University Assessment

University Assessment 

CDI Assessment Grants Summer 2012

In late spring 2012, the Office of the Provost, in collaboration with the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center, announced a request for proposals for Department/Program assessment grants. This grant opportunity provided faculty across the University with an opportunity to advance the culture of assessment in their department or program. A variety of types of projects were invited, from assessing a particular skill in a capstone course to providing training to faculty so they may lead the assessment efforts of their department or program. A large number of proposals were submitted and underwent a competitive review process involving the members of the University Assessment Steering Committee and coordinated by Paul Fisher, Director of TLTC, and Dr. Theresa Bartolotta, Office of the Provost.  A total of nine projects were funded. Faculty members working on each project will provide regular updates on their progress at meetings of the University Assessment Committee during the 2012-2013 academic year. Abstracts of the funded proposals appear below:

Mind Mapping in the Development of Critical Thinking Skills in Professional Students

Project Directors: Genevieve Pinto Zipp PT, EdD, Department of Graduate Programs in Health Sciences, and Catherine Maher DPT, GCS, Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Medical Sciences
The goal of this project is to assess the effects of Mind Mapping on the development of critical thinking skills in students of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program as an outcome of the curriculum design which infuses Mind Mapping (MM) as a teaching and learning strategy within adult neurological problems coursework. While the development of critical thinking has been proposed as an outcome of physical therapy educational programs, evidence supporting effective teaching and learning strategies that foster this development is limited. Students in the 3rd year of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program will be asked to complete the Health Sciences Reasoning Test (HSRT) at the beginning and end of the fall semester during which MM is utilized. The HSRT consists of a standardized, 33-item, and multiple choice tests that targets core critical thinking skills regarded to be essential elements in a health science education program at the post-secondary level.  No discipline-specific health sciences content knowledge is presumed on the HSRT.  Recent research has emerged to demonstrate HSRT construct validity for novice and expert physical therapists (Huhn, 2011). The data will be used to inform and guide the use of Mind Mapping as a teaching and learning strategy in the doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum to develop the critical think skills to become competent autonomous practitioners, one of the outcomes of the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Seton Hall University.

Assessment of the Undergraduate Concentration in Management

Project Director: Karen Boroff, PhD, Department of Management, Stillman School of Business

The Department of Management will be completing its assessment plan for the undergraduate concentration in management.  The department faculty already developed the learning goals for the concentration in 2011-2012.  Now, they will define the assessment methodology (or methodologies) they will use to determine the degree to which learning goals have been met and to set the assessment cycle that they will use to measure these goals.  In addition, the faculty members seek to map out the accountabilities for reviewing the collected assessment data, for making curriculum recommendations (as informed by the data), and for implementing those changes. 

Computer-Based Assessment Tests

Project Director: Mitra Feizabadi, PhD, Department of Physics, College of Arts & Sciences
This project will be the continuation of an ongoing assessment process in the Physics Department. The principle goal is to structure a solid framework to effectively improve the physics program. The approach is based on:

  • Assessing student-learning outcomes by conducting a series of pre/post course tests in an electronic version,
  • Analyzing the students learning outcomes in some of the major courses in physics from different perspectives, and thereby, providing a way in which to recognize the strengths and defects that exist in their learning, 
  • Identifying and implementing the improvement methods recommended by frontiers in Physics Education research and, subsequently, advancing student learning. 
  • Bringing diverse teaching methods to our courses by attending and learning from physics education conferences.

An Assessment of the Reading/Writing Core Proficiency

Project Director: Kelly A. Shea, PhD, Department of English, Director of the Writing Center, College of Arts & Sciences

Several years ago, the faculty of Seton Hall implemented a new Core Curriculum program, which included five core proficiencies – intellectual skills the faculty thinks students of Seton Hall should have honed as part of their education.  They include critical thinking, information fluency, numeracy, oral communication, and reading/writing.   It is now time to learn how well the proficiencies are working in terms of student and faculty attitudes as well as their own assessment of student success.  This study will focus on the reading/writing (R/W) proficiency and will consist of an assessment of the participants of the program – students and faculty – who have been involved in R/W courses.  It seeks to answer the following questions:  “As a result of these courses, are faculty seeing improved student reading, writing, and learning?” and “As a result of these courses, are students reporting enhanced learning of and expertise in these important literacy skills?”

Accreditation for Programs in Communication and the Arts

Project Directors: Thomas Rondinella, MFA & Jon Radwan, PhD, Department of Communication and the Arts, College of Arts & Sciences

This assessment project will pursue American Communication Association accreditation for two programs:  the Broadcasting, Visual & Interactive Media major and the Communication major.  The accreditation process requires an extensive self-study followed by an evaluative site visit from disciplinary peers.  The site team reviews programs in terms of fifteen criteria:  Governance, Curriculum, Instruction, Faculty, Facilities/Equipment, Faculty Scholarship/Research/Professional Activities, Public Service, Alumni, Tenure & Promotion Procedures, Mentoring, Due Process, Student Organizations, Budget, and Student Advising. Upon completing their review the site team composes a final report rating each program on each criterion.  There are three potential outcomes for each program: five years unconditional ACA accreditation, provisional accreditation with specific issues to address within one year, or non-accreditation.  A successful accreditation process will both meet University program review requirements and provide external validation of and recognition for our curriculum, faculty, and facilities. 

Assessment Project Builds Excellence in the Asian Studies Program

Project Director: Shigeru Osuka, EdD, Director, Asian Studies Program, Department of Language, Literature and Culture, College of Arts & Sciences

This assessment project has two components: the first will be the creation and dissemination of an e-portfolio for Asian Studies students in 2012-2013, and the second will be launching of an on-line language assessment/exit examination as of the fall 2012 semester.   This assessment grant will allow for the creation of guidelines for creation and assessment of the portfolio, and provide for workshops for faculty and students on utilization of the portfolio.  A survey will be given at the end of each academic year to analyze implementation of the portfolio and effect on the curriculum. As an additional assessment, an on-line assessment/exit examination will be created and administered at the end of each semester.  All students enrolled in language courses within the Asian Studies program will be required to take this on-line assessment/exit examination.  Faculty will analyze and disseminate the results, and use these to improve teaching methods. These two assessment projects will provide for enhanced accountability and improved student outcomes in the Asian Studies program.

Evaluating the predictive validity of pre-requisite requirements and program courses in Occupational Therapy

Project Directors: Thomas J. Mernar, Ph.D., OTR, and Ruth Segal, Ph.D., OTR

Academic OT programs across the nation have varied student pass rates on the NBCOT examination. There is conceptual and empirical importance to understand if certain pre-admission and post-admission criteria can be used to predict student success in the program as well as maximizing graduate passing rates on the NBCOT examination. Understanding which pre and post admission criteria that serve as statistically significant predictors of future student academic, clinical, and NBCOT pass rate performance can be highly valuable to an OT Admissions Committee. Koenig (2003) found that student GPA was the only statistically significant predictor of both fieldwork level II performance and pass rate of the NBCOT examination. However, many performance variables can contribute to the success of whether a student will pass the NBCOT examination. We will use linear and logistical regression to answer the following research questions: Do overall prerequisite course GPA and/or the score on admission essay predict final GPA in the OT program? Does overall prerequisite course GPA predict first semester GPA in the OT program? Does overall clinical course GPA predict fieldwork II scores on AOTA’s fieldwork evaluation?  Does overall GPA in the OT program predict pass rates on the NBCOT exam? Is there a statistically significant difference between undergraduate track student admission and entry level graduate student admission pass rates on NBCOT exam?

Koenig, K. P. (2003). Academic and clinical success in the field of occupational therapy:
predictors of entry-level professional competence (Unpublished dissertation). Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.

Developing a writing skills assessment tool for COPJ majors

Project Directors: Dr. Kathleen Rennie & Dr. Amy Kiste Nyberg

The Journalism and Public Relations Major (COPJ) plans to develop a writing assessment instrument to determine which students are ready to continue in the major. Program faculty are concerned about the quality of student writing in both the upper-division skills courses (Advanced Reporting and Public Relations II) and the capstone seminar courses, which require original research. COPJ majors are pursuing careers in which strong writing skills are essential. The COPJ Major wants to implement a writing assessment instrument that uses both the gateway course, COMM 1421 Writing for the Media, and a writing test to ensure students pursuing the major possess the writing skills required.

A Survey of Outcomes of the 2009-2011 Graduates of the Multidisciplinary Certificate Program in Gerontology

Project Director: Emma Quartaro, DSW, LCSW

This research project will gather data on program graduate outcomes through interviews of the 2009 - 2011 graduates of the Multidisciplinary Certificate Program in Gerontology (MCPG) and through interviews of supervisory personnel at their hiring institutions. This project will seek to identify the array of employment sites, the jobs into which graduates were hired, and the research techniques utilized by the graduate and the hiring institution to assess the practice preparedness of MCPG graduates.  Information on advanced study status will also be elicited. The outcomes of this project will contribute to MCPG curriculum modification especially the extent to which single case design or its equivalent as a research skill (Council on Social \Work Education Educational Policy Accreditation Standards 2010) is  appropriate/necessary to MCPG graduates’ preparation for effective service delivery and research.  Data collection methods will involve technology (e.g. Skype, Survey Monkey) as well as face-to-face interviews. Central to its vision, this research will test one model of assessment for the helping professions engaged in gerontological/geriatric service delivery and assist the MCPG program in furthering its ultimate mission, which is to improve the quality of life of older persons.

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