Assessment of Student Learning
Oakland City University is continually looking for ways to improve its educational efforts.
For that reason, assessment is very important. One of the critical elements of this assessment effort is the design and use of learning outcomes (LOs). OCU uses LOs within four major contexts. These contexts are institutional learning outcomes, school learning outcomes, degree program learning outcomes, and course learning outcomes.
The Office of Assessment designs, plans, and implements the University’s assessment program which covers placement testing, course evaluations, program evaluations, capstone testing, and graduate surveys. Periodic refinement of stated goals and objectives as well as processes and assessment mechanisms are conducted to promote the highest quality and most current practices available.
The overriding responsibility of the Office of Institutional Assessment is to support the university in its enhancement of intellectual, spiritual, physical and social development of all students through a variety of assessment activities. The office also supports accreditation and strategic planning activities.
The Office of Assessment at Oakland City University serves to promote excellence in student learning, educational practices and quality of service by establishing and maintaining a campus culture of continuous reflection and improvement at all levels of the institution. The office provides leadership and support to the campus community in efforts to demonstrate that the University is fulfilling its institutional mission and to enhance Oakland City University as a community of scholarship.
Assessment at Oakland City University is:
Learner-centered – Assessment is the ongoing faculty process of gathering evidence of student learning for the sole purpose of improving teaching, learning, courses, and programs.
Faculty-driven – Assessment is the ongoing faculty process of gathering evidence of student learning for the sole purpose of improving teaching, learning, courses, and programs.
Transparent – Assessment is evaluated to the extent to which OCU is making evidence of student accomplishment readily accessible and potentially useful and meaningful to various audiences.
Functions of the Office of Assessment
- Coordinate and support an ongoing, systematic program of institutional evaluation and assessment of student achievement, and facilitate the incorporation of the findings into the planning and accreditation processes;
- Work with academic and administrative programs to develop and implement outcomes-based assessment plans in order to improve programs and services at all institutional levels;
- Engage the campus community in a dialogue about assessment through a variety of avenues, including workshops, presentations, newsletters, development and maintenance of web-based assessment resources, and service on campus committees; and
- Engage in assessment and institutional research and maintain an active role in professional organizations.
The Assessment Committee conducts research, initiates proposals and reviews and makes recommendations on proposals concerning assessment of the effectiveness of the University’s academic programs and services; facilitates and maintains communication in joint efforts to evaluate the total educational experience provided for students of Oakland City University; and coordinates activities related to educational assessment throughout the University.
The Assessment Committee is chaired by the Director of Assessment and consists of one member from each school, one at-large member, and a representative from the Provost’s office (ex-officio). School representatives will be appointed by their respective Deans. At-large members will be approved by the Director of Assessment. The OCU Assessment Committee will work with the Director of Assessment, who reports to the Provost. Its committee member’s tasks are to:
- Serve as a key liaison person between their school/department related to assessment.
- Work to help educate how the institutional assessment system – Campus Labs functions and what information is needed to maximize its functionality.
- Work with individual schools/groups to discover what assessment is already taking place, and it is being used and monitored.
Recommend actions to enhance the use of assessment data for institutional effectiveness and student learning.
- Understand what is being asked by the external audiences; e.g., HLC.
- Assist in writing reports to the external agencies and other audiences.
- Monitor the quality/use of assessment of learning data that is embedded in campus structures and processes.
Faculty and instructional staff are responsible for guiding and monitoring student learning throughout an academic program beginning at the course level. When designing new courses or revising current offerings, it is important to establish course-level student learning outcomes that advance aspects of the academic program goals.
All courses offered at OCU must clearly articulate student learning outcomes. These learning outcomes should be available to students through course syllabi.
Benefits of Course Assessment:
- Provides regular feedback about student progress (quizzes, tests, etc.)
- Gives insight into day-to-day teaching methods and student learning processes.
- Provides students with a means of gauging their own learning and then modify study strategies as appropriate.
- Provides student data and feedback for instructors for course improvements
Academic Program-Level Assessment
Program Level Assessment focuses on what and how an academic program is contributing to the learning, growth, and development of students as a group. A quality assessment plan reflects specific program goals, measureable student learning outcomes, and a well-articulated plan for timely implementation, strategic data collection, and analysis. Findings should then be used to inform, confirm, and support program level change and facilitate continuous program level improvement.
Benefits of Program-Level Assessment:
- Discover through empirical evidence “what students are learning”
- Identify gaps in student learning areas
- Inform teaching pedagogy by aligning best practices with learner’s needs
- Make informed decisions; guide curriculum, course action, and revision
- Demonstrate overall program effectiveness; showcase student learning ‐ “what works”
Institutional-Level Assessment gauges the extent to which the institution achieves its mission and creates a common understanding of quality and improvement.
Course evaluations are conducted each academic term at the conclusion of the course. Students are encouraged to participate in this process as a method of placing accountability for educational services on the university. The student course evaluation seeks information related to student perceptions of classroom dynamics, course content, and instructor and student performance and satisfaction.
Assessment Day is part of Oakland City University’s Assessment Program beginning with the 2018-2019 academic year. The mission for Assessment Day is to facilitate high quality, pre-post data collection on student learning and developmental outcomes. The focus of Assessment Day is to collect information to assess programs with broad scope and high intensity, such as Foundational Core clusters, large-scale student affairs programs, and university-wide initiatives.
On Assessment Day, OCU undergraduates are tested on their knowledge in one of the Foundational Core areas. Students may also complete tests measuring critical thinking, cultural knowledge, or intellectual and personal development. In addition, students may complete assessments related to ethical reasoning in order to assess various OCU academic initiatives. Generally, half the day has a common focus and the remainder of the day is devoted to assessment activities by faculty within academic programs.
Academic Program Review
Oakland City University (OCU) is dedicated to the enhancement of intellectual, spiritual, physical and social development for positive leadership. Part of OCU’s mission is carried out by faculty as they provide rigorous academic instruction and develop meaningful relationships with students. Making sure OCU’s academic programs remain focused on these core commitments of the university requires regular comprehensive program review to support continuous improvement.
Accreditation requirements from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) prompted efforts to develop a streamlined institutional academic program review process. The academic program review process aims to take a comprehensive look at a variety of aspects that influence program effectiveness, including assessment of student learning, finances, facilities usage, curricular development, and enrollment trends. Implementing this complex process will undoubtedly require additional efforts from faculty, staff and administrators. However, engaging in program review at this level also promises opportunities to highlight the successes of our current efforts and a chance to strengthen areas of weaknesses.
Co-curricular life plays an important role in the student experience at OCU. Students engage in activities that highlight, integrate and enhance formal academic learning. As such, assessment planning also includes the identification of the range of co-curricular educational experiences through which students demonstrate learning. Thus, co-curricular units and programs set learning goals, assess the goals and report on progress, annually.
Anthology (formerly Campus Labs) is Oakland City University’s assessment, accreditation, and planning system. First implemented in 2014, Oakland City University utilizes a variety of tools from Anthology that assists the University community in the assessment of student learning, institutional and programmatic accreditation, academic and co-curricular program review, retention and student success, surveying, and data analysis including:
- Baseline (survey, rubric, and student response system tool)
- Beacon (early alert and predictive academic advising tool)
- Compliance Assist (accreditation, faculty credential, and program review tool)
- Course Evaluations (online end-of-course evaluation tool)
- Outcomes (assessment of student learning tool)
- Planning (assessment, unit-level, and institutional-level planning and report generation tool)