) are designated “high-impact.” High-impact practices often share several traits; for example, they demand considerable time and effort, facilitate learning outside of the classroom, require meaningful interactions with faculty and students, and provide frequent and substantive feedback.  » 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 Exit Survey Results to Assess the Senior Experience (Construction Management)

Senior exit surveys give students an opportunity to provide feedback on their undergraduate experiences. Questions may include those about curriculum, faculty, offices and services, social opportunities, and career preparation. Academic programs can use students’ responses to inform decisions and improve student learning.  » 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 …

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 …

Faculty Roles in Using Assessment Data to Inform Decision-making (History)

In effective systems of student learning assessment, programs regularly complete the assessment cycle by using what was learned from assessment to inform or influence program decisions. Faculty and instructors play critical roles in evaluating student work and then interpreting and discussing results, so that program-level assessment can contribute to decisions about curriculum, instruction, professional development, and assessment processes.  » More …

Using Senior Exit Survey Results to Inform Program Decisions (School of Biological Sciences)

Senior exit surveys and interviews give students an opportunity to “weigh in” on their undergraduate experiences. Questions may include those about curriculum, faculty, offices and services, social opportunities, and career preparation. Academic programs can use students’ responses to inform decisions and improve student learning.

The School of Biological Sciences (SBS) has conducted exit surveys or interviews with graduating seniors for over five years. Their goal is to understand students’ perceptions of strengths and weaknesses of the program, and to get student input on how to adjust to make the program more effective. Larry Hufford, Director of the School of Biological Sciences, describes the practice as “very informative.” Based on what they have learned from students’ feedback along with other information, the program has made the following adjustments:

  • created workshops for students on research and career opportunities,
  • shifted teaching assignments,
  • worked with individual faculty to make adjustments to courses, and
  • made other curricular adjustments.

» 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 …

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