National designation showcases institutions assessing student learning
DETROIT — Wayne State University was named to the 2020 class of “Excellence in Assessment Designees” for its commitment to the comprehensive assessment of student learning outcomes as a means to drive internal improvement and advance student success. WSU is one of only 12 colleges and universities nationwide to earn the Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation this year.
“We’re excited to be recognized on a national level for Wayne State’s commitment to assessment and student success,” said interim Provost Laurie Lauzon Clabo. “This achievement is reflective of the university’s commitment to effective assessment as a powerful tool in guiding teaching and learning on campus. Campus leaders, including President Wilson, Provost Whitfield and the University Assessment Council, have laid important groundwork that WSU will continue to advance.”
The EIA designation, the first national recognition of its kind, celebrates colleges and universities that successfully integrate assessment practices across an institution, provide evidence of student learning, and use assessment results to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance. Now in its fifth year, a total of 39 institutions have received the designation, including this year’s class.
“The Excellence in Assessment Designation is a testament to our faculty and staff’s commitment to improving student learning and student success,” said Cathy Barrette, director of assessment. “It recognizes the impressive growth in our assessment practices at all levels, from academic and student services programs to institutional uses of data. It’s gratifying to have our efforts celebrated on the national stage.”
Wayne State’s ability to clearly communicate the learning outcomes of its graduates is critical to both student success and institutional success. Effective assessment also ensures WSU graduates are prepared to positively impact their local and global communities. Assessment plays an important role in curriculum development, informing student support services, and in broader university goals like retention and graduation rates. Wayne State has become a national model with its record-setting graduation rate improvement.
Wayne State’s comprehensive and integrated assessment process engages faculty, staff, administrators and students in collaborative, continuous program improvements. Available resources include assessment grants, professional development workshops and tutorials, recognition of good assessment practices, and opportunities for feedback. The university has recently increased support for general education assessment, including customized department-level workshops, and rubrics within Canvas to aid faculty in data submission.
“Our integrated approach to assessment empowers and encourages the entire campus community to see the power of their work to positively impact our students’ learning outcomes,” said Darin Ellis, associate provost for academic programs and associate vice president for institutional effectiveness. “The assessment program developed by Dr. Barrette and our University Assessment Council provides rich evidence of students’ knowledge, skills and abilities, and demonstrates the value of a Wayne State degree.”
The designation is co-sponsored by multiple industry leaders, including VSA Analytics (supported by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities), the National Institute for Learning Outcomes (NILOA), and the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U); it is endorsed by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).
“Assessing student learning outcomes is critical to improving the quality of education institutions deliver,” said Association of Public and Land-grant Universities President M. Peter McPherson. “The EIA designees have not just identified the importance of student learning assessments, but also integrated them into their instruction to better serve students. We applaud their important work and congratulate them on earning this distinction.”
“The Excellence in Assessment Designation is the first national, jointly sponsored designation to recognize institutions moving assessment of student learning from a compliance exercise to one of meaningful engagement. It highlights the use of evidence of student learning across the entirety of the university setting, involving a variety of stakeholders including students, employers, and student affairs.” said Natasha Jankowski, NILOA executive director.
The sponsors of the EIA program are:
VSA Analytics, an interactive tool that supports the use of data in strategic planning and decision making for higher education institutions. The custom platform offers more than 25 benchmarking reports derived from a national dataset containing over 400 variables from roughly 4,400 institutions. VSA Analytics, supported by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, champions excellence in education for all higher education institutions through the Excellence in Assessment Designations.
The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 246 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU's agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 5.0 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.3 million degrees, employ 1.3 million faculty and staff, and conduct $49.3 billion in university-based research.
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is a Washington-based higher education association of more than 400 public colleges, universities and systems whose members share a learning- and teaching-centered culture, a historic commitment to underserved student populations and a dedication to research and creativity that advances their regions’ economic progress and cultural development. The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) is the leading national association concerned with the quality, vitality, and public standing of undergraduate liberal education. Its members are committed to extending the advantages of a liberal education to all students, regardless of academic specialization or intended career. Founded in 1915, AAC&U now comprises more than 1,400 member institutions-including accredited public and private colleges, community colleges, research universities, and comprehensive universities of every type and size.
Established in 2008, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) is a research and resource-development organization dedicated to documenting, advocating, and facilitating the systematic use of learning outcomes assessment to improve student learning. NILOA supports institutions in designing learning experiences and assessment approaches that strengthen the experience of diverse learners within a variety of institutional contexts.