Assessment helps the Kelley School maintain accreditation and ensure that students are learning
Assurance of learning (assessment) is a process by which faculty perform informal but structured classroom research to reveal the extent to which their students are mastering the learning competencies established by academic programs. There are multiple reasons for assessment, including the improvement of teaching and learning in individual courses, the provision of useful data to decision makers at the program level, and the satisfaction of requirements for maintaining the Kelley School of Business’s accredited status with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
The assessment initiative at the Kelley School of Business is framed by both the AACSB mandate to conduct assurance of learning for accreditation purposes and the school’s desire to create a program that is oriented to faculty goals and use.
Building blocks of assessment
The assessment process can be broken into five major steps:
- Define desired learning competencies and outcomes.
- Align curriculum with competencies.
- Identify instruments and measures of assessment.
- Collect, analyze, and disseminate assessment data.
- Use assessment data (revealed student learning) to improve teaching and learning, curriculum, student experiences, and so on.
Although this process is constantly in action at the Kelley School, in order to manage demands on faculty time, only a few instructors are actively involved in the process at any given time. Yet assurance of learning initiatives work best in an academic milieu where assessment is regularly practiced across the institution. Therefore, while the Kelley School already has a robust and successful assessment program, it must both maintain and continue to develop its culture of assessment among the faculty.
Structured assessment can improve teaching and learning
One way to build a culture of assessment is to help instructors see the relationship between their courses and the overarching learning competencies specified by the academic programs in which they teach.
When faculty make this relationship clear and explicit, they necessarily begin to see the skills, knowledge, and attitudes students must learn for each class in the broader context of the degree-granting program in which the course is offered. At the same time, the explicit articulation of student learning outcomes and their relationship to program competencies shows students how each of their courses contributes to the degree toward which they are working.