Assessment & Accreditation

What Do We Mean by Assessment?

At CSP, when we use the term “Assessment,” we are typically referring to the process by which we evaluate how well students can demonstrate their learning of outcomes/objectives at the course, program, and institutional levels. We set out these outcomes/objectives in the form of student learning outcomes. (SLOs) Here are examples of student learning outcomes in use in CSP Colleges in 2016:

SLOs in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (formerly Arts & Sciences)
SLOs in the College of Business and Technology (includes mathematics)
SLOs in the College of Education and Science (includes health sciences)

The goal of the assessment process is the improvement of courses, curriculum, instruction, or any institutional practices that affect student learning and development. Improvement “closes the loop” from expected student learning (SLOs), to assessment of learning, to improvements. At CSP, improvements take place annually based on faculty review of student learning assessment results. Plans for improvements are part of the Annual Report for each program.

Institutions that are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, as CSP 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. CSP uses Blackboard to record and aggregate faculty assessment of student learning outcomes.

Assessment Process at CSP: With the transition to Blackboard as our assessment platform, this process is under revision.

Everyone involved in the educational process at CSP 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

Assessment

CSP Uses Blackboard Tools for University-wide Assessment

As of June 30, 2019, CSP no longer uses eLumen for assessment of learning outcomes. Blackboard offers several ways to use embedded rubrics for assessing CORE and academic program outcomes, including Blackboard Outcomes, secondary in-course section rubrics, and a new tool from EAC.

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 reader or group of readers – designated department faculty, for example – each of whom scores each artifact in their assigned 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 CORE Outcomes, groups of faculty may 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.”

 

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.