Our desire to improve student learning drives assessment at UT Dallas. We have collected a few resources to help you in course planning and assessment. Please click on a heading below to expand.
Writing a Syllabus
A well-designed syllabus can make your class more enjoyable for you and for your students. A well-written syllabus clearly demonstrates the connection between what the instructor says the course is about and what the students are expected to do in the course. The University of Texas at Dallas provides a syllabus template for all instructors that helps you structure your syllabus (http://provost.utdallas.edu/home/syllabus-templates).
- Eberly Center, Carnegie Mellon University. “Align Assessments with Objectives.” Eberly Center: Teaching Excellence & Education Innovation. Accessed June 16, 2015. http://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/design/assessments.html.
- Lang, James M. “The 3 Essential Functions of Your Syllabus, Part 1.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, February 23, 2015. http://chronicle.com/article/The-3-Essential-Functions-of/190243/.
- ———. “The 3 Essential Functions of Your Syllabus, Part 2.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 30, 2015. http://chronicle.com/article/The-3-Essential-Functions-of/228909/.
- University of California Syllabus Checklist: http://oic.id.ucsb.edu/faculty-handbook-teaching/first-year-faculty/syllabus-checklist
One of the more challenging tasks for new and experienced faculty alike is writing student learning outcomes. Course learning outcomes should make it clear to students what they will be able to do because of what they have learned by the end of the course. Strong learning outcomes are student-centered, comprehensive, aligned to program outcomes, degree appropriate, and measurable (please see the Learning Outcome Rubric for more detail about each of these characteristics).
Student Learning Outcomes Resources:
- Program Learning Outcome Rubric http://dox.utdallas.edu/chart1223
- Course Learning Outcome Rubric http://dox.utdallas.edu/chart1224
- Office of Assessment Workshops (contact Gloria Shenoy, Director of Assessment, firstname.lastname@example.org, for the next scheduled workshop)
- Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching, “Grading Student Work.” http://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/grading-student-work/.
Using the Information from Assessment Reports
You may be asked on a semi-regular basis to write a report for your program about assessment in your course. To write this report you will need to gather information about student work in your class, analyze it, and then consider future changes.
At the program level, you may find that there are larger changes that need to be made based on the program assessment data that was gathered. Maybe your faculty see a need for a new course or another curriculum change, or perhaps the course descriptions need to be changed in order to address some new challenges. You should meet as a group to discuss possible changes based on assessment data.
Using Assessment Data Resources:
- Reed, Thayer, Jason Levin, and Geri Malandra. “Closing the Assessment Loop by Design.” Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, October 2011. http://www.changemag.org/Archives/Back%20Issues/2011/September-October%202011/closing-the-full.html.
- Assessment Office University of Hawai’i at Manoa. “Using Program Assessment Results to Improve Student Learning,” March 2013. https://manoa.hawaii.edu/assessment/workshops/pdf/using_results_2013-03.pdf.
On the Importance of Faculty Involvement in Assessment
The word “assessment” often calls to mind ideas about external accrediting agencies and legislative oversight. On the most basic level, though, assessment includes what faculty members already do in the classroom every day. It is important that faculty drive how we do the assessment that affects your courses and programs.
Faculty Involvement Resources:
- American Public University System. “Glossary of Assessment Terms.” Accessed June 16, 2015. http://www.apus.edu/community-scholars/learning-outcomes-assessment/university-assessment/glossary.htm.
- Hutchings, Pat. “What New Faculty Need to Know About Assessment.” NILOA, Spring 2011. http://www.learningoutcomesassessment.org/documents/ABfaculty.pdf.
Glossary of Assessment Terms
"Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development." (Palomba & Banta, 1999, p. 4)
“Assessment is the process of providing credible evidence of
- implementation actions, and
undertaken for the purpose of improving the effectiveness of
- programs, and
in higher education.” (Palomba & Banta, 2014, p. 2)
The level of accomplishment against which student work is measured.
Focused on whether a specific course is meeting its stated student learning outcomes.
A chart that shows which courses in a curriculum cover which program-level student learning outcomes.
These are any measures that are directly related to what students do: exams, essays, portfolios, etc.
Ongoing assessment of student learning outcomes while the learning is still taking place.
These are any measures that are derived from perceptions about student learning: exit interviews, evaluations, course grades, assignment grades, etc.
“uses the department or program as the level of analysis. Can be quantitative or qualitative, formative or summative, standards-based or value added, and used for improvement or for accountability. Ideally program goals and objectives would serve as a basis for the assessment. Example: how sophisticated a close reading of texts senior English majors can accomplish (if used to determine value added, would be compared to the ability of newly declared majors).” (Leskes 2002)
Student Learning outcomes
Student-centered, comprehensive, aligned, degree-appropriate, and measurable statements about what student can know and do by the end of a course of study.
A validity test by multiple data collection methods to ensure the consistency of results (quantitative and qualitative, direct and indirect).
For more detailed information on assessment terms, please see:
- El Camino College. “Working Definitions @ El Camino College.” Student Learning Outcomes at El Camino College. Accessed July 31, 2015. http://www.elcamino.edu/academics/slo/definitions.asp.
- Leskes, Andrea, and Association of American Colleges & Universities. “Beyond Confusion: An Assessment Glossary.” Peer Review 4, no. 2/3 (Winter/Spring 2002). http://www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/beyond-confusion-assessment-glossary.
- Palomba, Catherina A., and Trudy W. Banta. Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing, and Improving Assessment in Higher Education. 1st Edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1999.
- ———. Assessment Essentials: Planning, Implementing, and Improving Assessment in Higher Education. 2 edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014.
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). “Resource Manual for the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement,” 2012. http://www.sacscoc.org/pdf/Resource%20Manual.pdf. “Appendix B: Glossary of Terms,” pp. 106-126.
- University of Hawaii at Manoa. “Assessment Definitions Glossary.” University of Hawaii at Manoa Office of Assessment. Accessed July 31, 2015. http://manoa.hawaii.edu/assessment/resources/definitions.htm.
Want to Learn More about Assessment? (External Resources)
- Assessment Commons: Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment: http://assessmentcommons.org/
- National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA): http://www.learningoutcomeassessment.org/
- Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC): http://www.sacscoc.org/
- UTD Assessment Readings Zotero Group: https://www.zotero.org/groups/utd_assessment_readings
Forms & Templates
Please visit Hyoka Assessment Tool.
Clarifications on Reports and Plans: Let’s think of a report as two parts. Part A consists of what you plan on doing this year for assessment (fill out the column labeled measure). This is also known as an Assessment Plan. Part B then looks at the past year of what you’ve done for assessment (fill out the columns labeled results and plan along with the summary sections). A full Assessment Report is part A that was filled out last year plus part B that you’re filling out this year. Each year you will hand in Part A from the current school year (Assessment Plan) and part B from the previous school year (making it an Assessment Report).
- Using Collected Assessment Data Workshop
In this hour-long conversation we will discuss how to use what is collected for continuous improvement, frameworks of use, and what other institutions are doing with their data.
- December 14 at 10am in JSOM 1.508. Sign up here.
- Quality Assessment Data Workshop
Come learn about how to collect quality assessment data. Topics include validity, reliability, and rubrics. Hands on activities will help participants stay engaged.
- November 16 at 10am in JSOM 1.508. Sign up here.
Note: All workshops are scheduled to be an hour long.
Director of Assessment
Academic and non-academic assessment