Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Assessment Day at Ozarks

Today was the semi-annual Assessment Day at Ozarks, on which we focus all our attention on the process of evaluating whether students are learning what we say we are teaching them.

The Communication department met with students this afternoon to administer a survey and report on last year's assessment results, followed by a viewing of the documentary "Mashed Media."

Part of the feedback loop for assessment is reporting results to interested constituencies. If you're interested, here's a brief run-down of the results of assessment of the Strategic Communication major for 2011-12.

Three assessment instruments were evaluated for last year: a career goal essay, the capstone exam, and the senior portfolio. Six career essays from the Strategic Communication Planning class were read and evaluated by an external evaluator. All the essays were judged to be either "Proficient" or "Highly Proficient" on the dimensions of goal-setting and planning to achieve the goal. Although the essays were judged to be weak on the dimension of career awareness, that may be a result of a mismatch between the Intended Student Outcome in the assessment plan and the assignment from the SCP class.

Nine seniors took the capstone exam, which covers terminology and concepts from the major's core classes. The average score on the exam was 80 percent, which was below the target score of 85 percent.

This year was the first year for the rotating assessment of the senior portfolios, which are now evaluated every three years. All the portfolios for the past three years were collected and a random sample of 10 portfolios were submitted to a PR professional with more than 10 years of experience in the field. The portfolios consisted of four items: a press release, a planning document, an example of promotional copy, and a recording of a presentation.  For each of the items, the majority of student work was judged to be either "Proficient" or "Highly Proficient"; press releases, 70 percent; planning documents, 60 percent; promotional copy, 80 percent, and presentations, 100 percent. The main weaknesses the evaluator noted were the need for more detail and additional information, especially in the press releases and planning documents; some errors in using AP style, and a few grammatical errors. However, the evaluator also was very complimentary of some of the documents and presentations.

The RTV assessment report is still in progress. We'll publish results from that report when they are available.

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