25 February 2009

UW Colleges: Their Assessment Journey

This week a team from University of Wisconsin Colleges described their "Assessment Journey" to an audience at the Texas A&M Assessment Conference. Detailing their progress from 2003 to 2008, the several administrators from different campus spoke candidly about moving from departments' limited participation in assessment activities to systematic and comprehensive assessment that they call "truly institutionalized." Among the Colleges' new approach to documentation of assessment is a web site devoted to resources and also to their annual reports.

The UW Colleges number 13; they are two-year campuses with 17 academic departments linked across the campuses. As one of the speakers at the A&M Conference explained, she may have only two other faculty members in her discipline at her campus, but many more in the same discipline across 12 other campuses. The larger faculty group meets face-to-face twice a year and many times virtually and by phone the rest of the year.

In creating their assessment system, campus stakeholders first spent 2 years identifying the proficiencies to be measured system-wide. They created a rotation system of assessments so that every proficiency is measured in a 2-year period. Participation by faculty is mandatory: every instructor must assess at least one section per semester. (Instructors teach 4-5 sections; when 2 or more have the same prep, they commonly run the assessment in all those sections.)

The institution reported 12,479 "unique assessments" for Fall 2008. The unique assessment reflects one student in one assessment in one course.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Email contact: bold[AT]marybold.com. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as legal or professional advice. Bold is the co-author of Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. She is a consultant and speaker on assessment, distance learning, and technology.

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