OIA recommends the following reading by the National Learning Alliance: Committing to Quality - Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability in Higher Education
This report identifies best practices for assessment in higher education. OIA is in the process of developing their own handbook that will outline guidelines for assessment at SCAD. The information in the above report provides a broad understanding of the guidelines OIA is striving to follow at SCAD. OIA would like SCAD faculty and staff to be aware of the following four guidelines from the report and to understand how OIA aims to meet each of the guidelines.
Guideline # 1. Policies should be in place that describe when and how learning outcomes are assessed.
- OIA is developing an assessment policy handbook that will outline assessment guidelines at SCAD that apply to all programs. For program specific information, OIA coordinators collaborate with programs to draft assessment plans on an annual basis.
Guideline #2. Assessment processes should be ongoing, sustainable, and integrated into the work of faculty and administrators.
-OIA aims to provide assessment evidence on an annual basis. To ensure sustainability, OIA will take as much time as is necessary to build and test an assessment plan for reliability and validity. To ensure the assessment plan is integrated into the work already being conducted by faculty, OIA will only require the collection of capstone course assignments (thesis/project/portfolio) to measure the impact of each degree program.
Guideline #3. Evidence should include assessments of levels of engagement in academically challenging work and active learning practices.
-OIA will work with each program to ensure that the degree programs are evaluated based on the most academically challenging work assignments (capstone-level coursework). Through collaboration with programs to update course goals and outcomes and participation in class observations, OIA will be able to engage in open discussions with faculty about the nature of the classwork. In addition, OIA is happy to conduct additional research, such as alumni surveys and collection of school comparison data, to gather more information for faculty on perception of coursework quality.
Guideline #4. There should be an established process for discussing and analyzing learning outcome recommendations and moving from recommendation to action. Where feasible and appropriate, key recommendations for improvement are implemented.
-OIA will develop a customized process for discussing and analyzing learning outcomes with each program to ensure that the process chosen best meets the needs of each program. In general, OIA believes its important for results to be provided to a program in both written and oral formats and for the results to be distributed to all program faculty. Since OIA works closely with each program and closely with the curriculum management department, OIA feels comfortable facilitating discussions with program faculty about the most appropriate and practical recommendations to implement in future academic years.
And why is it important for us to structure assessment to this degree? The Learning Alliance says it best:
“Higher education has been entrusted with an important social responsibility. This responsibility calls for a commitment to see that all students reach high standards and fulfill their potential. Doing so requires us to gather and report on evidence of student learning and use it to improve student learning outcomes.”
Categories : recommended reading