PULLMAN, Wash. – Undergraduate programs at Washington State University will be  submitting assessment reports by Nov. 1 as part of the regional accreditation process. The Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning (ATL) has developed tools to help, including two-hour informal workshops during September and October designed to help assessment coordinators draft their reports.
 
“I hope we can help people complete their reporting efficiently and effectively,” said Kimberly Green, ATL director. She became director in January 2011 as part of a reorganization of the former Office of Assessment and Innovation.
 
ATL is helping programs implement best practices in teaching and assessment by working with assessment coordinators or faculty teams in a program or college.
 
“Assessment should help programs and colleges address questions and provide information about curriculum, instruction and student learning,” Green said. “We’re committed to helping programs build on what they already are doing.”
 
Among the tools ATL provides to do that are:
 
• A streamlined template for undergraduate programs to report their assessment activities by Nov. 1.
 
“We’re trying to ensure the new report is clear and manageable,” Green said. Faculty helped “test-drive” and refine the template this summer, and associate deans provided input as well.
 
• A “reporting toolkit” with samples of different ways to write the report, so programs can see a range of approaches and find one that fits their discipline and assessment focus.
 
“Some programs identify a pressing issue that assessment can help inform, such as large class instruction or curriculum revision,” Green said. “Other programs are assessing student achievement of core learning outcomes.”

Toolkits

Check out http://atl.wsu.edu for resources about large class instruction and assessment.
 
Reporting toolkit
Page and samples for writing your program report.

Large class toolkit
Pages about:

 
Prepping for the first day
Practical tips for the first day
In-class learning
Online learning (Angel)
Exams and grading
Classroom management
Feedback for instructors
Last month, for example, ATL developed a large-class toolkit to help faculty whose class sizes have increased substantially this year (see sidebar for more information). The online toolkit provides selected best practices and ways to use assessment to show what students are learning and where they encounter bottlenecks.
 
• A redesigned website to provide resources needed for assessment.
 
“We will be adding materials all year – sharing strong samples from WSU programs and colleges as well as best practices,” Green said.
 
• An institution-wide assessment inventory, to see what kinds of data programs are collecting about student learning. The information can help faculty decide what data they need or want – and what isn’t necessary.
 
“It should help all of us prioritize scarce time and resources,” Green said.
 
• Improved online course evaluations and midterm feedback surveys in Skylight, with easier access to course evaluations, surveys and results. In addition, ATL is collaborating with the Center for Distance and Professional Education and Academic Media Services about providing resources for teaching and assessment at a common online location.