Assessment and Institutional Research
The mission of St. Ambrose, focused on student development, demands that we investigate the extent to which learning occurs and the degree to which our institutional activities contribute to that learning.
The purpose of assessment at St. Ambrose is to provide useful feedback to students, faculty, and external stakeholders for benchmarking and improving institutional effectiveness.
Assessment & Evaluation Committee:
The Assessment & Evaluation Committee promotes a culture of student learning by:
• serving as a consultative body to SAU and its curricular and co-curricular units
• sharing assessment and evaluation resources and results with the university community
• evaluating the progress of university-wide assessment and evaluation activities
The following values guide the implementation and evaluation of assessment at St. Ambrose.
• Effective assessment provides timely results used to improve student learning & institutional effectiveness
• Effective assessment is efficient & feasible, using existing instruments, data, & procedures when possible
• Effective assessment meets both internal demands and external expectations
• Effective assessment synthesizes information from high-quality assessment instruments for benchmarking
• Effective assessment is developed & sustained by faculty & staff, with strong support from campus leaders
• Effective assessment is continuously evaluated and improved
• Effective assessment aligns with our institutional commitments to student development & integrated learning
• Effective assessment comes in many forms, but is informed by scholarship and good practice
The concept of a common data set arose out of the demand placed on colleges and universities for large amounts of information from various external organizations.
The common data set is made up of a set of standards and definitions of data to help ensure that data is more likely to be reliable (consistent), valid (measure of what they are intended to measure), and accurate.
The topics included in Common Data Sets are: general information; enrollment and persistence; first-time, first-year freshman admission; transfer admission; academic offerings and policies; student life; annual expenses; financial aid; instructional faculty and class size; and degrees conferred. Please refer to www.commondataset.org for more information.
Assessment and evaluation activities for the institution, academic programs, and co-curricular units are guided by the Institutional Assessment and Evaluation Plan.
Plans for the Colleges of Business, Arts and Sciences, and Health and Human Services are located on MySAU Portal.
Academic Program Assessment Plans
Academic programs maintain assessment plans primarily through the annual assessment process. These assessment plans are available on the EPC Blackboard site. Click here to view the annual assessment process sample template.
Academic Program Review
In addition to the annual assessment process, academic program assessment activities are evaluated during the formal program review process conducted by the Educational Policies Committee. EPC requires programs to report the following assessment-related information:
For each academic department:
- A statement of support from the Assessment & Evaluation Committee:
- Is the academic program performing appropriate assessment?
- Does the program appear to be meeting student learning outcomes?
- Identification of areas the program should work towards strengthening prior to the next review
- Identification of areas of strength
- An evaluation of resources and SWOT analysis based on trends in enrollment and productivity.
For each academic program within the department:
- Program evaluation results from surveys, course evaluations, departmental achievements, or advisory boards
- A collection of annual assessment forms submitted since the last program review
- An explanation of how SLOs are appropriate to the program's mission and students
- Documentation of how the program analyzes and uses evidence of student learning
- A description of how faculty share responsibility for student learning and its assessment
- A reflection on assessment results and a description of findings
- Proposals to improve SLOs or curricular requirements
- A description of how the program evaluates and improves its assessment efforts
- A description of how the program informs stakeholders of student learning
The EPC Blackboard site maintains program review documents from all academic programs.
Co-curricular Program Review
Co-curricular program activities are evaluated through the formal Academic Support Committee evaluation review process. Beginning in Fall 2005, all co-curricular and administrative offices or departments that consult with the Academic Support Committee (ASC) were required to submit an evaluation plan to the ASC. The plans were expected to contain:
- A mission statement
- Goals and objectives
- Specific plans for evaluating/assessing the goals and objectives
- A timeline for implementation
- A support statement from the supervising Vice President
The Academic Support Committee schedules a review of each co-curricular unit every five years, similar to the academic program review process conducted by the Educational Policies Committee.