The results of a four-year in-depth focus on assessing student learning at South Dakota State University will be highlighted Tuesday with the Assessment of Student Learning Showcase, which starts at 3 p.m. in the McCrory Gardens Education and Visitor Center.
The showcase is an opportunity to learn about program and cocurricular student-learning assessments. Academy participants will share program and unit assessment plans developed during the past year, completing an effort that involved nearly 160 participants who represented all undergraduate and graduate academic programs and select units within the Division of Student Affairs.
“The work of the SDSU Assessment Academy has provided tremendous results for our university by taking a hard look at academic initiatives that make students successful in their academic pursuits,” said Mary Kay Helling, vice provost for academic affairs and co-leader of the academy. “What and how our students learn is paramount to student success and our institution’s vision to be a premier land-grant university. On-time completion of degrees is a result of this effort that not only benefits students, but also the industries and communities of South Dakota.”
The academy was created as part of the university’s ongoing accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission and its quality initiative. The effort provided opportunities for cocurricular areas to develop knowledge, skills and experiences with processes as a key component of a more comprehensive university assessment plan to enhance the culture of inquiry about student learning. Six professional development workshops were held each year.
The academy’s goals included providing a theoretical and methodological foundation to advance the assessment of student learning, provide assessment training, resources and ongoing consultation based on research and best practices and build and empower campus leaders in the assessment of student learning.
“The academy has provided a resource for our faculty and staff to better understand the impact assessment has on student learning,” said Jana Hanson, director of institutional assessment. “The sharing of information and the collaboration among multiple disciplines only strengthens our university and how we present educational opportunities to students.”
Approximately 200 assessment plans were developed and are available in the assessment management system.