The Importance of a Consistent Assessment Process

February 10, 2016

Assessment is the best window that every faculty member and administrator has into how well students are performing. It’s a necessary component to ensure that your program is providing students with everything they need. Administrators are inevitably a few steps removed from students, and assessment reports are one of the best tools they have to bridge that divide.

You have to depend on the intermediary information you get from the assessment data your faculty collects. If that data is limited in scope or difficult to parse and analyze, then you’re left with little information to help figure out if your students are achieving their learning objectives.

If all your professors have their own methods for collecting assessment data, then you have to spend time going through data in a number of different formats and types and trying to make sense of it all. If your faculty members aren’t keeping your clearly defined goals and learning objectives (you have those right?) top-of-mind, then you have to do extra work to figure out how to connect the results you have back to the outcomes you hope to achieve as well.

There’s an easier way.

Get everyone on the same page

There’s no reason you have to settle for a hodgepodge collection of assessment results in as many different formats as you have professors. Having all your faculty members track and collect their assessment data the same way will save you time and, with the right technology, probably save them a lot of time and trouble as well.

Define the categories everyone needs to be tracking

The first step is making sure that you know what learning outcomes everyone should be aiming for. Each department and faculty member will likely have their own set of goals and categories to track, but you should also establish institutional learning outcomes to see results on the administrative level.

Get your faculty set up using the same assessment technology

When your school invests in powerful assessment software, then all your faculty members will immediately have an easier way to create their exams and ensure the results can be tracked back to the categories that best show you how well you’re meeting your institutional goals. Using consistent assessment software across the board also ensures that you’ll receive all assessment reports in one consistent format that makes it easier for you to see how results compare across courses, departments, and programs, as well as longitudinally for each student over time.

Provide training in a standardized process

You can’t just hand your faculty members a new tech product and a list of learning objectives; you should also provide them with training on how to use them. Work with your faculty members to develop a consistent process for:

  • Storing their questions in one centralized item bank
  • Categorizing their questions according to the larger learning objectives of the institution (as well as all the other criteria they deem important)
  • Creating exams
  • Grading exams
  • Producing assessment reports

When everyone’s working within the same exam software, some consistency will come naturally, but having a clearly defined process will help ensure that everyone’s on the same page in both what to do and how to do it.

Start Getting Clear Assessment Reports

The end result is clear assessment reports that are easy for you to read and understand. Better yet, they’ll come throughout the entire semester—not just at the end. You can regularly check in and see how students are progressing and what areas they seem to be struggling in. That’s good for you, for your faculty members, and most importantly, for your students.

ExamSoft makes it possible for administrators and faculty members to automate much of the process of creating thorough and easy-to-read assessment reports. For more information, set up a demo.

 

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