Blog: Tips & Tricks

Student Learning: It’s All in the Evidence

Melissa Helvey October 7, 2015

Mr. /Ms. Site Visit Accreditor: “May I see your student learning evidence?”

Me: “Sure! Here you go. Here are my student learning results for each of my programs.” [Feeling pretty proud of myself at this moment…]

Mr. /Ms. Site Visit Accreditor: “Good, good. Great information, thank you. I see these data you’ve provided are at the aggregate level. Which is good information. But as we know, where we really see student performance results is when we disaggregate the data and show how individual demographics of students are contributing to the overall score. May I see your data disaggregated by semester, gender, race, degree program, and class level?”

Me: Gulp [feeling the sweat trickling down my back]…. “Sure. Can I get back to you with these data?”

I think this scenario is one that some of us have experienced firsthand, others as a reoccurring dream leading up to a site visit. How can we make sure that we have the evidence we need? Not only for accreditation visits, but to ensure all of our students are learning in their courses and programs?

As the accreditor mentioned above, being able to disaggregate data and show how different demographics of students are contributing to overall aggregate results is huge. Many institutions I work with have recently confided in me that this is a key point of inquiry from accreditors as well. It makes sense –assuring that your student equity is high and that all students are performing well and similarly is essential to overall success in your programs. This also means success for students when they graduate. It demonstrates they have learned and gained the skills necessary to be employable in a real-life setting.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s hard enough to collect student data and analyze it on the aggregate level. How could my team possibly disaggregate the data by varying demographics and then demonstrate this information as evidence in my outcomes and assessment planning and accreditation preparation? I am exhausted and want to bury my head in the sand just thinking about it. I was, too, until I discovered how in Taskstream, student learning information can be disaggregated and comprehensive reports generated at the click of a button. This literally changed my life when I was in a university setting, and has done the same for many of my clients. No more sifting through spreadsheets, trying to determine the most current and accurate data (by specific demographics, mind you) only to realize I have done a week’s worth of data evaluation on outdated information! Frustrating! And many of us have been there. Taskstream will allow you to disaggregate student data by demographics as well as associate this information with standards (regional or national accrediting standards, or your own school outcomes) to show performance on specific standards across courses, programs, and schools. This was huge for me! Just see this screenshot below to show disaggregation of data and how you can drill into individual performance and performance on criterion within Taskstream. You can also check-out Denise Rusinova’s blog post for more information on disaggregating student data in Taskstream.

 

View Individual Scores to assess student learning

 

Now for the really cool part – associating these reports on student performance (at the aggregate and disaggregate student level) as evidence in outcomes and assessment planning, program review, and accreditation preparation in Taskstream. This is where you close the loop on assessment – demonstrating that you are not only collecting data, but acting upon the results. If you show how your students are performing on outcomes, what effect this has on your courses and programs, and what actions you are taking based on these results – you, my friend, have hit the assessment jackpot. You are demonstrating that you are both collecting data and acting upon the results, all with Taskstream. You are closing that assessment loop – what a rock star. And I am sure your students, faculty, internal stakeholders, and accreditors will agree. Just look at the super cool way Taskstream allows you to incorporate in student learning results into your assessment findings below.

 

Student Learning Evidence

So, Mr. /Ms. Site Visit Accreditor – bring it. Previously I may have quivered at your questions and additional requests, but no more. I have my ammo (Taskstream) and am fully prepped, ready, and excited to get this assessment show on the road.

Author
Melissa Helvey
Taskstream