A subscriber to the ASSESS listserv (a wonderful resource, BTW, that I need to list over on the left side of this page) recently asked for examples of completed assessment plans from college or university departments. She wrote:
I can locate mission statements, goals, and student learning outcomes for a large number of departments; however, I am struggling to find the "Results" and "Continuous Improvement" examples.I'll just add that it's also pretty easy to locate assessment data, findings, or results from deploying various means of assessment. But what's scarce as hens' teeth are examples of actions that programs have taken to improve their students' learning, based on assessment results.
Well, Jessica Johnson, Director of Institutional Assessment at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, replied with the link to Exemplars: How is the Outcomes Assessment Process Contributing to Improvements?, summarizing how the assessment loop is being closed in some programs at UNL.
There was also a reply from Dave Eubanks, whose blog is listed over there on the left. What he says contains a lot of interesting and useful information as well as links to still other interesting and useful information. One of his links takes us to some completed assessment reports (some sensitive info redacted) from programs at Coker College.
Please take a look at these. For almost all of us the question, "What are you going to do about it?" has proven the toughest to answer. Examples of how others have answered this question in their programs is really valuable.
As always, there's considerable variety among the "actions based on assessment findings" that we see in Jessica's and Dave's (or anyone's) examples. What often strikes me in documents like these is the vagueness or lack of specificity about precisely what actions have or will be taken. For instance, saying something like "as a result of these findings, faculty now work more extensively with students writing their research papers to encourage more analytical thinking" doesn't tell us much.