Curricular Evaluation & Assessment

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University Assessment Expectations & Guidelines

Because of the accreditation standards of the Higher Learning Commission, each department and program at Miami University is required to implement a full cycle assessment program for each of its undergraduate majors, general education, free-standing certificates, and all graduate programs.  Full cycle assessment is an ongoing, iterative process that uses results to inform decisions and make improvements. In order to improve, careful planning is necessary. Learning goals and outcomes must be clearly specified, appropriate measures must be selected, data collection must be carefully executed, and most importantly results must be shared for improvements to occur. 

Each major or degree program should specify at least three learning outcomes to assess.  Each year, data should be collected and analyzed related to the outcomes and used for program improvement. 

When beginning the process of assessment for the first time, departments and programs should create an assessment plan for each degree program or major.  A template for the assessment plan is available in this manual. A new Assessment Plan should be created when a program changes or adds learning outcomes or its method(s) of assessing them.

Once each year, the assessment data for the three or more learning outcomes should be analyzed and discussed and plans for improving teaching and learning based upon those findings should be put in place.  The summary of the data collected, the analysis and the steps for improvement are recorded in an assessment report.  A new assessment report should be created each year and uploaded into the Accreditation (Compliance Assist) Template.

A template for the Assessment Report can be found in this manual.

Below is a checklist of steps for beginning the process of assessing learning outcomes in the major or degree:

  • Name a contact or point person for assessment of each degree program or major in your unit.
  • Create a timeline for assessment activities. Be sure to include the steps below.
  • Create or review the educational mission statement for the degree program or major.
  • Develop at least three student learning outcomes for the program or major that are aligned with the educational mission statement.
  • Create a target goal for outcomes (i.e., percent of students achieving them by graduation), and identify courses (and assignments and activities within them) where outcomes are learned by most students in the program.
  • Identify how you will score or directly measure students’ level of mastery of these outcomes (e.g., rubric, answer key).
  • Identify how you will measure perceptions of students’ mastery of outcomes (e.g., course evaluations, alumni survey, focus groups, employer survey).
  • Collect, analyze and interpret data.
  • Discuss results with faculty and other stakeholders.  Identify changes needed to improve student learning.
  • Act on results, and maintain feedback loops.
  • Create assessment report; re-evaluate and revise assessment plan as needed.

Additional information about assessment can be found on the CELTUA website.

Assessment Plan Template

 

Program Information

Academic Program (Major, Degree Name)

 

Degree

 

Department or Program

 

Division

 

Academic Year (when the plan will begin, or “already in progress”)

 

Contact Person

Name

 

Title

 

Department

 

Email Address

 

Phone

 

Program Mission Statement

 

This is an educational mission statement focused on the major, not an organizational mission statement for your department or division. 

 

Example: The mission of [insert name of major or degree program] is to [insert the program’s primary educational purpose] by providing majors [insert the program’s primary functions and activities] in order to [insert description of how the major or degree program contributes to the development and careers of its students].

 

Student Learning Outcomes

Each program or major should have at least three measurable outcomes. If  you have more than 4, please list them and describe means of assessment in an attachment.   Outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student should attain by completing the degree program.  Each statement should be specific, well-defined, simple (not compound), and aligned with the program’s mission.

 

Mathematics example: Students will be able to draw correct inferences using quantitative analysis.

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

Means of Assessment

Data Collection

For each learning outcome, state where and when data will be collected, who will be responsible, how and if student work will be sampled, and estimated sample size.  Please indicate how you will assure that the data are representative.

Direct, Course-Embedded Assessment

For each learning outcome, list the course or courses where students will be demonstrating the outcomes and the assignment(s) in them that you will use for assessment purposes (e.g., capstone project, final examination, research paper, portfolio, etc.).

Scoring

For each learning outcome, describe how you will score students’ level of mastery of the outcomes.  For example, will you use a rubric or answer key, or will it be scored by a testing company?  If your plan has a rubric, be sure to include the rubric as an appendix.  Who will do the scoring?  One or more persons?  How will scores be reported (e.g., total scales or sub scores)?

Indirect Assessment (Perceptions of Student Learning)

For each learning outcome, describe how you will indirectly assess students’ and other stakeholders’ perceptions of their learning in relation to these outcomes (e.g., course evaluations, focus groups with graduating students, alumni survey, employer survey, etc.).  

 

Attach relevant questions on online course evaluations, alumni survey, employer survey, focus session, etc. in an appendix.  

 

Completing the Package

Feedback Loop

Describe how and when you plan to share the findings of the assessment of these outcomes with faculty and other stakeholders.  Explain briefly how you will ensure that your unit makes improvements based upon the assessment findings and revises the assessment plan as needed.

Timetable

Attach a timeline of major assessment activities to fulfill the assessment plan.

 

Assessment Report Template

Program Information

Academic Program (Major, Degree Name)

 

Degree

(e.g., BA or BS)

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Department or Program

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Division

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Academic Year(s) covered by this report

When were the assessment activities in this report conducted?

Contact Person

Name

Person responsible for coordinating the assessment effort

Title

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Department

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Email Address

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Phone

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Program Mission Statement

 

This is the educational mission statement focused on the major, not an organizational mission statement for your department or division.  (Note: Most can be found in the Miami Bulletin.)

 

Please complete this only if  there has been a change .

Student Learning Outcomes: Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Each program or major should have at least three measurable outcomes. If you have more than 4, please list them and describe means of assessment in an attachment.   Outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities that a student should attain by completing the degree program. 

 

  1.  Insert outcome #1.  Please complete this only if  there has been a change

 

  1. Insert outcome #2. Please complete this only if  there has been a change

 

  1. Insert outcome #3 Please complete this only if  there has been a change

 

  1. Insert outcome #4 (optional)  Please complete this only if  there has been a change

 

 


Means of Assessment Please complete this only if  there has been a change 

Data Collection

For each learning outcome, state where and when data will be collected, who will be responsible, how and if student work will be sampled, and estimated sample size.  Please indicate how you will assure that the data are representative.

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

 

Direct, Course-Embedded Assessment

For each learning outcome, list the course or courses where students will be demonstrating the outcomes and the assignment(s) in them that you will use for assessment purposes (e.g., capstone project, final examination, research paper, portfolio, etc.).

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Scoring

For each learning outcome, describe how you will score students’ level of mastery of the outcomes.  For example, will you use a rubric or answer key, or will it be scored by a testing company?  If your plan has a rubric, be sure to include the rubric as an appendix.  Who will do the scoring?  One or more persons?  How will scores be reported (e.g., total scales or sub scores)?

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

Indirect Assessment (Perceptions of Student Learning)

For each learning outcome, describe how you will indirectly assess students’ and other stakeholders’ perceptions of their learning in relation to these outcomes (e.g., course evaluations, focus groups with graduating students, alumni survey, employer survey, etc.).  

Attach relevant questions on online course evaluations, alumni survey, employer survey, focus session, etc. in an appendix.  

Please complete this only if  there has been a change

 

Assessment Results and Closing the Loop

Assessment Results

After analyzing your numerical data, present the summary data in a table or tables, and attach it or them.

 

Feedback Loop

Describe how you  shared the results with faculty and other stakeholders.  Explain briefly how you will make improvements based upon the assessment findings (e.g., changes to the assessment plan, changes to the curriculum, other changes to the program or unit, such as changes in technology, personnel, admission criteria, frequency of course offerings, advisement).

 

Teaching Evaluation Plan

Section 7.2.B of the Miami University Policy & Information Manual specifies that each department create a teaching evaluation plan.  According to MUPIM, “The major purpose of this plan is to provide a process to enhance the quality of instruction and, subsequently, student learning at Miami. When implemented, each plan should provide faculty with information useful in improving their teaching (formative) and for documenting teaching effectiveness for promotion, tenure and/or annual performance appraisals (summative).  Accordingly, candidates seeking promotion and/or tenure are urged to submit to their departments/divisions a variety of evaluation results.”

Section 7.2.C articulates guidelines for the plan:

  1. The teaching evaluation plan is the responsibility of the department in terms of initial development, implementation, and ongoing revision.
  2. The department's plan shall reflect the complexity of the teaching/learning process by including multiple sources of evaluation data, including both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods.  The plan shall also address both formative and summative activities.  In addition to end-of-semester student evaluations, summative and formative activities could include, but are not limited to:  ongoing classroom assessment, peer evaluations, student portfolios, chair or program director (when appropriate) evaluations, teaching (faculty) portfolios, classroom materials, samples of exemplary classroom lessons or assignments, senior exit surveys, and alumni surveys.
  3. Departmental teaching evaluation plans shall reflect multiple models of teaching and student learning.  For example, plans should be sensitive to lecture, discussion, inquiry, or small group instruction.
  4. Formative evaluations are designed to aid in the course and teaching development by the instructor and his or her mentors and peers.  These evaluations will not be used for summative purposes, such as promotion and tenure decisions or merit salary increases.  Rather, formative evaluations are designed to provide valuable feedback for the improvement of course design and instruction, and they may be conducted by the instructor.
  5. Summative evaluations conducted at the end of a term will be retained and used as a part of the evaluation process for tenure, promotion, post-tenure review, and merit salary increases.
  6. Unofficial and unregulated student evaluations (e.g., internet evaluations) may not be used for promotion and tenure purposes or any other personnel consideration.
  7. All faculty are required to have all classes* evaluated by students in some formal manner that is appropriate to the specific type of course. These evaluations will constitute a concrete record of teaching effectiveness that can be used for both self-improvement and summative evaluation, and shall be constructed in such a manner as to ensure credibility and integrity:
    1. The faculty member shall not administer his or her own evaluation. In accord with  departmental/divisional procedures, a third party shall announce the evaluation, distribute the evaluation forms, and submit the forms for processing.
    2. The faculty member shall not receive any evaluation results until final grades for the  semester have been submitted.
    3. If additional evaluations used exclusively for faculty self-improvement are administered,  the above two conditions do not apply.

*Independent studies and other such courses, as well as classes with enrollments of fewer than five (5), are generally exempt.

Course Evaluations

Mid-Term Evaluation

The Advanced Learning Technologies Office (ALT) and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching and University Assessment conduct formative course assessments, such as the Small Group Instructional Diagnosis (SGID).  The SGID provides feedback to an instructor through small group discussions in the classroom.  For more information and to request this assessment, consult the CELTUA website.

End of Term Evaluation

Miami University requires that students are provided the opportunity to evaluate all courses.  Beginning in fall 2013, all Miami courses will be evaluated using an online format.  The online evaluation form includes six common questions that will be incorporated into all evaluations. 

The scale for ALL questions is 0-4, with higher numbers being better.  The six university-side questions are:

 

Classroom Climate

My instructor welcomed students’ questions.

My instructor offered opportunities for active participation to understand course content.

My instructor demonstrated concern for student learning.

 

Student Learning

In this course I learned to analyze complex problems or think about complex issues.

My appreciation for this topic has increased as a result of this course.

I have gained an understanding of this course material.

 

In each evaluation session there is a short window for individual faculty to add up to 5 of their own questions.

For full term courses, the evaluation period will begin the Sunday night before the last week of class, and end at 5pm on the Friday of finals week.  The evaluation period for partial term courses will essentially be the last week of classes, plus two days.

Students will see the courses they need to evaluate on the MU portal (i.e., MyMiami); in addition, students will receive an e-mail invitation and a series of reminders during the evaluation period. Faculty are encouraged to provide regular reminders to students, both in class and via e-mail, about the importance of the evaluation process.

Faculty will be able to see aggregate, real time response rates for the evaluations.

Full results will be available within 48 hours of the due date for final grades. Reports can be accessed via myMiami/My Courses/Course Evaluations (or via the link above, through myMiami)

Students and faculty can report problems to the IT help desk, 9-7900, or via ithelp@muohio.edu

For more information, see: http://www.units.muohio.edu/uit/sites/edu.uit/files/faq_fin.pdf