Frequently Asked Questions

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A three step process which includes the systematic collection, analysis, and use of information to improve department and/or program effectiveness and/or student learning and development.

The main purpose of assessment is to collect information that informs decisions to improve the programs or processes in which students learn. All faculty, staff, and administrators should be committed to the on-going process of improving student learning.

The data collected from assessment can help with making informed decisions on improvement of student learning, programs and services. Assessment provides transparency and helps with documenting effectiveness.

Assessment should be on-going. Student learning and programs should be continually assessed through evolving goals, objectives, and measurements of learning and program outcomes.

Continuous assessment means that there is always something that is being measured. If a new program is created, then that program should have clearly defined goals, objectives, and outcomes. The outcomes should be measurable, while aligning with goals and objectives. As the programs are assessed and student learning is assessed, there will be information on how to improve the programs and student learning. Continuous assessment means that we are continually improving the quality of programs and student learning at our institutions. Continuous quality improvement is the process of implementing changes based on new knowledge or data to achieve goals and enhance the functioning of a department, program, or service.

You can start by looking at the Auburn University Student Affairs Strategic Plan as well as in the Student Affairs Strategic Plan tab within the SVP for Student Affairs section in AU Planning. You can also benchmark the goals and objectives at other institutions. The log-in page for AU Planning can be accessed via https://auburn.campuslabs.com/home/.

What a student (or other stakeholder/s) is to do or think as a result of the program, course, or service. (Ex. Students will be able to articulate at least two health related stress indicators after taking a wellness course.)

What a program or process is to do, achieve, or accomplish for its own improvement; generally needs/satisfaction driven. (Ex. After the i-Lead Conference, students will be more aware of leadership opportunities on-campus.)

You can start by looking at the Auburn University Student Affairs Strategic Plan as well as in the Student Affairs Strategic Plan tab within the SVP for Student Affairs section in AU Planning. You can also benchmark the goals and objectives at other institutions. The log-in page for AU Planning can be accessed via https://auburn.campuslabs.com/home/.

Measuring your outcome depends on what you’re looking to accomplish. You must first choose whether to use direct measures or indirect measures. Direct measures are best for learning outcomes. Direct measures may include a portfolio or a case study. An indirect measure may include a survey or interview. For examples of measurement approaches, refer to the “Assessment Decision Tree.”

There are things to consider:
— Do you want to use a direct measure or an indirect measure? Ex. a direct measure is observation of student performance. Ex. an indirect measure is administering a survey.
— What method will you use? Quantitative (quantity, statistics/numbers, attendance), Qualitative (quality, descriptions), or Mixed Methods (using both quantitative and qualitative approaches).
— Weigh the advantages and challenges of each method
— There are also helpful tools available on the Assessment and Strategic Planning Website and on Baseline Help. (For example, use the “Assessment Decision Tree.”)
— Baseline Help: http://baselinesupport.campuslabs.com/home.
— Assessment and Strategic Planning Website: wp.auburn.edu/assessment.

You can collect data from resources already in place such as tracking systems or databases. You can also collect data using direct and indirect measures.

Benchmarking involves cross comparing organizations or programs relative to specific aspects of best practices at other institutions or national standards.

A focus group is a small group of 6-10 people. This group participates in an open discussion led by a facilitator and is used to generate as many different ideas and opinions as possible on a particular subject. You can use the ‘Focus Group Guide’ to plan your focus group.

— Campus Lab’s Baseline is the Division’s official survey building software. It can be accessed via https://auburn.campuslabs.com.
— You can use the ‘Developing a Survey Guide’ to plan your survey found : here (Under Tools subheading)
— You can use the Baseline manual via http://baselinesupport.campuslabs.com/attachments/token/5gwe8haxnmgucxe/?name=Self+Service+Builder+Client+User+Guide.pdf

Please contact Dr. Abby Langham, Director of Assessment & Strategic Planning, with your questions (langhat@auburn.edu/334-844-8610).

Assessment is a three step process which includes the systematic collection, analysis, and use of information to improve department and/or program effectiveness and/or student learning and development. Research takes things a step further–it utilizes control groups, seeks to control or compensate for all variables, and often is intended to investigate or provide evidence toward an overarching theory or concept that can be applied broadly. It requires significantly more time, resources, and design expertise than assessment.

Scoring guide for evaluating performance, ability, or effectiveness, for a specific domain made up of definitions of quality work, well-defined criteria for measuring quality work, and scoring method (using numbers or descriptive language such as beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc.) to indicate level of performance.

Things to Consider:
— Ensure confidentiality
— Choose participants that have a shared experience
— Develop questions that are reasonable, direct, and ask what you want to know
— Establish trust by making participants feel comfortable (Ex. have a friendly opening and good body language)
— Get consent from each participant
— Ask open-ended questions
— Record the interview
— Transcribe the interview
— Take notes during the interview

Make meaning of the data by identifying categories and themes, determining statistical significance and any correlations, summarizing your findings, and making conclusions.

— Campus Labs’ Baseline provides the technology, resources, and expert consultation required to create an integrated, coordinated, and comprehensive assessment approach across the campus. Baseline is the DOSA’s official assessment/survey building software.
— Access to Baseline: https://auburn.campuslabs.com.
— Access to Baseline Help Site: http://baselinesupport.campuslabs.com/home.

— AU Planning is a fully integrated and comprehensive online solution for managing institutional research, planning, and accreditation needs. AU Planning guides strategic planning, program review, learning outcomes assessment and preparation for accreditation. Student Affairs at Auburn uses AU Planning for its own Strategic Planning and for reporting Institutional Effectiveness for accreditation.
— Access to AU Planning: https://auburn.campuslabs.com/home/.
— Access to AU Planning Help: https://planningsupport.zendesk.com/hc/en-us.

A strategic plan is a document used to communicate with the organization the organizations’ goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals, and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise.

— Assessment is a three step process which includes the systematic collection, analysis, and use of information to improve department and/or program effectiveness and/or student learning and development.
— A strategic plan is a document used to communicate with the organization the organizations’ goals, the actions needed to achieve those goals, and all of the other critical elements developed during the planning exercise.
— Outcomes, a component of strategic planning, are measured, results are analyzed, and findings are used to make improvements for programs, services, and or learning. Outcomes are drafted to help the Division achieve its objectives, goals, mission, and vision while also helping to support AU’s Strategic priorities.

Last modified: December 6, 2019