Assessment resources encompass information or training provided to faculty and staff to help them understand, develop, implement, communicate, and use evidence of student learning. Transparent assessment resources are:
• Presented in language that is understandable to the novice
• Prominently posted or linked to multiple places across the website
• Downloadable or accessible in a timely fashion by multiple web browsers and download speeds
• Updated regularly to reflect current activities and new resources
• Receptive to feedback or comments on additional resources, training, or potential professional development needs
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville is the February 2020 NILOA Featured Website! The OIRA helps University of Tennessee fulfill its mission by providing “accurate and reliable data to university administrators, departments, and faculty to illuminate and inform their decision-making.” Website visitors can quickly find a diverse collection of institutional and assessment data and reports presented in various ways. While some data are reported as stand-alone graphs, other results are more interactive. The OIRA website also has several useful assessment resources, including an extensive Guide to Program Assessment released February 2020. The Assessment Steering Committee developed a useful Rubric for Assessment Report Evaluation to help ensure data are reported effectively and efficiently, aligned with student learning outcomes, supported with evidence, and with a plan to use data for improvement. Furthermore, website visitors encounter useful tips on course-level assessment, writing clear outcomes, an Assessment Toolbox with tips for formative and summative assessment. There are also resources to inform inclusive teaching, syllabus design, and much more. Finally, to support data-driven decision making, the Data Central web page takes the interactivity of data a step further to help those within the institution effectively use data for decision-making. Some data are showcased in detailed reports which further unpack what the data mean and how data are used to improve. For these reasons, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment at the University of Tennessee is an institutional example for the NILOA Transparency Framework in the Assessment Resources component, and a Featured Website in the category of Centralized Assessment Repository.
James Madison University
James Madison University’s (JMU) Student Affairs Assessment Support Services (SASS) web page is the NILOA Featured Website for November 2019! While SASS offers various services for members of the JMU community such as consulting and the Learning Improvement Initiative with the Division of Student Affairs, there are also a myriad of resources for external visitors. For example, SASS features numerous resources for each step of the assessment process including resources for developing student learning outcome statements (SLOS), background on and characteristics of good SLOS, important things to consider before writing SLOS, and the ABCD method for ensuring your outcomes are measurable. Furthermore, resources for assessment instrument selection and design include tips for aligning instruments to SLOS, and the advantages and disadvantages of selecting already available instruments versus creating your own. There are also resources for program creation and mapping which follow a program theory approach, and program implementation and fidelity to ensure your program is implemented as intended.
Website visitors can also find information on professional standards for assessment, JMU’s guide to reporting assessment results, presentation slides for past assessment workshops, and links to useful assessment organizations, conferences, awards, and journals. We invite you to peruse the valuable resources for each step of the assessment process. Finally, there are various resources linked through the Center for Assessment & Research Studies (CARS). Visitors can look into their award winning Assessment 101 workshop, as well as find learning improvement examples. In addition, you can find several useful overarching resources on assessment for academic programs and general education in the form of handouts, videos, articles, and presentations. For these reasons, JMU’s Student Affairs Support Services web page is a NILOA Featured Website in the Centralized Assessment Repository and Creativity categories, as well as an exemplar for the Transparency Framework Assessment Resources component.