Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Provost & Academic Vice President
Student Academic Assessment at Western Illinois University
Assessing Student Learning
Western Illinois University is accredited by the Higher Learning Association of the North Central Association. A primary component of achieving accreditation is evidence of an active program of assessment of student learning within all academic programs. The process of demonstrating student achievement in each undergraduate major and graduate program at Western Illinois University begins with the establishment, measurement and use of results for learning outcomes by faculty within each program. Reports of this work are provided to academic deans and the provost’s office, and are shared with faculty governance groups. The cyclical nature of conducting assessment activities and reporting on results annually will necessitate that certain sections of this website will be available at certain times of the year only. Department chairs and deans are periodically apprised of the timeline for assessment.
Guidelines for Assessment: Assessment of Student Learning Procedures
- Assessment measures are to be clearly described: i.e. how is the measure conducted? For example, does a survey conducted of students post-internship provide evidence of student learning (direct), or provide insight into whether a student feels they learned a particular skill (indirect)?
- Course-embedded assessment is an excellent example of a direct measure of assessment if evaluation consists of clear measurement of specific learning outcomes (please specify which outcomes and in what way they are measured).
- The development of assessment measures begins with and is
continually informed by the identified learning outcomes; in this
way, the learning outcomes become the basis for a solid assessment
- It is important to clarify how the measure, whether direct of indirect, focuses on the stated learning outcomes.
- If using grades or grade point average as an assessment measure, it is necessary to carefully consider whether these indicators reflect true, focused measurement of learning outcomes.
- Review of specific courses, or more extensive program review, is not a measure of either direct or indirect assessment, although it may be a very useful result of assessment of student learning (i.e. and therefore tie in via the feedback loop informing revised assessment measures).
Direct Measures of Student Learning
- the capstone experience (when standards are carefully structured and documented, the capstone experience, clearly linked with the identified learning outcomes, becomes a very effective direct measure);
- portfolio assessment (with a clear set of objective standards of measurement across evaluators within a department);
- standardized tests;
- performance on national licensure, certification or professional exams;
- locally developed tests;
- essay questions blind scored by faculty across the department, school, or college;
- qualitative interval and external juried review of comprehensive senior projects;
- externally reviewed exhibitions and performances in the arts;
- external evaluation of performance during internships based on state program objectives.
Indirect Measures of Student Learning
- alumni, employer, and student surveys;
- exit interviews of graduates and focus groups;
- graduate follow-up studies;
- retention and transfer studies;
- length of time to degree;
- SAT scores;
- graduation rates and transfer rates;
- job placement data;
- capstone course.