The Office of Student Learning Assessment (OSLA) provides resources, advocacy, training and consulting services to academic Divisions to facilitate the development and implementation of adaptive, responsive, faculty-led student learning outcomes assessment plans, processes and practices that uses assessment results to continuously improve academic programs and achieve student success.
OSLA’s Long Term Goal and Objectives
OSLA’s long-term goal is to spearhead UVI’s transformation into a ‘culture of evidence’ and a learner-centered institution committed to student success. To specifically impact the culture change, OSLA must achieve several related strategic objectives:
OSLA’s Strategic Objectives
Given UVI’s current state among faculty, administration, staff and community, five key strategic objectives are important and relevant to transforming UVI into a ‘culture of evidence’ and a learner-centered institution committed to student success:
- Encourage dialogue, raise consciousness, build consensus and establish an authentic learning community based upon greater trust, higher quality communication and more inclusive decision-making practices;
- Reframe the thinking and approaches towards learning outcomes assessment from an end-of-term reporting ritual to an ongoing process of continuous reflection, organizational learning and improvement;
- Approach student learning as a comprehensive, holistic, transformative activity that integrates in-class academic learning and out-of-classroom student development and learning experiences;
- Make better use of UVI’s current technology, systems and data and identify additional enabling technology available in the marketplace;
- Better structure and align UVI’s educational architecture and curriculum such that is operates to place learning first in every policy, program and practice.
Nichols, J. O. (2005). A Road Map for Improvement of Student Learning and Support Services Through Assessment, New York, Agathon Press.
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Characteristics to be Achieved by 2012
UVI's assessment initative will achieve strategic alignment with Vision 2012. The section below lists these ambitious milestones to be achieved by 2012. For universities early in their evolution of implementation of assessment culture of evidence, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of North Central Association (NCA) provides a set of attributes characteristic of more advanced development. The HLC’s list of served as a useful guide for the specification of the following characteristics UVI will strive to attained by 2012.
By UVI’s 50th Anniversary in 2012:
- Assessment will become an institutional priority and a way of life;
- Students, faculty, and staff will view assessment activities as a part of the institution’s culture and as a resource and tool to be used in improving student learning at all degree and program levels;
- Faculty and Administration will understand and value the purposes, advantages, and limitations of assessment ;
- All academic degree programs will have devised and implement assessment plans;
- Each assessment plan devised will specify learning or program outcomes, measures and criteria for success and changes made as result of using the data;
- Assessment of general education skills, competencies, and capacities will be fully implemented;
- Faculty, administrators and staff at UVI will realize that assessment efforts are for improving student learning;
- Led by Division Chairs (Deans), UVI faculty in many or most departments will have developed measurable objectives for each of the program’s educational goals;
- Led by Chairs (Deans), UVI faculty members will actively ensure that direct and indirect measures of student learning are aligned with the program’s educational goals and measurable objectives;
- Led by Division Chairs (Deans), faculty will be actively involved in interpreting the assessment results and recommending improvements based upon these results (i.e., “closing the loop”);
- The UVI Faculty Governing Body, Assessment Committee, Curriculum Committee, other faculty bodies, and individual faculty leaders will all be committed to becoming knowledgeable and remaining current in the field of assessment;
- There will be student representation on the university-wide assessment committees and on all Divisional (School) assessment committees;
- UVI will routinely and effectively communicate to students the purposes of assessment efforts and their roles in these efforts, beginning with the Freshman Orientation Program and continually until they graduate;
- The Provost and Chief Academic Officer will annually negotiate a budget for the assessment program that is enough for the technological support, physical facilities, and space needed to sustain a viable assessment program and to make professional development opportunities available;
- Chairs will use Divisional funds for faculty professional development, faculty release time and other expenses associated with the Division’s assessment activities and initiatives that are determined by the Division’s assessment findings aimed at improving student learning;
- UVI will provide Chairs (Deans) with resources to fund their improvement needs identified from use of assessment results;
- Assessment information sources such as an assessment newsletter and/or an assessment resource manual will be available to faculty to provide them with key assessment principles, concepts, models, and procedures;
- All Divisions and the Curriculum Committee will require that faculty members indicate on the syllabi of previously approved courses and in the proposal for new courses, and for new or revised programs, the measurable objectives for student learning and how student learning will be assessed;
- Considerable program-level data about student and program performance will be available and …
- Assessment data will be consistently used as the basis for making changes across the institution;
- Assessment findings about the state of student learning will be incorporated into reviews of the academic program and into the self-study of institutional effectiveness.
- The conclusions faculty reach after reviewing the assessment results and the recommendations that they make regarding proposed changes in teaching methods, curriculum, course content, instructional resources, and in academic support services will be incorporated into regular Divisional and institutional planning and budgeting processes and will be included in the determination of the priorities for funding and implementation;
- Assessments of student learning will be conducted from at each transition point from the students’ entry to exit: Admissions; Developmental Skills; General Education; Degree Programs; Career Placement; Alumni/Stakeholder Relations (see the “Assessment Spider” below).
Higher Learning Commission NCA (2003). Restructured Expectations: A Transitional Workbook. “Assessment of Student Academic Achievement: Assessment Culture Matrix” Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.