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Frostburg State University Learning Outcomes

FROSTBURG STATE UNIVERSITY

Undergraduate Student Learning Assessment

I. Context

In its mission statement, Frostburg State University emphasizes the enhancement of student learning.  Undergraduate Institutional Learning Goals have been formulated to provide a clear interpretation of the components of student learning at FSU.  A comprehensive approach to student learning assessment contributes in a significant manner to the assurance of “the enhancement of student learning.”  

II. Definition of Student Learning Assessment at Frostburg State University

At Frostburg State University, student learning assessment is defined as the systematic and ongoing process of collecting information about student learning for two distinct purposes:  improving the teaching/learning relationship and providing data for the budgeting and resource allocation process.  These purposes are achieved through a four-step process:

  • Establish clear, measurable learning outcomes;
  • Gather data on student performance using various measures;
  • Analyze data to compare student performance to stated expectations;
  • Use assessment results to inform decision-making in order to improve student learning and to allocate resources effectively and efficiently.

III. Student Learning Assessment:  Definitions

Student learning assessment uses various terms.  In order to facilitate the assessment process, the following definitions provide a “common language” for campus discussions and initiatives.

  • Goals are overarching statements about desired achievements.
  • Objectives are the specific actions to be accomplished to achieve a goal.
  • Learning outcomes are the measurable products of instruction or exposure to new knowledge or skills.
  • Formative assessments are conducted during the life of a major, course, or academic program with the purpose of providing feedback that can be used to modify, shape, or improve the major, course, or academic program.
  • Summative assessments are conducted after a major, course, or academic program has concluded to make comparisons against a pre-determined standard of performance.
  • Direct assessments directly evaluate student work; e.g., exams, papers, projects, musical performances, art exhibitions, etc., by requiring students to display their knowledge and skills in direct response to a set of guidelines or assignments.
  • Indirect assessments are primarily reflective in nature and include self-reporting by students and alumni of their opinions and impressions of a program or course and their opinions on the value of their education in the development of their careers.
  • Quantitative assessments rely on numerical scores or ratings.
  • Qualitative assessments use descriptions or narratives, through field studies, logs, journals, etc., with an emphasis on the revealing of students’ behavior and response.
  • Course-embedded assessments allow collection of data directly within the classroom through the use of a grading rubric that allow both the application of a grade for an assignment and a summative assessment of students’ performance against established department and institutional learning goals.

IV. Goals and Objectives of Student Learning Assessment at Frostburg State University

  • Goal #1:  Engage in systematic assessment practices that provide useful and reasonably accurate information on student learning as related to the learning goals of the University.
    1. Objective:  Implement both direct and indirect measures of assessment in order to increase the significance of assessment results.
    2. Objective:  Ensure that assessments are cost-effective, yielding results appropriate in value to the amount of time and expense committed.
  • Goal #2:  Provide feedback on student learning in a systematic, organized manner.
    1. Objective:  Prepare and distribute annual reports on assessment practices and results.
    2. Objective:  Share results of assessment with both internal and external constituencies as appropriate (e.g., faculty, students, administration, accrediting agencies, alumni, etc.).
  • Goal #3:  Continually engage in self-analysis of the assessment program and make adjustments in a timely, thoughtful manner.
    1. Objective:  Use assessment results as an integral component of institutional decisions regarding funding and resource allocation.
    2. Objective:  Provide multiple opportunities to engage in campus dialogue about assessment and its purposes and value in order to develop a “common language” about assessment.

V. Assessment of the Program of General Education

  • General education assessment will use the same procedures and timeline as academic programs regarding the collection and dissemination of data.
  • Coordination of the assessment of general education will lie within the purview of the Student Learning Assessment Advisory Group, with the administrative support of the Assistant to the Provost.
  • The assessment of basic skills in general education will be maintained on a regular cycle.  These basic skills include the following:
    1. Written communication,
    2. Oral communication,
    3. Scientific reasoning,
    4. Quantitative reasoning,
    5. Information literacy,
    6. Technology literacy,
    7. Critical thinking.

VI. The Place of Student Learning  Assessment in the Academic Program Review

  • Student learning assessment and the academic program review, as mandated by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, are linked because results of student learning assessments inform the academic program review.  Therefore, assessment helps to increase the understanding of how academic programs are actually contributing to student learning, growth, and development. 
  • Frostburg State University recognizes the integral connection of program review and student learning assessment: 
  1. Student learning assessment reflects the aggregate experiences of students and what these experiences, in turn, imply about programs and curricula;
  2. Student learning assessment helps program administrators to examine whether or not a specific curriculum makes sense in its entirety; i.e., whether or not students are receiving the types of learning that help the integration of learning from individual courses into a coherent whole.
  • Academic program review documents will include specific expectations regarding program learning goals and assessments undertaken to assess student learning in response to both program and institutional student learning goals.

VII. Dissemination of Student Learning Assessment Information

  • Because the facilitation and ongoing improvement of student learning is the primary goal of Frostburg State University, various audiences are interested in the results of student learning assessment and will be considered as information is analyzed and shared.
    1. Regional accrediting agencies, accrediting associations with disciplines, and state coordinating boards all have requirements for specific types of information at specific times.
    2. Future students and their parents have an interest in the academic performance of the University.
    3. Current students want to know how well students are performing in particular programs.
    4. Graduate programs are interested in students’ attainment of skills and proficiencies in specific areas.
    5. Employers, community leaders, alumni, and donors have an interest in the “intellectual capital” of the University.



Frostburg State University administered the CLA+ in 2014.

Frostburg State University conducted a Senior-only benchmarked administration of the CLA+ in 2014. The results are displayed below in the SLO Results tab.

For additional information on FSU’s process for administering CLA+, please click on the Assessment Process Tab below. For information on the students included in the administration, please click the Students Tested Tab.

Why did you choose the CLA+ for your institutional assessment?

Frostburg State University is participating in the  Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) as part of its overarching goal to  promote transparency and consistency in the assessment of student learning and  development.


Which Frostburg State University students are assessed? When?

Participation involves  testing a sample of 100 FSU freshmen in the fall and  100 seniors in the spring.


How are assessment data collected?

At Frostburg State University, student learning assessment is defined as the systematic and ongoing process of collecting information about student learning for two distinct purposes:  improving the teaching/learning relationship and providing data for the budgeting and resource allocation process.  These purposes are achieved through a four-step process:

  • Establish clear, measurable learning outcomes;
  • Gather data on student performance using various measures;
  • Analyze data to compare student performance to stated expectations;
  • Use assessment results to inform decision-making in order to improve student learning and to allocate resources effectively and efficiently.


How are data reported within Frostburg State University?

  • Because the facilitation and ongoing improvement of student learning is the primary goal of Frostburg State University, various audiences are interested in the results of student learning assessment and will be considered as information is analyzed and shared.
    1. Regional accrediting agencies, accrediting associations with disciplines, and state coordinating boards all have requirements for specific types of information at specific times.
    2. Future students and their parents have an interest in the academic performance of the University.
    3. Current students want to know how well students are performing in particular programs.
    4. Graduate programs are interested in students’ attainment of skills and proficiencies in specific areas.
    5. Employers, community leaders, alumni, and donors have an interest in the “intellectual capital” of the University.


How are assessment data at FSU used to guide program improvements?

  • Student learning assessment and the academic program review, as mandated by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, are linked because results of student learning assessments inform the academic program review.  Therefore, assessment helps to increase the understanding of how academic programs are actually contributing to student learning, growth, and development. 
  • Frostburg State University recognizes the integral connection of program review and student learning assessment: 
  • Student learning assessment reflects the aggregate experiences of students and what these experiences, in turn, imply about programs and curricula;
  • Student learning assessment helps program administrators to examine whether or not a specific curriculum makes sense in its entirety; i.e., whether or not students are receiving the types of learning that help the integration of learning from individual courses into a coherent whole.
  • Academic program review documents will include specific expectations regarding program learning goals and assessments undertaken to assess student learning in response to both program and institutional student learning goals.


http://www.frostburg.edu/admin/office-of-assessment-and-institutional-research/institutional-assessment/

The VSA advises institutions to follow assessment publisher guidelines for determining the appropriate number of students to test. In the absence of publisher guidelines, the VSA provides sample size guidelines for institutions based on a 95% confidence interval and 5% margin of error. So long as the tested sample demographics represent the student body, this means we can be 95% certain that the "true" population learning outcomes are with +/- 5% of the reported results. For more information on Sampling, please refer to the Research Methods Knowledge Base

At FSU, senior students who completed the CLA+ Performance Task (n=16) scored higher than 7% of seniors at all other CLA+-participating institutions in Spring 2014.

At FSU, senior students who completed the CLA+ Selected Response (n=16) scored higher than 80% of seniors at all other CLA+-participating institutions in Spring 2014.

As FSU did not participate in a value-added administration, scores are not adjusted to account for the incoming ability of FSU students.