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.