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Program Evaluation and Assessment: Integrating Methods, Process, and Culture
Unformatted Document Text:  reducing the opposition of faculty to assessment. When the results of several assessments reinforce each other, it becomes simpler to convince people that the findings are valid and proposed actions are warranted. Scenario one: Quick response Let me propose one possible combination of methods as a simple and effective scenario for an initial assessment cycle. Assume that most faculty in the program highly value teaching students how to conduct research. For an initial assessment effort, the program could get a group of faculty to collectively review a sample of student research papers. This could be supplemented by a syllabi study to see the role research assignments play in courses, a transcript study examining how many research courses students take and in what order, and a student “self- assessment” questionnaire covering various elements of the research and writing process as well as their evaluation of resulting papers. Direct and Indirect Measures The scenario above would meet accreditors’ expectations that the program look at both direct and indirect measures of student learning. Direct measures actually look at student work. In this case, faculty would be evaluating actual papers from students to see if they measured up to the program’s knowledge and skills objectives. Indirect measures are a second important strategy as they have the potential to provide information on behavioral and affective traits that are believed to affect student performance. Pat Hutchings (1989) articulated years ago that just measuring outcomes in insufficient. Looking at faculty expectations and student learning behaviors that underlie student performance through indirect measures is also essential. Information from indirect assessments like student surveys or transcript analyses also provide vital information conducive to identifying strategies for improvement. For example, in the above 11

Authors: Young, Candace.
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reducing the opposition of faculty to assessment. When the results of several assessments
reinforce each other, it becomes simpler to convince people that the findings are valid and
proposed actions are warranted.
Scenario one: Quick response
Let me propose one possible combination of methods as a simple and effective scenario
for an initial assessment cycle. Assume that most faculty in the program highly value teaching
students how to conduct research. For an initial assessment effort, the program could get a group
of faculty to collectively review a sample of student research papers. This could be
supplemented by a syllabi study to see the role research assignments play in courses, a transcript
study examining how many research courses students take and in what order, and a student “self-
assessment” questionnaire covering various elements of the research and writing process as well
as their evaluation of resulting papers.
Direct and Indirect Measures
The scenario above would meet accreditors’ expectations that the program look at both
direct and indirect measures of student learning. Direct measures actually look at student work.
In this case, faculty would be evaluating actual papers from students to see if they measured up
to the program’s knowledge and skills objectives. Indirect measures are a second important
strategy as they have the potential to provide information on behavioral and affective traits that
are believed to affect student performance. Pat Hutchings (1989) articulated years ago that just
measuring outcomes in insufficient. Looking at faculty expectations and student learning
behaviors that underlie student performance through indirect measures is also essential.
Information from indirect assessments like student surveys or transcript analyses also provide
vital information conducive to identifying strategies for improvement. For example, in the above
11


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