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Office of the Provost Accreditation

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

TOPIC: Recommendation 2 from 2009 regarding assessment of student learning

Challenge/Opportunity: NWCCU made a recommendation in 2009 that WSU should continue to enhance and strengthen assessment of student learning outcomes, including across all undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs and campuses.

Recent Actions/Outcomes: This recommendation was resolved in 2013 and resulted in a commendation from NWCCU regarding the comprehensive culture of assessment that has developed at WSU. This commendation reflected a number of efforts. For example, since 2009, annual assessment report templates have been adjusted over time to meet evolving needs and deepen assessment quality. WSU expects substantially all programs (≥90 percent) to continuously have their assessment elements in place and updated. The university’s overarching goal is for assessment to be meaningful and useful to faculty and students. Thus, in any given year, a few programs may experience a change in their program context, prompting faculty to revisit basic processes or tools. Faculty might decide to adjust a particular measure or process to increase the quality of their data or a program might pilot a new measure which needs several iterations to produce meaningful data.

In 2011, the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning (ATL) identified six key elements of assessment of student learning for all undergraduate programs, and between 2011 and 2013, ATL assisted programs as needed to get these elements in place.

Current/Future Emphasis or Next Steps: From 2013 to 2018, ATL has worked with programs to self-assess key elements, to promote quality and utility and to collect other quality indicators over time. In addition, periodic review and approval of learning outcomes and assessment measures by faculty help ensure that outcomes and measures are meaningful and credible to faculty and are useful in relation to the curriculum and students. Several colleges have also created assessment committees in recent years (e.g., College of Arts and Sciences, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture). Additionally, with leadership representation from each college and campus, the Liaison Council for Undergraduate Assessment has met bi-monthly since 2011 to give input on assessment systems and practices, build assessment capacity, and discuss common concerns and possible solutions. Since 2013, the Graduate School team has also provided feedback to each of the college deans about the assessment of student learning for graduate programs in their college.

For More Information at WSU:

NWCCU Standards Reference: 4.A.3


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