Reimagining Scoring & Assessments in Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua) to Support QEP

August 8, 2018 Dave Hansen

When I became the director of the Shaw University Writing Center in August of 2016, the university was moving toward using Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua) and Taskstream by Watermark for data analysis. Though I knew nothing of the Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua) software before that time, I looked forward to anything that would help with the assessment of our ENG 110 classes.

As a part of our university’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for SACSCOC, we give students timed essays on the first and last day of class to measure their growth in writing skills. Before Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua), the essays had to be put into random order, made anonymous, and converted to PDF manually. Then, the essays had to be zipped in batches and emailed to faculty for scoring. Additionally, we had to utilize separate software to collect the scores of individual essays. Then, the essays had to be scored and the numbers compiled manually. Some semesters had more than 400 students, which meant hours of work just to prepare for scoring.

With Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua), everything changed! Now, setting up our rubrics and adding new projects is intuitive and user-friendly. Students submit their papers to Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua) directly through the LMS, and the software randomizes the essays and gets them ready to score. Each essay is scored twice for validity, which is accomplished in Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua) with the touch of a button. The scoring process is also easier in Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua), since the essays, rubric, and scoring tool are in one place. The software then compiles all the data for us. Because scoring is so easy in Outcomes Assessment Projects (formerly Aqua), some of our scorers describe the process as “addictive.”

Instead of looking through folders in my computer

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