The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ assessment team was recently invited to present at a Middle States workshop in Philadelphia. In this ‘assessment-expert’ role, our team presented on some assessment basics, but also ideas and best practices that we believe are working well and functioning as the cornerstones of our process. By describing goals, outcomes, measures and findings in detail, specifically related to higher education, we were able to convey our ideal ‘first-steps’ for assessment:
We believe that the first key in earning your ‘assessment sea legs’ is identifying programmatic goals. Without a clear understanding of what your goals are for various programs, it is impossible to come up with an assessment plan that can measure and track important items accurately and efficiently. Once these goals have been created, expected learning outcomes can be written. Finally, these goals and outcomes may be mapped to the curriculum, to allow for better assessment practices and increased ability to find measurable items for specific outcomes. By setting this up strategically and in a concise manner, our team has been able to keep a close eye on each of our program’s individual attainment of goals and outcomes.
Another important idea that we discussed in this presentation, was the importance of ongoing assessment research, which drives the ‘creative’ assessment process and helps us as assessment professionals uncover meaningful data and create new methods. A heightened focus on research also helps faculty and assessment groups comes together for collaboration on data analysis, fostering a push toward new teaching and learning paradigms, helping build a stronger relationship between faculty and assessment administrators.
Ultimately, these ideas all help us reach ever closer to the achievement of a full and complete culture of assessment.
If you would like to see the slides that we presented at the Middle States workshop, do not hesitate to reach out to either myself or Dr. Marc Gillespie.
The Spring semester has come to a close but the self-study process will continue throughout the summer. There will be several Steering Committee meetings scheduled for June, July and August. The members of individual committees have completed the second draft of their self-study narratives. A great deal of the necessary documentation has also been compiled. Each committee chair has presented their report to the Steering Committee and this information is currently being uploaded to the online database, AAMS. The next step will involve the Steering Committee putting together the full self-study report for faculty approval. The faculty will review and revise this draft prior to the final submission to ACPE. There are nine months left until the ACPE site visit but a great deal of progress has already been made.
The Office of Assessment held its Assessment Workshop for Class of 2016 Physician Assistant students at the Bartilucci Center on April 27th, 2015. A Pre-Assessment Workshop Survey showed that 50% of students were aware of the assessment process and that 66% of students are willing to participate in assessment. A total 17% of students were aware the College had an Office of Assessment. Dr. Marc Gillespie introduced the audience to assessment & its structure within the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, examples of assessment within their program, and the importance of stakeholder involvement. Students were encouraged to take part in the assessment process, not only during their time here at St. John’s University, but also, as alumni following graduation. It was stressed that student feedback aids in identifying meaningful issues that require attention, which can influence their current instruction, as well as, mold the program for future cohorts.
Following the Assessment Workshop, a Post-Assessment Workshop Survey was administered and received a 32% response rate, an increase from the 9% response rate yielded in the Pre-Assessment Workshop Survey. Compared to the previous responses, 77% percent are now aware of the assessment process in the college following the Assessment Workshop whereas 68% are now willing to participate in assessment. 82% of students are now aware of the College’s Office of Assessment.
Student feedback suggested holding the workshop earlier in the year. The Office of Assessment is now scheduled to present its Assessment Workshop for the incoming cohort at the Fall 2015 PA didactic orientation. Student feedback also demonstrated their interest in the assessment process, as they are more interested in staying informed as to purposes behind surveys, as well as, any changes that may have occurred as a result of their survey responses and feedback. Student feedback remains an invaluable resource and we will continue to count on their participation to help shape the success of the College’s programs.