Assessment at University of Detroit Mercy
The Assessment Team is the primary oversight body for the student outcomes assessment programs of the University. The Assessment Team reports to the vice president for Academic Affairs and is comprised of
- One representative from each of the colleges or schools.
- One representative from the library.
- One faculty member from the McNichols Faculty Assembly.
- Two administrative representatives.
The Assessment Team is responsible for
- Developing a mechanism for sharing best practices around the University regarding assessment.
- Reviewing the assessment methodologies being used by each school and identifying those schools in which assessment activities require improvement.
- Providing ongoing reports to and consultation with the academic vice president and provost.
- Keeping the University community informed of team activities.
Annual Assessment Reports
Assessment of Student Learning Overview
Assessment of student learning is the systematic collection of information about student learning, using the time, knowledge, expertise and resources available, in order to inform decisions about how to improve learning. (Walvoord, Assessment Clear and Simple)
At the heart of our assessment efforts is the work of Barbara Walvoord who states the three steps of assessment are:
- Articulate your goals for student learning.
- Gather evidence about how well the students are meeting the goals.
- Use the information for improvement.
The defining feature of Walvoord's approach to assessment is her emphasis on the course-embedded assignment and on the professional expertise of the individual professor, whose experience in grading student work is the foundational assessment act. What Walvoord suggests is that professors become more intentional, reflective, and articulate in naming their criteria for evaluating student performance on a particular assignment. She asks professors to develop rubrics that specify levels of performance across various criteria, to use the rubrics to score student work, and then to analyze the distribution of scores to discover patterns of strengths and weaknesses in student performance. When these patterns are reported at a department meeting, the ensuing faculty discussion often leads to suggested improvements in teaching methods, assignments, course design, or curricular coverage to ameliorate weaknesses. A department's assessment plan in any given year can be based upon an assignment already embedded within departmental courses and can use as data the professor's grading of the assignments using a rubric. The assessment instrument can be any observable product or performance that can be graded.