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Assessment Glossary

Ad Hoc Assessment (AHA) Teams: SMSU sub-committees aligned with each of the seven Liberal Education Program student learning outcomes. These committees are charged to collect and review assessment data with respect to one learning outcome. Click here for more details.

American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U):  AAC&U notes is a non-profit “national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education.” Click here for more details. 

Artifact: A test, performance, paper, project, poster, video, discussion post, or other item that a student produces that demonstrates learning. Artifacts are produced in classes and during co-curricular events.

Assessment Academy Team: A group of SMSU faculty and administrators charged with completing a four-year assessment project as a part of the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC’s) Assessment Academy. SMSU is participating in the project from fall 2015 through fall 2019. The Assessment Academy Team is led by Dr. Jeff Bell. Team members also include: Provost Dwight Watson, Mr. Scott Crowell, Dr. Ben Anderson, Ms. Pam Gladis, and Mr. Alan Matzner. Click here for more details.

Assessment Coordinator: The faculty member charged with managing assessment at the university-wide level. The coordinator has a three-year term and has six credits of reassignment each semester to complete tasks related to the position.

Assessment Processes: All the pieces that make up an assessment process. Typical pieces of an assessment process include: student learning outcomes (SLOs), a way to measure whether or not students are meeting those outcomes, and evidence related to that measuring. 

Bloom’s Taxonomy: A classification system that is useful for defining and distinguishing different levels of thinking, learning, and understanding. Click here for more details.

Campus Assessment Master Plan (CAMP): Refers to conducting assessment at the university-wide level. A complete visual description of this plan can be found here.

Committee for Institutional Assessment (CIA): The committee charged with overseeing university-wide assessment. Click here for more details.

Data: Information collected as the result of a survey, study, observation, or other investigation. Data can be quantitative (numeric) and/or qualitative (anecdotal and/or narrative). Click here for more details.

Evidence: Draws upon data to make a reasoned statement in support of some claim. To develop evidence from data, one typically looks for patterns while interpreting and analyzing the data. Evidence seeks to explain how data answers some question a researcher is asking. Click here for more details.

Higher Learning Commission (HLC): SMSU’s regional accrediting body. Click here for more details.

Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) LEAP “is a national public advocacy and campus action initiative of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U). LEAP champions the importance of a twenty-first-century liberal education—for individual students and for a nation dependent on economic creativity and democratic vitality.” Click here for more details.

Liberal Education Committee (LEC): The committee charged with overseeing the Liberal Education Program (LEP). Click here for more details.

Liberal Education Program (LEP): University and program-wide student learning goals and student learning outcomes (SLOs) that students are engaged at SMSU through: courses they take to fulfill the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum; courses they take to fulfill graduation requirements; courses they take to fulfill major requirements; and activities they participate in while on campus. Click here for more details.

Measurable: A student learning outcome is said to be measurable when data can be collected about the outcome that answers the question “how do we know that the outcome has been met?” A student learning outcome can be measured using numeric data or narrative data. Click here for more details.

Minnesota Collaborative Project (MCP): The Minnesota Collaborative (MCP) project, an extension of AAC&U VALUE Rubric project, is a national grant-funded project aimed at validating the reliability of assessment strategies using AAC&U rubrics via a variety of assignments across a number of different disciplines. Currently, 10 Minnesota schools including SMSU are participating in this project. Click here for more details.

Plan for Assessment of Student Learning (PASL): This plan is a set of guidelines intended to help an academic area that oversees a major, minor, or other coherent area of study, plan, organize, track, and report on assessment work. Developing and implementing a good plan will strengthen program quality and enhance the five-year program self-study. In addition, a well-developed PASL ensures consistency with expectations of SMSU’s regional accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission. Click here for more details.

Program: An academic area that oversees a major, minor, or other coherent area of study.

Report on the Assessment of Student Learning (RASL): This assessment report is used by academic programs to submit the results from their assessment of Student Learning Outcomes that were completed from the past academic year. The report includes an executive summary template and a more comprehensive narrative. The executive summary template includes key findings of programmatic Student Learning Outcomes in one section and key findings of Liberal Education Program Student Learning Outcomes in a second section. The RASL executive summary template is also useful for the Committee on Institutional Assessment and the Liberal Education Committee to aggregate data and analyze data at the campus-level. The RASL executive summary templates from multiple years are useful for academic programs to use in the Self-Study process for Academic Program Review that occurs approximately every five years.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs): Describe what students should be able to demonstrate, represent, or produce based on their learning experiences. Should be measurable, “meaningful, and manageable” (SMSU, PASL). Click here for more details.

Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE): A series of rubrics developed by the AAC&U designed to assess liberal education. To date, 16 rubrics have been developed. Click here for more details.

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