Assessment Expo strives to improve learning

a-expo-2Seventy-three NIU faculty, staff and students attended the sixth annual Assessment Expo, held March 1.

The Assessment Expo provides a forum for the campus community to discuss program assessment and highlight best practices. This year’s theme:  “Using Assessment Results to Improve Student Learning.”

Based on the theme, the University Assessment Panel selected 10 programs to showcase. Presenters worked with Media Services to develop posters describing how their programs use assessment results.

Attendees viewed posters, talked with presenters and participated in four discussion roundtables:

  • Using Exam Results
  • Using Student Feedback
  • Using Culminating Project Results
  • Using External Feedback and Review

Such collaboration makes NIU more accountable to external parties and helps the university to provide the best teaching and learning environments for students.

Assessment Expo 2013The Building Ethical Leaders Using an Integrated Ethics Framework (BELIEF) program’s learning objectives emphasize the systematic integration of ethics throughout the College of Business. A review of assessment data led to hiring a full-time director, tailoring faculty development events and providing more activities for students.

In the Operations Management and Information Systems capstone course, all graduating seniors are required to take the Body of Knowledge Exam, which assesses processes, technology, and project learning objectives. Faculty use the results of the exam to continually improve the integration of concepts throughout the program.

The doctoral candidacy exam for Instructional Technology provides students the opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of educational theory, research, trends, issues and problems. Faculty use exam results to make improvements to better support students’ research interests and prepare students for their dissertation.

The Electrical Engineering Technology & Manufacturing Engineering Technology Senior Design Project is a culminating experience that provides keen insight into the fulfillment of program objectives. Faculty meet yearly to evaluate the assessment results and discuss future modifications.

Assessment Expo 2013NIU teacher certification programs rely on the formal feedback from first year teachers who completed an NIU certificate program, their supervisors, and local school districts. The University Office of Teacher Certification uses this information to address the preparation needs of teacher candidates and to make continual program improvements.

Undergraduate philosophy students are provided the opportunity to demonstrate the ability to clearly present philosophical theories and arguments in a 3,500-word analytical essay. Based on a review of student essays, the philosophy department created a set of “bookend” courses to train students explicitly and directly in analytical essay writing.

Based on the 2011 National College Health Assessment, Health Enhancement recognized a need to educate students about drinking behaviors. Health Enhancement educators developed a demonstration and message to share with students regarding standard drink sizes. Students who participated in the serving size demonstration reported knowledge gains regarding risk reduction behaviors associated with drinking. Additional evaluation results from the serving size initiative will help inform future alcohol education initiatives

The Student Health Advisory Council used survey data to report students’ ideas and concerns regarding health care to the Health Services administration. Health Services and the Student Health Advisory Council used the survey results to implement new practices to improve the student experience. The comprehensive examination used in the Master of Public Health program is an example of using a systems thinking approach for assessment.

In Theatre and Dance, individualized courses of study are provided to each graduate student based on evaluations of multiple performances throughout the academic year to promote each student’s ability to master advance principles of performance.

Lara Lyles, assessment coordinator from the Office of Assessment Services, organized the expo. For more information on assessment, call (815) 753-8659 or email assess@niu.edu.

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