HLC Recommendations

During the annual Assessment workshops, reviewers are provided with valuable assessment resources. We want to share them with you as well!

HLC Recommendations

When the Higher Learning Commission made their last site visit in 2015, they made the following recommendations regarding assessment at Missouri State University. 

Core Component 4.B

The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning. 

The institution has clearly stated goals for student learning and effective processes for assessment of student learning and achievement of learning goals. 

The institution assesses achievement of the learning outcomes that it claims for its curricular and co-curricular programs. 

The institution uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning. 

The institution's processes and methodologies to assess student learning reflect good practice, including the substantial participation of faculty and other instructional staff members. 

4.B Recommendations

"Missouri State has clearly stated goals for assessment of student learning for its academic programs. The university provided an overall plan as an addendum to the assurance argument; this assessment plan outlines the role of the Office of Assessment in supporting program-level student learning outcomes assessment, assessment of the public affairs mission at graduation, and other assessment support as needed by the campus. For now, the personnel in the Office of Assessment provide primarily a support function, since responsibility for oversight of program assessment rests with the college Deans. The university should consider additional oversight from the Office of the Provost to encourage uniform prioritization of assessment activities, or to enable corrective action if units fail to comply with the institutional assessment plan."

"Program-level assessment plans, activities, and changes made in response to findings are accomplished by faculty in each of the programs and this system seems to work well for the institution. Each academic program produces a thorough annual assessment report; the team was provided copies of these reports for 2014. it is clear that all academic departments engage in meaningful assessment, although, as is to be expected, the effectiveness of assessment processes varies. While some departments have clearly stated processes for collecting, analyzing, and using results of assessment for improvements, not all departments have clearly identified assessment plans that are linked to program objectives. The units submit an annual report to the dean that outlines the annual assessment activities. Since these assessment activities are directly tied to the curriculum and program of the unit, faculty are able to develop assessment plans to advance the learning goals of the program and/or that mesh with the requirements of an accrediting organization (if appropriate for the program). Program-level assessment is often a large responsibility and represents considerable work for the faculty member in the moment, the long-term sustainability of the assessment program would be offering greater recognition of this service load and perhaps give a course to the faculty member doing most of the work."

"The new general education program, implemented in Fall 2014, has a set of learning outcomes that were developed by the Committee on General Education and Intercollegiate Programs (CGEIP) and reviewed by the Assessment Council and approved by the Faculty Senate. The university has a solid start on assessing its new General Education program. However, we expect that, as assessment processes continue to develop, the university will find it necessary to consolidate the current large number of learning outcomes in order to facilitate program-level assessment for the general education program. Missouri State uses several other university-wide assessment tools to determine student learning through indirect and direct mechanisms including the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE), the ETS Proficiency Profile (exit exam), and the Quality Initiative Program (QIP) essay item in the exit exam developed by the assessment, it may be useful to redesign QIP assessment activities to include the major general education learning outcomes."

“The assessment goals of co-curricular programs by Student Affairs is consistent with the institutional mission and is referenced in "Learning Domains of the Division of Student Affairs" with seven learning domains (educated persons, communication, leadership development, cultural competence and diversity, social responsibility and citizenship, collaboration and negotiation, and self-awareness and wellness) and three to five subdomains under each domain. It seems that the domains are learning outcomes and the subdomains are more specific learning outcomes. No plan was presented to indicate how these "domains" would be assessed nor what programs in Student Affairs would assess any given domain on this list. Overall, there seem to be too many learning outcomes to provide meaningful assessment. In addition, the "Student Development and Public Affairs Outcomes Alignment Report", developed by the Associate Provost of Student Development and Public Affairs, was attached to the assurance argument. This document does map a series of learning outcomes to specific programs or activities on campus. The list is very long (40+ pages), and it includes the learning outcomes as well as action plans and responsible personnel to address the activity. Many of the items are not assessments of student learning outcomes, but rather a combination of program evaluations and student outcomes. Student Affairs [and SDPA] should develop a plan that includes activities and a statement of how findings will be used to address changes to improve student learning in non-curricular programs. Presumably, Student Affairs also makes use of the BCSSE and NSSE indirect measures, which would provide them with useful assessment data, but this was not clear. Assessment of student learning outcomes in co-curricular programs is an area that is often neglected at institutions. From the information we received, assessment of the co-curricular programs has recently started at the institution. Student Affairs should continue to develop assessment activities to provide meaningful information to improve student learning outcomes.” 

“Although many aspects of the Missouri State assessment plan and processes are only a few years old, the faculty and administrators take responsibility for assessment of student learning outcomes at the level of the program/department, college, and institution. Some of the assessment plans and processes are too recent to have made a difference in student learning outcomes. In addition, while the institution appears to be working to improve their assessment plans and processes, specific improvements (e.g. a more focused list of student learning outcomes and/or revision of QIP assessment activities to include general education outcomes) should be considered for general education assessment and co-curricular assessment of student learning outcomes.”