WSU’s Federated System of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
The WSU system is a federated one, premised on the need for programs to tailor assessment to their particular circumstances and context, yet coordinate with the central effort. The first fruits of the system are in the University’s 2009-10 portfolio of its assessment and accreditation work.
During the first cycle of the System, the Office of Assessment and Innovation (OAI) asked each Undergraduate Degree-granting Program to write an annual report on its student learning outcomes assessment work. The report summarizes how each undergraduate program:
- Chooses and defines assessment questions of interest and verifies these questions in dialog with its relevant stakeholder group.
- Defines goals, learning outcomes and direct measures of student learning that are well articulated and credible to stakeholders. Mature assessment efforts include direct measures of student learning that are mapped by the program to WSU’s institutional goals.
- Presents evidence collected in its assessment and cogently analyzes that data to suggest next action steps, which are verified with stakeholders.
- Motivates, facilitates and provides supportive leadership with concrete policies for the activities above.
The Provost’s office, through the Executive Council:
Chooses and defines assessment questions of interest to the university and verifies these questions in dialog with stakeholders (eg HECBoard, OFM, NWCCU, Washington Legislature) and in the national conversation about assessment and accreditation (AACU, AEA, etc) working with OAI, reports annually how the university:
- Articulates goals and learning outcomes that are credible to internal and external stakeholders. (eg, review and revise WSU 6 learning goals)
- Develops university-wide assessment questions (e.g., purpose for assessment beyond accreditation needs)
- Presents evidence collected in institution-wide assessment activities and cogently analyzes that data to suggest next action steps for the assessment system and the university, which are verified with WSU’s stakeholders. (eg, see annual updates in UniversityPortfolio.wsu.edu)
- Implements policies that motivate, facilitate and provide a supportive context for the activities above.
The Office of Assessment and Innovation facilitates the work of the Provost by:
- Consulting with programs about their assessment activities, including providing feedback to programs on their reports.
- Collecting annual program reports and facilitating evaluation of the reports using the Guide to Effective Student Learning Outcomes Assessment rubric.
- Collecting data from programs on their direct measures of student learning outcomes
- Reporting to the public and WSU constituents on efficacy of university and program-level assessment activities and attainment of learning outcomes.
- Harvesting Feedback on a course assignment describes a technique programs could use to involve stakeholders in verifying assignments, student products and the outcomes criteria used by the program.
- From Student Work to University Accreditation documents the initial vision for the WSU system (ca Sept 2009), showing how assessment at the program level can be rolled up to college and university level.
- Pilot results for WSU’s achievement of its student learning outcomes.
- Developing WSU’s Guide to Student Learning Outcomes Assessment summarizes the work to create and validate the rubric.
- Progress at a Glance documents a primary trait analysis of the 2009-10 assessment work of the WSU programs
- Ratings of 58 programs show the developmental stage of WSU’s assessment efforts
- The 2009-10 assessment reports were published as an appendix in WSU’s response to NWCCU’s request following WSU’s 2009 accreditation review.
- WSU’s application for the 2011 CHEA award for outstanding institutional practice in student learning outcomes gives a good first look at the method and pilot results 2009-2010. (Oct 30, 2010)