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Developing and Assessing Outcomes in the Co-Curricular Experience


Developing and Assessing Outcomes in the Co-Curricular Experience Prepared for Auburn University s Division of Student Affairs A-Team April 2, 2013 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Developing and Assessing Outcomes in the Co-Curricular Experience

  • Developing and Assessing Outcomes in the
    Co-Curricular Experience
  • Prepared for Auburn Universitys
  • Division of Student Affairs A-Team
  • April 2, 2013
  • Sandi Osters, Ph.D.
  • Retired Director, Student Life Studies
  • Texas AM University
  • 3001 Aztec Street
  • College Station, TX 77845

Workshop Overview
  • Student integrative learning
  • Outcomes-based assessment
  • Learning outcomes the heart of the matter
  • Working sessions
  • Assessment methods
  • Working sessions
  • Reflective dialogue

Todays Program Outcomes
  • The presenter will
  • Work on issues important to participants
  • Provide a general understanding about the
    importance of outcomes based assessment in
    student affairs
  • Emphasize the importance of alignment with
    division and university mission, goals and
  • Emphasize the use of data to inform practice

Todays Learning Outcomes
  • Participants will
  • Describe learning and program outcomes for their
    own program, office or activity
  • Employ assessment methods for their outcomes
  • Develop initial action steps
  • Articulate what they have learned and what they
    still need to know

  • PowerPoint
  • Writing Outcomes
  • Assessment Plan Template
  • Rubrics
  • Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about
    Assessment on One Page

Its All About Students Integrative Learning
  • A strong emphasis on student learning is the
    primary key to retention through graduation
  • Learning is the primary activity and goal of the
    college environment both inside and outside of
    the classroom
  • The integration of academic programs and
    co-curricular activities is important
  • The ability of students to integrate their
    learning both inside and outside of the classroom
    be responsible for their own learning is of
    the greatest importance

What Is Student Learning in the Co-curricular?
  • Learning Reconsidered defines learning as a
    comprehensive, holistic, transformative activity
    that integrates academic learning and student
    development, processes that have often been
    considered separate, and even independent of each
  • Student learning produces both educational and
    developmental outcomes distinguishing them is
    pointless and potentially harmful, and the goal
    of higher education should be the integration of
    all domains of learning and of the work of all
  • Keeling, R. P. (Ed.) (2004). Learning
    Reconsidered. Washington, D.C. NASPA and ACPA.

What is Assessment and Evaluation?
  • Assessment is any effort to gather, analyze, and
    interpret evidence which describes institutional,
    departmental, divisional or agency
  • Evaluation is any effort to use assessment
    evidence to improve institutional, departmental,
    divisional, or agency effectiveness.
  • Upcraft, M. Schuh, J. (1996). Assessment in
    student affairs A guide for practitioners. San
    Francisco Jossey-Bass.

The Purpose of Outcomes Based Assessment
  • To answer some simple questions
  • What is it that we do?
  • Why do we do it?
  • How well do we do it?
  • How do we know that we do it well?
  • What improvements and changes do we make from
    what we learn?
  • Do the improvements work?
  • To genuinely engage faculty, staff and students
    in the day-to-day reflection of answering these
    simple questions
  • To demonstrate a commitment to systematic
    examination of the quality of all we do to
    improve our programs and departments

The Purpose of Outcomes Based Assessment,
  • To celebrate our successes and learn from our
  • To inform our policy, programs, processes and
    resource allocations
  • Increase our confidence that we are putting our
    time and energy into activities that results in
    the outcomes we and our students value
  • To have the data to support why our programs
    generate the learning Auburn wants for its
    students in times of financial downsizing
  • To be able to articulate exactly how student
    affairs professionals contribute to student
    learning and student development
  • To gather and display data that will allow us to
    satisfy accrediting agencies and program reviews
    (CAS or your own)

Advantages of Using Outcomes Language in Student
  • Make it clear to students who participate in our
    programs, activities and services what they can
    expect to gain from doing so
  • Make it clear to others what the program will
    accomplish and, where appropriate, what students
    will learn
  • Help staff select appropriate strategies and
    assessment measures/methods to reach the outcomes

Advantages of Using Outcomes Language in Student
  • Apply the results of our assessments for
    meaningful improvement and/or change
  • Move beyond student satisfaction and tracking the
    use of services as the sole means of describing
    student affairs effectiveness
  • Connect Student Affairs to the academic
    enterprise we all are about student learning
    we all are educators

What Any Assessment is NOT
  • Assessment does not exist for assessments sake
  • It informs but does not drive where you want to
    go and what you want to be as an office,
    activity, program
  • It is not used for personnel evaluation
  • It is not a one time thing but systematic and
  • It does not assess all things, all the time

Outcomes Based Assessment and Decision Making
  • Most importantly, Outcomes based decision making
    and assessment should be
  • Understood by faculty/professionals and
  • Meaningful faculty/professional (i.e., expert)
  • Inclusive involve as many faculty, student
    affairs professionals and students as possible
  • Manageable takes into account varying resources
  • Flexible takes into account assessment learning
  • Truth-seeking/objective/ethical
  • Iterative and systematic
  • Inform decisions for continuous improvement or
    provides evidence of proof
  • Promote a culture of accountability, of learning,
    and of improvement
  • Bresciani, J. J., Zelna, C. L., Anderson, J. A.
    (2004). Techniques for assessing student learning
    and development A handbook for practitioners.
    Washington, D.C. NASPA, Inc.

Assessment Cycle
Gather Data
Interpret Evidence
Mission/Purpose Goals Objectives/Outcomes
Implement Methods to Deliver Outcomes and Methods
to Gather Data
Make decisions to improve programs enhance
student learning and development inform
institutional decision- making, planning,
budgeting, policy, public accountability
Writing Outcomes
  • Outcomes Detailed, specific, measurable or
    identifiable, and personally meaningful
    statements that are derived from goals and
    articulate what the end result of a unit,
    program, course, activity, or process is.
  • Learning Outcomes An easily identified action
    that a student is expected to demonstrate in
    terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes upon
    completion of a program/activity/event.
  • Program/process outcomes The end result of what
    a program or process is to do, achieve, or
  • Write simply and with one outcome per statement

Blooms Taxonomy (1956)
A structure for developing learning outcomes
Learning Outcomes?
  • Students will be satisfied with the information
  • Students will rate the service received
  • Students will create their own personal
    leadership philosophy based on three models
    taught in Lead 101 in the fall semester
  • After the service project, students will be able
    to articulate the root cause of homelessness in
    Auburn, Alabama.

Disability Services Example
  • Learning outcome
  • Students will be able to describe their
    functional limitations in an academic setting
  • Assessment method
  • Pre-test/post-test (intake form)
  • Rubric
  • Criteria for success/achievement target
  • Students post-scores will improve over pre-test

Disability Services Example
  • Learning outcome
  • Students will be able to describe how their
    disability may affect them in the workplace and
    what accommodations they may need to ask for from
    their employers
  • Assessment method
  • Exit interviews with graduating students
  • Criteria for success/achievement target
  • 80 of students in their graduating semester will
    be able to identify at least one way their
    disability might effect them in the workplace.

Program/Process Outcomes?
  • Students will like the conference banquet
  • The professional development sub-committee will
    offer two dining etiquette programs in the fall
    semester for graduating students
  • Develop and expand the Student Health Services
    web page in order to increase student access to
    health information, patient services and
    educational programming

Examples of Program Outcomes
  • The Department of Residence Life will be able to
    respond to maintenance requests within 24 hours
    of their walk-in time
  • The Student Health Service will be able to admit
    students for check-ups within 24 hours of their
    walk-in time.
  • The Financial Aid Office will have full award
    letters out to the on-time complete applicants by
    April 15th.

Program Outcome Example
  • Program outcome
  • Develop and expand the Student Health Services
    webpage in order to increase student access to
    health information, patient services, educational
  • Assessment methods
  • Data retrieval from webpage interactions
  • Annual patient survey to determine student
    utilization of the web page
  • Survey instruments by Health Education program to
    determine student utilization of web page
  • Criteria for success/achievement target
  • Increase in the utilization of the SHS webpage
    regarding health information, patient services
    and educational programming.

Common Mistakes in Writing Learning Outcomes
  • The learning outcomes dont align with
    department, division or university goals
  • Outcomes include words that are hard or
    impossible to measure (understand, appreciate,
    know about, become familiar with, learn about,
    become aware of)
  • Outcomes include too many skills in one statement
  • Outcomes measure satisfaction or performance
    evaluation rather than learning of the student
  • There are too many learning outcomes
  • Only one person wrote, reviewed, edited and
    implemented the outcome

Working Session
  • Work in small groups of two or three
  • Develop at least two learning outcomes and two
    program outcomes for the Division of Student
    Affairs Global Service Initiative (mission
  • Dont worry about being an expert on this
    initiative. Pretend you are. Whats important is
    working on the outcomes
  • Share time

Assessment Methods
  • Qualitative and quantitative
  • One time and longitudinal
  • Direct - requires students to display their
    knowledge, behavior or thought processes
  • Indirect asks students to reflect upon their
    knowledge, behaviors or though processes
  • Local (Auburn developed) and national assessments
    (like the NSSE or CIRP)

Direct Measures
  • Benefits of direct measures to Student Affairs
  • Provides faculty and administrators more
    confidence in the measures and their results
    because it is the academic standard
  • Helps with accreditors who are looking for
    student learning in the co-curricular and
    measures of same
  • Challenges
  • Time and expertise needed to develop
  • Assessing the fuzzies attitudes and values
  • Small ns and the validity of the studies
  • Bottom line
  • Use multiple indirect measures to offset the lack
    of direct measures

Common (and still viable) Assessment Measures
  • Surveys to inform of needs and satisfaction
  • Surveys to assess outcomes
  • Focus groups/interviews to inform future
    assessments or to dig more deeply into existing
    survey results
  • Tracking use and participation (numbers)

New Wave of Assessment Measures
  • Exit Interviews
  • Learning contracts
  • Photography
  • Pre and post tests of knowledge
  • Observations with documentation
  • One minute papers
  • Rubrics
  • Reflective journals
  • Reflective conversations/writing
  • Combination of the above

Working Session
  • Working individually, develop at least two
    learning outcomes for a program or activity of
    interest to you. If you do not work directly with
    student learning, consider learning outcomes for
    your student workers
  • Develop at least one assessment measure for each
    outcome and address how you will know if you have
    been successful (criteria for success/achievement
  • Work in small groups and share your outcomes and
  • As a group, develop an action plan (see
    Assessment Plan Template, Implementation of
    Assessment Process) for one of the learning
    outcomes in your group
  • Share

Sharing Your Assessment Data
  • Have clear objectives/purpose
  • Know who cares about your results
  • Effectively analyze the data
  • Effectively report/present results
  • Determine the best format written reports,
    websites, newsletters, publications, oral
  • Use the data yourself role model to others
  • Share with each other assessment road
    shows/poster sessions at division
    meetings/monthly during the A-Team meetings
  • Share with students!! What actions have you taken
    from what you have learned from them?

In Summation
  • Be clear about who you are, why you do what you
    do, how well you do what you do, and how you
    improve and change
  • Check in annually to be sure your
    program/activity and event outcomes align with
    your departmental mission/goals and that your
    departmental mission aligns with the divisions
    mission/goals and strategic plan and that your
    division mission/goals align with institutional
    mission/goals/strategic plan/QEP
  • Be patient you will get better at writing
    outcomes you always will have more to learn!
  • Practice, practice, practice and learn by
    teaching others
  • Work with your students and student groups to
    articulate outcomes for their programs
  • Work with colleagues, faculty and others with
  • Celebrate your accomplishments

Contact Information
  • Sandi Osters, Ph.D.
  • Retired Director, Student Life Studies
  • Texas AM University
  • 3001 Aztec Street
  • College Station, TX 77845