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Institutional Effectiveness Glossary

Below you will find some terms commonly used in the institutional effectiveness process. For questions or more information, contact the Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at iea@apsu.edu or (931) 221-6184.

Academic program: 
The combination of courses and/or requirements leading to a degree or certificate awarded by APSU. Each academic program assesses itself. In contrast, a concentration is a focus within an academic program; APSU does not require assessment of concentrations.
Achievement Target (also Criterion for Success):
A statement of how to interpret the results of a specific assessment method: the minimum requirements for what constitutes expected success for student learning in a program or success for an administrative outcome.
Actions for Improvement:
The final part of the IE Report: What logical and specific actions, based on assessment results, has or will the program undertake to improve student learning? Do not enter vague plans for action: implementation should be specific with a clearly defined timeframe. Actions are often course/curriculum modifications or policy changes; see Nuventive Actions for Improvements screen in the Results Report for a drop-down list of examples.
 Administrative Unit: 
Administrative units are present in every division of the university and include student affairs, finance and administration, athletics, academic and student support services and academic departments as distinguished from academic programs. These units may also be termed non-academic units as opposed to academic programs.
Annual Timeline:
Yearly schedule establishing dates for the IE process (SLOs and AUOs) for academic-programs and non-academic units at the university; (1) academic programs, (2) student affairs, (3) academic and student support services and (4) administrative units (administrative units are present in every division of the university). See https://www.apsu.edu/institutional-effectiveness/iedocs/revised_ie_cycle_timeline_082019.pdf
Assessable/Measurable Verb (see also Bloom’s Taxonomy):
When constructing SLOs consider what you will be able to measure. For SLOs: The student will demonstrate an understanding … is difficult to measure. The student will compare and contrast …  (analysis) or the student will judge the effectiveness of x using y …  (evaluation) are preferred. This issue is less critical for AUOs where behaviors to measure may be more concrete.
Assessment Data:

Results gathered from designated assessment methods, shared and discussed by unit stakeholders (faculty, staff) and then reported in the Results Report section of the IE Report.

  • For the Results field in Nuventive: Provide a summary of results. Consider a chart or graph with clear labels and notes. Do not include a table of individuals’ results here.
  • For the Reflective Analysis field in Nuventive: Give details of the faculty or staff discussion of the results. What is most important? Which areas show the greatest successes and challenges? What new ideas are suggested by the results? Suggested length: 1-2 paragraphs.
Assessment Plan:

Part 1 of the IE Report in Nuventive in which the procedures for collection of assessment data for a given year are detailed. For student learning the plan includes:

  • SLO,
  • 2 assessment methods (at least one of which is direct), and
  • achievement targets for each method.

For administrative unit outcomes effectiveness the plan includes:

  • AUO,
  • 1 assessment method and
  • an achievement target.

Assessment Report Summary:

A brief yearly report where academic departments can feature their successful actions based on assessment of student learning in all their programs.  Four simple items:

  • Summarize changes and improvements in curriculum, instruction and learning resulting from assessment. (Celebrate how you have engaged with improving student learning as a result of this process.)
  • Share any improvements in your program’s assessment process. (How are you wrestling with refining outcomes, improving assessment methods, streamlining data collection or promoting discussion?)
  • Findings Differences by Modality or Location. (If you answered yes to differences by modality or location in your Results Report, please discuss here.)
  • Dissemination of Assessment Findings. (faculty, students, webpage, alumni, etc.)
Assessment Type (also Method Category in AUs):
A required field in Assessment Plans that categorizes the Assessment Method. The drop-down listing in Nuventive for SLOs includes: capstone assignment, various kinds of exams, portfolio review, presentations/performances and more. The drop-down listing in Nuventive for AUs includes: activity volume, efficiency, service quality, standards and more.
AU / AUO:
AU is the Nuventive software abbreviation of AUO): administrative unit outcome. AUOs are part of the institutional effectiveness process and focus on improvement in the working of a unit specific to the Strategic Plan or University Mission, apart from student learning. They can involve things like quality of a process or service, satisfaction or participation.
Bloom’s Taxonomy:
A hierarchical list (6 levels) of action verbs related to increasing levels of how students may demonstrate learning. Since program-level SLOs are based on what students know, can do and value at the end of the program of study, the use of higher-order verbs is preferred.
Committee Feedback (also IEC Feedback):

The Institutional Effectiveness Committee is charged with “review[ing] department institutional effectiveness reports of academic programs and non-academic units” with the goal of increasing the quality of the process.  The IEC reviews completed IE reports in the fall of each year with feedback published to the Nuventive website for units. Specifically the IEC examines:

  • assessment procedures (explain how outcomes are assessed)
  • data analysis (clearly presented and complete)
  • results (are meaningful and can be acted upon)
  • plans for improvement (specific and formulated in response to results)

Concentration (Academic Concentration):

A focus within an academic program. APSU does not require assessment of concentrations, cf. program.
 
Direct Assessment:
An assessment method that measures various types of actual student products or performances (exams, essays, reports, oral performance). At APSU, for SLOs at least one assessment method must be direct, cf. indirect assessment. Generally, this does not apply to AUOs, but is relevant for units assessing SLOs.
Four Column Report:

The standard format for reviewing and sharing IE reports. To view/generate such a report: from the departmental or program Nuventive landing page go to Reports in the left menu, choose Standard Reports and then –Four Column. Specify Planned Assessment Cycle to focus your report.

  • Dept Planning Four Column: shows the Administrative Unit Outcomes for each selected Dept Overview, along with any Assessment Methods, Results, and Actions for Improvement for each AUO.
  • SLO Assessment Four Column: shows the Student Learning Outcomes for each selected Program, along with any Assessment Methods, Results, and Actions for Improvement for each SLO.
IE Report (Institutional Effectiveness Report):
A report that combines the Assessment Plan and the Results Report (SLO, assessment method, achievement target plus results, analysis, actions for improvement). Commonly this is viewed as a 4-column report, a standard report available in Nuventive.
Indirect Assessment
An assessment method that measures perceived or self-reported learning. Indirect assessment is appropriate for a second assessment method to measure SLOs; at APSU, at least one assessment method must be direct, cf. direct assessment.
Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC):
A standing committee of the university with broad representation. The committee provides oversight, guidelines and resources for assessment and evaluation activities. The committee also reviews IE reports. https://www.apsu.edu/governance/committees/institutional-effectiveness-committee.php

Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) Feedback: See Committee Feedback

Location:
Administrative units are present in every division of the university and include student affairs, finance and administration, athletics, academic and student support services and academic departments as distinguished from academic programs. These units may also be termed non-academic units as opposed to academic programs.
 Method Category (also Assessment Type in SLOs):
A required field in Assessment Plans that categorizes the Assessment Method. The drop-down listing in Nuventive for AUs includes: activity volume, efficiency, service quality, standards and more. The drop-down listing in Nuventive for SLOs includes: capstone assignment, various kinds of exams, portfolio review, presentations/performances and more.
 Modality/ Mode
In the context of IE and SLOs, modality refers to delivery of instruction. Modalities at APSU include classroom (or F2F), online, hybrid. According to SACSCOC, “an institution does have an obligation to establish comparability of instruction across locations and modes” and further, such institutions “may find it helpful to consider location or mode of delivery as a key variable in developing ways to use assessment results for program Improvement.” (SACSCOC Resource Manual, 2018, p190). Modality applies to AUOs in terms of effectiveness of admissions, financial aid or academic support services functions impacting distance education students.
 
No improvement needed:
Words that never appear in isolation in an SLO IE Report since it would be like getting A’s in first grade and declaring that you've mastered education. The bar needs to be raised or the focus needs to change whenever an outcome is met; be clear and specific with respect to next steps  when addressing this.
Non-academic Units: see administrative units
Nuventive:
Software used to report and track institutional effectiveness assessment at APSU since Fall 2017. Link: https://www.apsu.edu/institutional-effectiveness/nuventive-forms.php . Pictorial tutorials available on the site.

Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment (OIEA): 

Located in Miller 216, this office supports program review, program and unit assessment, general education assessment and quality assurance efforts at APSU.
Personally identifiable information (see also student identifiable information):

Presentation of assessment results in the IE process, including within attached documents, may not include student, alumni or employee identifiable information.  This applies to SLOs and AUOs set by all programs and units, academic and non-academic.

Planned Assessment Cycle:

The name of field in Nuventive where programs/units can identify the academic/fiscal year (eg. 2020-2021) of an IE Report (Assessment Plan and/or Results Report). More than one planned assessment cycle can be chosen based on the Reporting Cycle.

Program: see academic program; compare concentration.

 

Reporting Cycle: 

The frequency of reporting the assessment and use of results for each outcome in Nuventive and to the IEC.
Results Report:
Part 2 of the IE Report in which assessment data (results), analysis and actions for improvement for a given year are detailed. Report fields include: Results, Reflective Analysis and Actions for Improvement. Results Reports for SLOs also note differences by modality (online vs. F2F) and location (main campus vs. other locations).
Rubric:
A scoring tool that explicitly designates performance expectations by dividing the task (assignment or test) into component parts. In a rubric chart the rows are called dimensions and represent the component parts. The columns are called levels and represent scaled quality of achievement. Rubrics are useful for assessment because they offer a nuanced view of student learning or task performance (i.e. are useful for both SLOs and AUOs) and lend themselves to discrimination for actions for improvement.
SACSCOC Assessment Standards:

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges is APSU’s regional accrediting body. Sections 7 and 8 address relevant issues:

  • 3 The institution identifies expected outcomes of its administrative support services and demonstrates the extent to which the outcomes are achieved.
  • 2 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in … educational programs … general education … academic and student services.

(The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, SACSCOC, 2018 edition, http://sacscoc.org/pdf/2018PrinciplesOfAcreditation.pdf)

SLO (student learning outcome):

In the context of institutional effectiveness, SLOs refer to program-level student learning outcomes, that is, statements of the knowledge, skills and abilities and/or values demonstrated by students upon completion of a specific degree or certificate.
Strategic Plan (https://www.apsu.edu/strategic-plan/index.php ):

The 2015-20 Strategic Plan of APSU encompasses 5 goals: Enrollment, Student Success, Sustainability, Diversity and Communication. AUOs are often aligned with Strategic Plan goals.

Student Identifiable Information:

Student names, university id numbers (A-numbers) or other personal identifiers. Presentation of assessment results in the IE process, including within attached documents, may not include student identifiable information.  Alumni or employee identifiable information should not be included in results from administrative units.