CLEAR takes a leadership role at UNT in facilitating innovation and providing resources to support faculty in the assessment of student learning.
The assessment unit in CLEAR provides information, support, and training for faculty and staff in the development of student learning outcomes and outcome based assessments. The assessment unit also provides input into the development, implementation, and evaluation of the University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for accreditation purposes. Faculty members who are fellows in the The NextGen Course Redesign Program that was developed as a component of the QEP receive intensive and comprehensive training in developing student learning outcomes and outcome based assessments.
Assessment is the general term for the various procedures that may be used to obtain information for the purpose of improving student learning. A test is considered to be one type of assessment instrument. A survey is another type. For written response tests, rubrics are the assessment instrument. Observations, performance measures, and group evaluations also fall under the term assessment. A primary focus at the Center when developing assessments is on validity evidence. One important piece of validity evidence to support the interpretation and use of test scores is obtained by having a good match of test items to outcome statements. Another important piece of test-score validity evidence is obtained by matching the test item to the cognitive level intended in the outcome statement.
CLEAR offers 50-minute workshops by Dr. Ron Carriveau that provide everything needed to develop measurable student learning outcomes and outcome based assessments. The information offered in these workshops covers the same information that NextGen Faculty Fellows receive when they are accepted to redesign one of their courses so that it will qualify as a NextGen course.
1. Developing outcome-based student learning expectations and outcome attainment measures. This workshop focuses on guidelines for writing measurable SLOs using a three-level model, how to link outcomes to instruction and test items, and how to calculate outcome attainment values that meet course and accreditation requirements.
2. Developing quality multiple-choice items and written response items scored with analytic rubrics. This workshop covers guidelines for writing quality multiple-choice test items and quality written response items scored with rubrics, with an overall focus on test score validity.
3. Developing outcome statements and test items to measure critical thinking. This workshop provides the rationale and advantages of using multiple-choice items to measure critical thinking skills, presents examples of critical-thinking outcome statements and item formats, and addresses the LEAP Critical Thinking Value Rubric required for core courses.
UNT Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)
CLEAR projects and research provided evidence of the need to develop assessment-driven alternatives to current practice. This information resulted in the decision to continue this assessment based effort through the submission of the UNT Quality Enhancement Plan. The success of UNT's Quality Enhancement Plan attracted grant support at the State and Federal levels, and the Next Generation Course Redesign Project emerged during the second year of the QEP. The SACS review of the UNT fifth year QEP impact report resulted in an approval and a recommendation from the president of SACSCOC that "the project should be brought to the attention of others as a possible model." The entire UNT fifth year report was subsequently designated by SACS as exemplary.
The Mission of the University of North Texas Quality Enhancement Plan is to transform the student-learning experience in large-enrollment undergraduate courses. These efforts are intended to enhance the University's overall instructional quality, improve student learning, and strengthen the efficiency of the learning and teaching process.
QEP Primary Goal
The primary goal of the UNT QEP is to improve student learning outcomes including course-specific and general course outcomes and, especially, to increase the amount of higher level learning. The transformed courses represent the next generation of course redesign and are designed for the next generation college student.
Connecting the Dots: Developing Student Learning Outcomes and Outcome Based Assessments By Ronald S. Carriveau, Ph.D.
This book contains forms and examples and a chapter on calculating, reporting and using outcome attainment measures. The main topics are: Applying a Three Level Model for Developing Outcomes and Assessments; Linking SLOs and Test Items; Item Writing Guidelines; Rubric Development and Use; and Measuring Higher Level Thinking. Included are guidelines for writing student learning outcomes, selected response items, and constructed response items, plus extensive lists of one-line templates for developing SLO statements and test questions at various levels of cognitive difficulty.