University Assessment Panel


Notes from Meeting of

3 October 2008


The second meeting of the University Assessment Panel (UAP) was held on Friday, 3 October 2008, at 10:00 a.m. in Altgeld 203.




A summary from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) on change in the recent reauthorization of the Higher Education Act was distributed.  A second handout of the article, “An Uneasy Partnership: Accreditation and the Federal Government,” was also distributed to the UAP members. 


Toolkit is always looking for article submissions about assessment practices at NIU. Askins      announced there is available space for articles related to assessment outcome work and encouraged student organizations to submit work.


2009 Assessment Expo

Cassidy & Douglass began the discussion on the 2nd annual Assessment Expo recommendations. Following a lengthy discussion of selecting three departments to receive $500 awards, ranking the items, other means of recognition, among other topics, it was decided that panel members would be asked to give comments on the strengths/uniqueness they saw in each item (the ranking sheet will be revised and sent out via email to all members) and that all 10 departments will be invited to the Expo and asked to create a poster; posters will be paid for by OAS and created by Media Services; the poster will have a notation like ‘outstanding assessment performance’ at the top.   A special edition of Toolkit will be published to highlight the assessment successes in the ten selected departments.


Douglass outlined the intended format for the 2009 Assessment Expo would be Round Tables rather than specific speakers (5 tables, 2 people each). It was suggested that allowing each participant to give a 2-3 minute overview of their assessment efforts would give the Expo direction/structure. Other suggestions were made such as having participants stand at their posters rather than at round-tables and that having the round tables would encourage Expo attendees to ‘sit down’ and engage in the assessment material. It was decided to use round tables, with a participants asked to give a 2-3 minute overview of their assessment work.


Meeting Overview – Funding follow-up reports

Mathematical sciences had previously submitted funding requests for assessment projects for the B.S. and Ph.D. programs and they recently submitted the results of their funded assessment projects.


Several members were impressed with the learning outcomes outlined in the B.S. report. Further clarification seems necessary with regard to what was meant by ‘transfer student,’ as there are many groups of transfer students.


For the Ph.D. report, there was a question about what ‘no advisor’ meant on one of the rubrics.  Additional clarification was desired for how the rubric would be used and who would be using it (would the rubric be given to Ph.D. students’ advisors for rating the students and then used as a source of information?). Concern was raised over the broad descriptors used for the qualifying exam section of the rubric. The department will be asked to give the UAP more specific information and be encouraged to meet with Douglass to help clarify the rubric and select more objective, measurable words.


Meeting Overview – Status report review

Elementary Education submitted their mid-cycle assessment status reports to be reviewed for the B.S.Ed. and M.S.Ed. degree programs.  The reports were well organized and generally well done, with one significant problem: the learning outcomes were the same for the B.S. and M.S. degrees. It was noted that the master’s degree in elementary education serves two populations: students obtaining their initial certification and students obtaining their master’s degree for professional development. With the IBHE approval of the new M.A.T. degree, which will be for those students seeking initial teacher certification at the master’s level, the overlap in the outcomes for the B.S.Ed. and the M.S.Ed. degrees will disappear. It was discussed that the outcomes 3.2 & 5.2 (pg 4 of the M.S.Ed. report) were only assessed via one method, yet they are very critical. Perhaps the department can see how those outcomes are also assessed via additional methods. 


 The meeting was adjourned at 11:45 a.m. The next meeting is scheduled for 17 October, 2008 from 10:00-12:00 in Altgeld 203.




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