A team of Hesston College academics presented on direct assessment at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Network for Academic Renewal Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Feb. 19 to 21. The team was comprised of Dr. Brent Yoder of Hesston, vice president of Academics, education instructor Marissa King of Newton and business instructor David LeVan of Newton.
Using experience as a guide, the Hesston College presentation, “Getting Started: Implementing Direct Assessment through a Summer Assessment Workshop,” highlighted the conference theme of “From Mission to Evidence: Empowering and Inclusive General Education Programs.” The presentation described Hesston’s experience with assessing student work in classes and how to use the data to make improvements.
Inspired in part by a challenge from the Higher Learning Commission accrediting agency following full reaccreditation in 2010, the college began researching and incorporating direct assessment tools to assess student learning outcomes. After revising institutional learning outcomes, the college revised the general education curriculum to closely align with those outcomes. Each general education class created an assessment assignment focused on institutional outcomes which serve as artifacts for the summer assessment workshop. The college has now completed two annual assessment cycles, and the data from the annual workshops informs teaching and learning in several ways.
“We have begun to use the results from summer assessment and the CLA+, an exam that directly assesses student work in a number of our learning outcome areas, to inform our work during faculty in-service days prior to the start of each semester, especially as it relates to working with students to improve their written communication skills,” said Yoder.
The presentation offered advice in implementing similar programs and processes for effectively obtaining and using data and make continuous improvements.