Assessment FAQs
How does SACS intend for institutions to assess the QEP?
In the QEP Handbook dated March 4, 2008, SACS outlined its general expectations for assessment of the QEP.  SACS expects that evaluation of the QEP will be multifaceted, use quantitative and qualitative measures, and be flexible enough to accommodate subsequent changes made as a result of the analysis of assessment results.  Initially, SACS expects that evaluation strategies will focus on the planning and implementation process.
 
What kinds of information will we need to present to SACS in our 5th Year Impact Report?
SACS requires all institutions to submit an impact report on the implementation of the QEP five years after the date of reaffirmation.  WCU’s 5th Year Report will be due in spring of 2012 .  However, data collection for that report will begin at least one year earlier.  The 5th Year Impact Report now carries the same potential for sanctions as the normal ten year review.  Specifically for the QEP, SACS expects us to provide in our 5th Year Report a description of the QEP’s direct impact on student learning.

This date is subject to change as SACS has been shifting dates around in order to create an effective schedule going forward.

How does WCU plan to assess the QEP?
WCU’s QEP can be implemented across our entire array of academic programs and support units.  Moreover, the QEP outcomes can and should be addressed at both the programmatic and the institutional level.  The breadth and variety in the QEP preclude a ‘one size fits all’ approach to assessment.  Each program or unit involved in the QEP will be expected to participate in the assessment effort.  Thus, assessment will include measures administered at both the institutional and program levels. 

What is the role of the QEP Assessment Committee?
The QEP Assessment Committee provides oversight and guidance to all assessment activities related to the QEP.  The primary role of the committee is to establish guidelines and procedures for assessment.  Only in select cases will the committee actually conduct assessments.  We expect the role of the committee to evolve but at present specific tasks of the QEP Assessment Committee include:

  • Define specific outcomes and metarubrics for the QEP assessment
  • Establish campus guidelines and procedures for the QEP assessment
  • Provide support to programs in development of plans for the QEP assessment
  • Administer and evaluate institutional-level assessment measures (NSSE, CLA, etc.)
  • Develop data collection and reporting system for the QEP assessment

What is the role of the program  in assessment of the QEP?
Ultimately, the QEP will succeed if it is integrated into the curriculum and functions of every program; thus, any comprehensive assessment of the QEP must include the participation of all departments and programs.  It is expected that:

  • Programs will incorporate most, if not all, of the five QEP outcomes in their curriculum. 
  • Programs will develop an assessment plan, appropriate to their discipline or function(s), for the QEP outcomes.
  • Programs will include in their regular annual assessment report information on QEP outcomes for students in their program(s)

In this context, program includes academic degree programs as well co-curricular programs.

What are programs NOT expected to do relative to assessment of the QEP?
Assessment of the QEP must be manageable and be integrated in the overall aims and objectives of the program.

  • Programs will not be expected to assess and report on each QEP outcome each year.  Programs will be able to establish a schedule of assessment that allows focus on a limited number of outcomes at any given time.
  • Programs will not be expected to assess aspects of an outcome that are not appropriate or relevant to their discipline or function(s).  It is anticipated, however, that academic degree programs would address most, if not all, of the outcomes.

What is the purpose of the metarubrics?
The metarubrics define the core skills and behaviors that would be seen as students become integrated, intentional learners.  The metarubrics:

  • Identify and describe commonly shared expectations for learning for each outcome
  • Represent how student learning should become progressively more complex over time
  • Provide flexible criteria for making judgments about student work in a wide range of learning opportunities
  • Allow students to understand what is expected of them in terms of their learning at WCU

What is the relationship of the metarubrics to program or course assessment?
The metarubrics are a framework which programs should adjust for specific use; it is expected that programs will modify the terms and language to fit their discipline/functions.  Programs will use the metarubrics as a guide to ensure that core expectations of the QEP are addressed in the discipline.  If programs align their individual rubrics with these institutional models they will assure that what they are doing integrates with the overall QEP learning expectations.

What is the role of the Education Briefcase in assessment of the QEP?
The Education Briefcase was not designed primarily as an assessment tool.  The Briefcase provides students a means to showcase their learning, but, we can use the Education Briefcase as an aid to assessment.  Assessment is more meaningful when it occurs in authentic learning contexts not in artificial contexts that may have little connection to a discipline or to the ‘real world’.  Further, it is best if information is captured as change over time.  The Education Briefcase can provide that longitudinal information in an authentic context. 

As the QEP is implemented, the Briefcase will provide the primary documentation of the rich, multifaceted learning that is the goal of the QEP; that is, the Briefcase will be the repository for student work that will be assessed for evidence of integrated learning.  Some things in the Briefcase will be responses to institutional prompts; the appropriate institutional departments or programs (e.g. career services, advising center) will review that student work.  In other instances, academic programs will have discipline-specific prompts that will be assessed within the context of the discipline. 

How will assessment results be used?
Assessment results will be used to evaluate and adjust the overall implementation of the QEP.  Program assessment results will be used in combination with institutional level assessment results to report (to internal and external audiences) on the extent to which the University achieves the goals of the QEP.

How will assessment results NOT be used?
QEP assessment results will NOT be used to evaluate individual faculty members. Further, QEP assessment results will not be used to ‘grade’ programs, although they may be used to inform, encourage, or improve the delivery of student learning at the program level.

How does SACS intend for institutions to assess the QEP?
In the QEP Handbook dated March 4, 2008, SACS outlined its general expectations for assessment of the QEP.  SACS expects that evaluation of the QEP will be multifaceted, use quantitative and qualitative measures, and be flexible enough to accommodate subsequent changes made as a result of the analysis of assessment results.  Initially, SACS expects that evaluation strategies will focus on the planning and implementation process.
 
What kinds of information will we need to present to SACS in our 5th Year Impact Report?
SACS requires all institutions to submit an impact report on the implementation of the QEP five years after the date of reaffirmation.  WCU’s 5th Year Report will be due in spring of 2012 .  However, data collection for that report will begin at least one year earlier.  The 5th Year Impact Report now carries the same potential for sanctions as the normal ten year review.  Specifically for the QEP, SACS expects us to provide in our 5th Year Report a description of the QEP’s direct impact on student learning.

This date is subject to change as SACS has been shifting dates around in order to create an effective schedule going forward.

How does WCU plan to assess the QEP?
WCU’s QEP can be implemented across our entire array of academic programs and support units.  Moreover, the QEP outcomes can and should be addressed at both the programmatic and the institutional level.  The breadth and variety in the QEP preclude a ‘one size fits all’ approach to assessment.  Each program or unit involved in the QEP will be expected to participate in the assessment effort.  Thus, assessment will include measures administered at both the institutional and program levels. 

What is the role of the QEP Assessment Committee?
The QEP Assessment Committee provides oversight and guidance to all assessment activities related to the QEP.  The primary role of the committee is to establish guidelines and procedures for assessment.  Only in select cases will the committee actually conduct assessments.  We expect the role of the committee to evolve but at present specific tasks of the QEP Assessment Committee include:

  • Define specific outcomes and metarubrics for the QEP assessment
  • Establish campus guidelines and procedures for the QEP assessment
  • Provide support to programs in development of plans for the QEP assessment
  • Administer and evaluate institutional-level assessment measures (NSSE, CLA, etc.)
  • Develop data collection and reporting system for the QEP assessment

What is the role of the program  in assessment of the QEP?
Ultimately, the QEP will succeed if it is integrated into the curriculum and functions of every program; thus, any comprehensive assessment of the QEP must include the participation of all departments and programs.  It is expected that:

  • Programs will incorporate most, if not all, of the five QEP outcomes in their curriculum. 
  • Programs will develop an assessment plan, appropriate to their discipline or function(s), for the QEP outcomes.
  • Programs will include in their regular annual assessment report information on QEP outcomes for students in their program(s)

In this context, program includes academic degree programs as well co-curricular programs.

What are programs NOT expected to do relative to assessment of the QEP?
Assessment of the QEP must be manageable and be integrated in the overall aims and objectives of the program.

  • Programs will not be expected to assess and report on each QEP outcome each year.  Programs will be able to establish a schedule of assessment that allows focus on a limited number of outcomes at any given time.
  • Programs will not be expected to assess aspects of an outcome that are not appropriate or relevant to their discipline or function(s).  It is anticipated, however, that academic degree programs would address most, if not all, of the outcomes.

What is the purpose of the metarubrics?
The metarubrics define the core skills and behaviors that would be seen as students become integrated, intentional learners.  The metarubrics:

  • Identify and describe commonly shared expectations for learning for each outcome
  • Represent how student learning should become progressively more complex over time
  • Provide flexible criteria for making judgments about student work in a wide range of learning opportunities
  • Allow students to understand what is expected of them in terms of their learning at WCU

What is the relationship of the metarubrics to program or course assessment?
The metarubrics are a framework which programs should adjust for specific use; it is expected that programs will modify the terms and language to fit their discipline/functions.  Programs will use the metarubrics as a guide to ensure that core expectations of the QEP are addressed in the discipline.  If programs align their individual rubrics with these institutional models they will assure that what they are doing integrates with the overall QEP learning expectations.

What is the role of the Education Briefcase in assessment of the QEP?
The Education Briefcase was not designed primarily as an assessment tool.  The Briefcase provides students a means to showcase their learning, but, we can use the Education Briefcase as an aid to assessment.  Assessment is more meaningful when it occurs in authentic learning contexts not in artificial contexts that may have little connection to a discipline or to the ‘real world’.  Further, it is best if information is captured as change over time.  The Education Briefcase can provide that longitudinal information in an authentic context. 

As the QEP is implemented, the Briefcase will provide the primary documentation of the rich, multifaceted learning that is the goal of the QEP; that is, the Briefcase will be the repository for student work that will be assessed for evidence of integrated learning.  Some things in the Briefcase will be responses to institutional prompts; the appropriate institutional departments or programs (e.g. career services, advising center) will review that student work.  In other instances, academic programs will have discipline-specific prompts that will be assessed within the context of the discipline. 

How will assessment results be used?
Assessment results will be used to evaluate and adjust the overall implementation of the QEP.  Program assessment results will be used in combination with institutional level assessment results to report (to internal and external audiences) on the extent to which the University achieves the goals of the QEP.

How will assessment results NOT be used?
QEP assessment results will NOT be used to evaluate individual faculty members. Further, QEP assessment results will not be used to ‘grade’ programs, although they may be used to inform, encourage, or improve the delivery of student learning at the program level.

 

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