Once a school implements its assessment plan, it will begin collecting a lot of data, distilling it into results, and hopefully identifying recommendations for improving student learning based on those results. That is a lot of data and information, and it’s easy for the work of a school’s assessment committees to end up sitting on a shelf, forgotten with the passage of time. Assessment is not about producing reports; it’s about converting student data into meaningful action.
I developed a template for schools to use in keeping track of its assessment methods, findings, and recommendations. You don’t need fancy software, like Weave, to keep track of a single set of learning outcomes (university-level metrics are another matter). A simple Excel spreadsheet will do. For each learning outcome, list the following:
- The year the outcome was assessed.
- Who led the assessment team or committee.
- The methods used to complete the assessment.
- The committee’s key findings.
- Recommendations based on the report.
- For each recommendation:
- Which administrator or committee is responsible for follow-up.
- The status of that recommendation: whether it was implemented and when.
- Color code based on status (green = implemented; yellow = in progress; red = no action to date).
This easy format allows the dean and faculty to ensure that tangible results are achieved with the assessment process. In the template, I included examples of methods, findings, and recommendations for one of seven learning outcomes. (These are made up findings and recommendations that I created as an example. They don’t necessarily reflect those of St. John’s.) Feel free to use and adapt at your school. (LC)