BGSU named to the 2017 Class of Excellence in Assessment

University designation lasts through 2022

Bowling Green State University has been named to the 2017 Class of Excellence in Assessment for its achievement and commitment to student learning outcomes assessment. The University is one of just five designees in the national Excellence in Assessment program aimed at recognizing universities conducting a comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes as a means to drive internal improvement and advance student success.

Now in its second year, the program is the first national designation of its kind. It was created to acknowledge the important work colleges and universities are doing through comprehensive assessment activities and to highlight those practices so that other institutions can draw upon them for their own efforts. Designations are in place for five years and universities are able to reapply.

Sponsors of the EIA program are the Voluntary System of Accountability, a public college and university transparency initiative led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, in partnership with the Association of American Colleges & Universities and the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.

“Assessment is the key to success for institutions of higher education,” said BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey. “By creating and maintaining strong and effective assessment programs and tools, BGSU is at the leading edge of this important component of education.”

As part of the application process, colleges and universities were asked to detail the specific assessment activities they’ve undertaken. Specific areas evaluated include the diversity of groups and individuals engaged in assessment activities, student learning outcomes statements, assessment plans, assessment resources, current assessment activities, evidence of student learning, use of student learning outcomes results and growth and improvement plans.

According to the EIA, “Bowling Green State University’s strength in its assessment process lies in its innovative engagement of internal and external stakeholders. Particularly, the development of ‘Student Learning Analysts’ on campus serves as a creative model of student engagement others may replicate. Bowling Green State University’s thoughtful approach to assessment emphasizes the need for cross-campus committee membership, providing space for reviewing data with multiple stakeholders, and sharing and communicating data with a variety of groups. Educating nearly 20,000 students annually, Bowling Green State University continues to strategically use evidence to guide decision-making.”

Highlights of BGSU’s assessment accomplishments include wide participation in assessment initiatives, an assessment infrastructure, student assessment in general education courses, regular review and discussion of assessment data with various constituent groups, and having an assessment system in place with vertical alignment between University, program and course learning outcomes.

Of particular note are BGSU’s all-in-one assessment system and student learning analysts (SLAs). The focus of the all-in-one assessment system is to promote alignment, share access to data, use data to inform action, and engage stakeholders in the assessment process. It also provides the foundation needed for integration of campus-wide assessment.

“BGSU was recognized for our all-in-one assessment system, which allows for the use of course assignments, that faculty normally require in class, to be used for institutional evaluation in an intentional and integrated way,” said Dr. Julie Matuga, vice provost for Institutional Effectiveness. “This allows for faculty engagement in using assessment for continuous improvement and increased student learning and achievement. BGSU faculty are critical to the success of our all-in-one assessment system.”

Student learning analysts are undergraduate students from a variety of majors and class standings hired by the Office of Academic Assessment to gather information on student learning experiences by designing assessment projects to investigate questions identified by the Learning Analytics Workgroup. The SLAs design and implement assessment projects, analyze data, create summary reports and present findings.

“The student learning analysts demonstrate that students can be and want to be active participants in the assessment process,” said Dr. Jessica Turos, associate director of academic assessment. “These students have taken ownership of their projects and have been engaged from idea development to assessment to presenting their findings to other students, faculty and administrators.”

With these things in place, BGSU is positioned to expand student assessment to more programs, examine the documentation of external feedback, develop a more intentional effort to share assessment information, expand professional development sessions discussing assessment data and develop a plan to further engage external stakeholders in the assessment process.

In addition to the SLAs, groups currently engaged in assessment activities at BGSU include the Student Achievement Assessment Committee, the BG Perspective Committee, Student Affairs Strategic Planning and Assessment Committee, Learning Analytics Workgroup, the University-Wide Course Evaluation Committee and the Learning Communities Advisory Council Assessment Subcommittee.