Find a valuable education at an institution that values student learning.
The most effective assessments of student learning are course-embedded assignments created by faculty. Our goal is to collaborate with faculty on planning, creating, applying, and evaluating assessments of student learning. We also assist administrators and staff with the assessment of departmental and division services. Lastly, our office generates, maintains, and communicates institutional-level assessment results.
Research has shown that students who are engaged in their college experience, both in and out of the classroom, have a better likelihood to graduate. The more students are engaged in their studies and the more feedback they receive from faculty, the deeper their understanding. The same is true for other aspects of the college experience (Kuh, 2009). Worcester State has participated in three national surveys on student engagement: Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) in 2007, the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2008 and 2010, and the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE). These surveys provide the institution with a picture of the students’ experiences that can be used for discussion and change.
The samples are drawn from first-year students and seniors. Student responses are collected under five categories:
- Academic challenge
- Active learning
- Student-faculty interaction
- Enriching educational experiences
- Supportive campus environments
The first-year results for the first two categories showed a slight increase from 2008 to 2011 and a slight decrease in the last two categories, with a significant decrease in responses to student-faculty interaction. The results for seniors showed a downward trend in all five categories from the first to second survey. A complete summary of results for both years is provided. (Kuh, G. D. (2009, spring). “The national survey of student engagement: Conceptual and empirical foundations.” New Directions for Institutional Research, 141, pp. 5–20.)
The VALUE Institute enables any higher education institution, department, program, state, consortium, or provider to utilize the VALUE rubrics approach to assessment by collecting and uploading samples of student work to a digital repository and have the work scored by certified VALUE Institute faculty and other educator scorers for external validation of institutional learning assessment.
The evidence of learning includes the ability to examine learning achievement across student population groups, e.g., first generation, gender, racial and ethnic groups, year in school, etc., as well as revealing the nationwide landscape of learning benchmarks of achievement across Essential Learning Outcomes encompassed in the Degree Qualifications Profile and AAC&U’s LEAP Initiative. The VALUE Institute, in tandem with the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), will create the country’s most comprehensive resource for direct and indirect evidence of student learning in higher education.
AAC&U has worked to develop and launch the VALUE Institute in collaboration with Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research, while continuing critical partnerships with the State Higher Education Executive Officers association’s (SHEEO) Multi-State Collaborative to Advance Quality Student Learning (MSC), the Great Lakes Colleges Association, and the Minnesota Collaborative.