Assessment & Accreditation

Assessment News:

Upcoming Changes

Yes, you heard right: CSP is transitioning away from eLumen to an assessment process that uses a new module in Blackboard called “Blackboard Outcomes.” We will be piloting the new system this fall using one program (BA Sport Management) and one set of institutional outcomes (Graduate School Outcomes). We do not yet have a timeline for implementation across all programs and University Outcomes. Blackboard representatives will be on campus August 15-17 working with myself, college reps, relevant program faculty, and IT staff to set up the pilot programs. I hope to have a better idea of the timeline for full implementation after that visit. I will have more updates at the Faculty Workshop in August. Until we have fully implemented the Blackboard system, we will continue to use eLumen for assessment of learning outcomes.*

How Does “Blackboard Outcomes” Work?

Blackboard Outcomes differs from eLumen in that it uses “juried assessment.” That means Blackboard pulls sample sets of artifacts (assignments submitted in Blackboard) that have been linked to the learning outcomes you’re looking to assess. Then, these samples get assigned to a group of readers – a designated group or department faculty, for example – each of whom scores each artifact in the sample according to the rubric for the outcome(s). With multiple scorers, Blackboard can provide feedback on inter-rater reliability. In this system, a sample, rather than every single assignment, can be pulled in the case of large numbers of students. Also, the course instructor is only grading the assignment for the course, not additionally assessing program outcomes. No nagging of instructors to do their eLumen scoring needed!

Implications

  • This process may require some departments to use multiple means of aggregating assessments. If not all of your program assessments are Blackboard-submissable assignments, you may need to analyze additional data from other sources. For example, test scores for tests taken in Blackboard can be aggregated and reported through Blackboard Statistics. Student performances evaluated on the basis of observations can be scored in online forms, such as Google Forms, the results of which can be aggregated and analyzed.
  • The juried assessment process will require departments to determine which faculty will be evaluators. For institutional outcomes, like Graduate School Outcomes and University Outcomes, groups of faculty will need to be formed to evaluate them.
  • Because fewer faculty will be involved in reading/scoring student artifacts, programs with large numbers of learning outcomes may not find it feasible to score all outcomes every year. These departments may want to schedule a cycle where they review student achievement of a few different outcomes each year.
  • Depending on when faculty are scoring artifacts, the traditional deadline of June 15 for Annual Reports may need to be shifted back.

*Teacher Education programs that have data used by their CAEP accreditor will continue to collect it using “Live Text,” now known as “Watermark.”

What Do We Mean by Assessment?

In higher education today, the term “assessment” has come to mean much more than “grades” or “tests.” In the words of one researcher, assessment, as it is understood by most in higher education today, is “the measurement of the educational impact of an institution on its students” (Terenzini, 1989).

The goal of the assessment process is the improvement of all institutional practices that affect student learning and development.

Institutions that are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, as Concordia is, are required to document and provide evidence for the teaching and assessment practices that lead to improved learning. Colleges and universities are increasingly turning to technological tools to support and manage those documentation efforts. Concordia uses eLumen as its primary assessment management system. eLumen is a database that stores, aggregates, organizes, and allows for the management and reporting of assessment data.

“The key purposes of assessment are to ask important questions about student learning, to get some meaningful information on these questions, and to use the information for academic improvement.”
–Rossman & El-Khawas, 1987

Assessment Process at CSP: This document outlines the assessment process in an undergraduate program from the creation of student learning outcomes to the reporting of results and planning of improvements.

Everyone involved in the educational process has responsibilities for assessment. Some of those responsibilities are listed below:

Faculty/Instructors

  • Assessment of the learning of individual students, classes as a group/section, and the course as a whole
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of specific learning activities (tests, papers, projects, discussions) in helping students achieve course objectives, in helping the course succeed in its objectives, and in contributing to the effectiveness of the program it supports (e.g. General Education, major, minor, licensure, etc.)
  • Timely completion of scoring of assessments (e.g., in eLumen) and regular use of assessment results for program and course improvements.
  • Contributions to the assessment of the majors and programs by participation in departmental assessment efforts.
  • Seeking greater facility and application of assessment strategies.

Department/Program Chairs/Coordinators

  • Leadership in assessment of the effectiveness of departmental courses in meeting the goals of the program (major, general education, licensure, etc.)
  • Oversight of faculty meeting eLumen scoring expectations
  • Use of assessment results for improvements in curriculum and instruction
  • Leadership in the assessment of the department’s majors and programs
  • Writing of annual reports or delegating that task to department members
  • Making greater understanding and application of assessment strategies a part of professional development

Assessment Council Members

  • Semester review of assessment activities of college departments.
  • Oversight of eLumen scoring participation by departments in the college
  • Advising college faculty of appropriate assessment strategies and models; giving feedback for the improvement of assessment practices
  • Promoting and supporting faculty development activities related to assessment.
  • Development of policies and practices to promote effective assessment processes

College Deans

  • Leadership in the assessment of university programs
  • Providing resources for assessment practice
  • Use of assessment results for improvements in programs and departments
  • Use of assessment results for strategic planning and budget decisions
  • Making greater understanding and application of assessment strategies a part of professional development

View Diagram of Assessment Responsibilities

Accreditations for Concordia University

Concordia University, St. Paul, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The University has been accredited since 1959, and will apply for reaffirmation of accreditation in 2017-18. To view Concordia’s HLC accreditation status, please go to Statement of Accreditation Status.

For more information about the Higher Learning Commission, please visit www.hlcommission.org

Some individual programs at Concordia are also accredited by their professional organizations. Please view these accreditations in the Academic Catalog.