Above text quoted from the Academic Catalog.
The original plan for assessment was approved by North Central Association in 1995. The process of assessment at Drury has evolved over the past 5 years. Assessment information has prompted curricular change, an increased emphasis on student learning, improvements in facilities, the purchase of more advanced technology, increases in the number of faculty and staff, and more services for students. Regarding the major departments, 80% of the programs are participating in assessment with faculty involvement in ways that are strengthening their programs; 15% have faculty ownership and are moving toward promising assessment practices which are likely to lead to improvement once fully implemented; 5% of the programs are still at the early stages of gaining faculty involvement and engaging in the business of assessment seriously. The two established graduate programs have been involved in the practice of assessment for more than 5 years, while the new programs have the establishment of an assessment protocol as a top priority. The institutional commitment is for all programs to reach the fully implemented stage as soon as possible.
During these 5 years, there are lessons that have been learned about the process of assessment. It will be interesting to review these lessons after another 5 years of involvement in the assessment of student academic achievement.
• Assessment of student academic achievement must have administrative support. This includes financial support and involvement. At Drury, the administration has been supportive of assessment from the beginning. In 1995, the position of Director of Academic Support Services was established in the office of the Vice-President of Academic Affairs. One of the responsibilities of this position was to coordinate all assessment activities on campus, and publish the annual report on the assessment of student academic achievement.
• Assessment must be faculty driven and have faculty ownership. The outcomes being assessed must be those that faculty care about. There is a need for support, however, in carrying out the details and logistics involved in assessment.
• Assessment of student academic achievement requires a paradigm shift. The difference between grading and assessment is a difficult concept. This shift requires faculty to concentrate on student performance as opposed to faculty performance. It also demands a change in thinking about coursework and curricular matters as a whole, as opposed to thinking only in terms of individual student performance.
• When assessment information leads to budget implications, involvement in assessment is increased.
• Assessment works better if it is embedded in the course work. Neither faculty nor students are motivated to participate in activities that do not serve the purpose of student learning.
• Involvement in assessment leads to rich conversations regarding student learning. Several departments have submitted annual reports that indicate an increased emphasis on the coherence of the curriculum and processes that involve the students in the learning environment.
• Peer review is a powerful tool. When faculty committees review departmental plans, it encourages departmental participation in the assessment process.
• Sustaining interest in assessment is a difficult task. It is beneficial to all concerned when more faculty participate directly in the process. Only then does it become part of the campus culture.
Related Links:Academic Goals & Outcomes