2017 Assessment Grants

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2017 Assessment Grants! The University Academic Assessment Council awarded 21 grants ranging in amounts from $500 to $2500 for a total of approximately $35,000. The grants were available to faculty and staff to support the assessment and improvement of student learning in academic departments and programs, including academic support areas. For more information on the assessment grants, see the original call for proposals.

The following are the units who received funding with brief summaries of the work acccomplished with the use of the grant funding.

Accounting - The MS-Accounting graduate faculty met following a pre-accreditation visit with the AACSB visitation team to discuss the information gained from the pre-visit and to also hear and discuss presentations made by faculty who measured their learning goals for 2016-17.  Considerable work was then done after this including standardizing all the learning outcome results, double-checking the measurements, providing a detailed narrative of the assessment events, reviewing the rubrics and outcomes to determine if/where changes might need to be focused upon for future discussion with graduate faculty for assessment measures in the next cycle, compiling closing-the-loop activities and loading all relevant information for all completed MS-Accounting goals for 2016-17 into Xitracs.

Chemistry - Faculty members assessed the "Critical Thinking" goal in the Introductory sequence (CHE 1101/1110 and 1102/1120) and the “Communication” goal in their capstone courses (CHE 4000 and 4620) and WID course (CHE 3561).  These assessment results will be submitted to the General Education Office in hopes that these courses will be retained as general education courses. In addition, faculty assessed departmental student learning outcomes: assessed students' abilities to "employ current technology commonly used by chemists" in CHE 3303; students' abilities to "demonstrate knowledge in fundamental chemical principles" in CHE 4580 (data from Fall 2016); students' abilities to "demonstrate knowledge in fundamental chemical principles" in CHE 4580 (data from Fall 2016 & Spring 2017).  

 Clinical Mental Health Counseling –The Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program replaced and implemented a plan to assess student learning outcomes (SLOs) that would meet all accreditation standards and requirements. The faculty developed SLOs which comprehensively address each area of their [CACREP] accredited program along with the Professional School Counseling (PSC) program. The eight (8) core areas along with the two (2) specialty areas which entails PSC and CMHC afforded the opportunity to assess each content area.

Common Reading Program - Six faculty members developed recommended goals and outcomes that could be assessed for the Common Reading Program. These recommendations will be taken to the Common Reading Committee as a whole to discuss at their fall meeting. In addition to coming up with goals that complement the University’s vision for a transformational undergraduate experience and outcomes that are measurable and specific to the CR Program, the working group came up with a list of implications for programming.

Curriculum and Instruction - Faculty members met over the summer to revise the common assignments for the required assessment course in the Teacher Education professional core. This course serves to collect formative data for the new edTPA project requirement and therefore the two revised common assignments were revised to include required elements in edTPA. Both the rubrics and the assignment descriptions were updated along with data collection procedures. New data collection is taking place in fall 2017 in TK20.

Distance Education Task Force on Online Learning – The task force met to review and recommend policies regarding assessment of online learning. The primary recommendation was that the institutional effectiveness cycle should be implemented in the same manner for all academic and support programs regardless of delivery method. To enhance the evidence that guidelines are met for attributes unique to online courses, the task force also recommended that: 1) Make it clearer in all descriptions of the process that all courses and programs are viewed using the same lens regardless of delivery mode; 2) When assessing student learning in courses offered both online and in a more traditional mode, departments should be encouraged to inspect the results of assessment for any significant differences between the two modes of delivery; and 3) For fully asynchronous courses, additional assessment may be necessary to gauge usability of the interface and quality of interaction among students and between students and faculty.

General Education – A committee worked on revising and updating both the descriptive rationale and assessment rubric used to determine student learning outcomes related to one of the main General Education Learning Goals: Understanding the responsibilities of community membership. The impetus for this project was two-fold: create a better-defined learning goal and in doing so create a learning goal that would attract more faculty participation and increase the number of General Education courses utilizing this goal. The group will take the proposed changes to the General Education Council for discussion, any possible revision, and a vote.  

Geography and Planning – The department developed a process that utilizes Aportfolio as a source for assessment artifacts. They developed a workflow that allows for direct access of GHY/PLN portfolios developed by the capstone course “Senior Seminar”. In addition to utilizing the benefits associated with customizing Aportfolio for the purposes of collecting artifacts, the department translated their assessment rubrics for the outcomes into an automated grading process that will be connected to Xitracs for reporting purposes. The department is committed to encouraging student participation in Aportfolio in as many courses as possible so that the artifacts are available to students during their Senior Seminar experience.

Geography and Planning - Geoscience faculty and staff met throughout the summer to review and refine their assessment plans. They revised all three goals for the GIS Undergraduate Certificate, developed outcomes for a new goal, and generated a rubric for assessing artifacts for the new goal.

 Geological and Environmental Sciences – Two faculty members worked on revising the past Environmental Science goals and student learning outcomes (SLOs) to parallel assessment for the former Department of Geology. The 5-year plan for the Department of Geology is in its 4th year and was updated to reflect how they are assessing several SLOs for this year’s cycle. A 5-yr plan was created for the Environmental Science Program based on what had been done in the past and plans for the future.

 Government and Justice Studies – The department developed an alumni survey aimed at evaluating the impact of the Pre-Legal Studies curriculum on preparing students for law school. The survey also examines the extent to which the department advising prepares students for the law school admissions process. The target audience for the survey was all GJS alumni from the last 5 years who have applied to law school. In addition, faculty members revised the department’s internship assessment instruments. They created several new online assessment instruments that more directly evaluate the extent to which the curriculum prepared students for their internships and internship supervisors satisfaction with student performance in relationship to the department’s curriculum goals.

Health and Physical Education – A team of faculty members worked on adopting a new teacher assessment protocol, the edTPA, in their courses. Faculty developed new assignments to align with the edTPA and Appalachian’s assessment reporting requirements. These new assignments were presented to other faculty for peer evaluation.

 Higher Education – The Higher Education faculty engaged in extended conversations over the summer about the limitations of the case study approach used to assess student learning in the MA and EdS programs for the past decade. Rather than revising the cases, the faculty elected to pursue a new approach that differentiates between MA and EdS assessment. The MA program will incorporate a portfolio approach that highlights students’ learning and professional development, while the EdS program will focus on a “problem of practice” paper that will demonstrate students’ capacities for focused synthesis of research and practice literature, while enabling faculty to better evaluate how students are meeting program learning goals.

Interior Design – The Interior Design program worked on developing a comprehensive exam to assess student learning in the program. Faculty submitted items from core classes. Items were reformatted and revised, then entered into ASULearn. The exam will be field tested with Junior and Senior majors this fall.

 Library Science – As part of the revision of the internship course, the Library Science program created an evaluation procedure and tools for internship supervisors. In addition, faculty members examined the reliability of their product of learning evaluation process. Several faculty worked on norming the scoring rubric used for the product of learning presentations and made recommendations on improving the assessment process.

 Marriage and Family Therapy – Faculty members engaged in a webinar training that described the current best practices in assessing outcomes in COAMFTE accredited programs. Following the webinar, the program revised their outcomes and developed new assessment protocols. Refining their assessment protocol helped prepare the program for their COAMFTE site visit. 

Mathematical Sciences - The assessment coordinator, in consultation with other faculty members, created an AsULearn site to serve as a single central reference point for department assessment activities. The central repository will help with the overlap in assessment activities for the three programs, as well as courses in the General Education program. In addition, the department addressed ongoing and changing assessment needs for their programs. They refined one set of goals and outcomes in the Actuarial Science program related to financial mathematics, based on feedback from prior assessment activities. They also discussed potential impacts on their assessment plan resulting from changes being made at the national level by the Society of Actuaries, which may in turn impact the program's required courses and coursework. Discussion were also held about how the assessment for majors in the Secondary Education concentration of undergraduate Mathematics major will be impacted by the state’s switch to edTPA assessment.

Professional School Counseling - The Professional School Counseling (PSC) program replaced and implemented a plan to assess Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that would meet all accreditation standards and requirements. The faculty developed SLOs which comprehensively address each area of their [CACREP] accredited program along with the Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) program. The eight (8) core areas along with the two (2) specialty areas which entails PSC and CMHC afforded the opportunity to assess each content area.

 Public Administration - The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program worked on improving the student learning outcomes related to their internship. In the past, faculty have struggled to evaluate the students’ self-reflection responses of student interns in a manner that assesses their learning. The program purchased The Student Leadership Competencies Guidebook, which contains a number of rubrics including one for assessing self-reflection. The MPA faculty modified the self-reflection scale for use on the internship deliverables (and plan to use it for a variety of other self-reflection exercises throughout the internship course and MPA program). Faculty used their new rubric to assess students’ proficiency at meaningful self-reflection about the limitations of their skill set as they embark on their public service career.

Recreation Management and Physical Education – A faculty member attended the conference organized by Association of Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (Louisville, KY). Through the educational sessions offered at the conference the faculty member learned multiple techniques to improve the assessment of her students’ learning that she was able to employ in her classes. Among many strategies she learned were alignment of objectives, activities and evaluation; assessment of teamwork and creativity; application of rubrics; consideration of curriculum goals, rather than class goals; self-testing, abstract writing, elaborations as assessment techniques; and improvement of faculty evaluations. As a result, she has developed multiple new assignments for the class she currently teaches to assess students’ learning and to ensure better learning outcomes.

School Administration – A faculty member worked on developing a program assessment plan for the Master in School Administration program that would align with the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accreditation standards and the North Carolina Standards for School Executives. An external consultant reviewed the plan and submitted recommendations for improvement.