Writing Learning Outcomes Tip #1

By Ryan Smith, Director of University Assessment Services, Illinois State University

There are a variety of frameworks for writing learning outcomes. These are particularly helpful for people who are new to writing learning outcomes. This post will cover one method based on a template from the book, Learning Reconsidered 2. This approach is also described in the University of Illinois Student Affairs Assessment Plan Template,

Learning Outcomes Template

Here is what the template looks like:

Intended learners   Activity*   Action verb Intended outcome
Who   Will be able to    
  • Intended learners are the students in your class, program, or activity.
  • The activity describes the program, activity, service, or experience offered to students. For example, “students who attend class” or “students who participate in the safe zone training.”
  • The action verb describes what students will learn in the activity. It does not describe what they possess or what they will do after they graduate. Thus, avoid verbs like “understand” or “aware.” Verbs also describe what students do, not what we teach. For example, “students will be introduced to…” assesses what we do as instructors, not what students do when they learn.
  • The intended outcome is the cognitive, behavioral, or affective change you want to see in students. Descriptions and guiding questions:
    • Cognitive outcomes refer to knowledge and skills. The guiding question is: what do you want students to know?
    • Behavioral outcomes are focused on physical activites. The guiding question is: what do you want students to be able to do?
    • Affective outcomes are concerned with values and attitudes. The guiding question is: what do you want students to value or care about?

Continue reading

Using Professional Competencies to Assess Learning in Student Affairs Graduate Programs

By Dr. Phyllis McCluskey-Titus, Associate Professor, Department of   Educational Administration and Foundations; Ramo Stott, Residential Life Coordinator, Louisiana State University; Catherine Poffenbarger, Office of the Provost, Illinois State University; Kaitlin Ballard, Residence Hall Director, Illinois Wesleyan University

Originally published in Progressive Measures, Fall 2014, Volume 10, Issue 1. 

The purpose of this research project was to develop and pilot a process to assess learning in student affairs graduate programs.  Using the ACPA/NASPA Competency Areas for Student Affairs Practitioners (2010), our research team created an assessment instrument to identify levels of competency reported by students entering a graduate program in student affairs, midway through the  program, and at the end of their program.  This research was made possible thanks to a grant provided by the NASPA Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community.  This article introduces our student affairs graduate program and the professional competencies, briefly reviews previous research, explains the assessment instrument and process, discusses findings, and shares our plans for continuing this research on other campuses.  This study contributes to the existing research on graduate students’ learning and provides evidence to support curriculum revision and enhancement of other learning experiences that student affairs master’s degree students need for success in professional practice, using the ACPA/NASPA competencies as a model. Continue reading

Music Student Teachers and the edTPA

By Dr. David Snyder, Professor, School of Music

Originally published in Progressive Measures, Fall 2014, Volume 10, Issue 1. 

The Educational Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) will be required of all student teachers in Illinois starting in the fall of 2015.  Several universities have already been piloting this new assessment, yielding some data that can help all of us better prepare our student teachers for when this assessment begins next year.  Continue reading

Testing our Standards — Testing our Teaching: Illinois State University’s General Education vs. the Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations

By Elizabeth Doorn, Former Teaching Assistant, Department of HistoryDr. Patrick O’Sullivan, Director, Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology at California Polytechnic State University; and Dr. Stewart Winger, Associate Professor, Department of HistoryElizabeth Doorn graduated in 2013 and currently teaches social studies at El Quarto Año High School in Chicago.

Originally published in Progressive Measures, Spring 2014, Volume 9, Issue 2. 

The purpose of a liberal arts education is to provide students with the skills and knowledge to become active citizens and more fully realized human beings.  Having been exposed to richer worlds of thought, liberally educated students should better understand their place in the world and should be better empowered to shape that world.  The student of music will be familiar with the general theory of relativity, enhancing both the understanding of music and of life.  Continue reading

An Overview of the Spring 2014 Student Health Services Patient Satisfaction Survey Results

By Laura Frey, Administrative Clerk, Student Health Services

Originally published in Progressive Measures, Spring 2014, Volume 9, Issue 2. 

Student Health Services (SHS) has a full staff of providers including licensed/board certified physicians, nurse practitioners, psychiatrist, and physician assistants along with nurses, radiology, lab, and pharmacy staff.  Last year, the clinic provided medical services to over 15,000 patients.  To assess patient satisfaction with our services, surveys are conducted at least once a semester.  These satisfaction surveys are used to address any issues and assess patient perceptions regarding the quality of care provided. Continue reading

Evaluation of the Operation Beautiful Program at ISU

By Amanda N. Fisher, Graduate Student, Department of Psychology; Maria K. Anchacles, Undergraduate Student, Department of Psychology; and Dr. Dakesa Piña, Staff Counselor, Student Counseling Services

Originally published in Progressive Measures, Spring 2014, Volume 9, Issue 2. 

It is no secret that our culture places great value on appearances, idealizing thinness as a beauty standard and primary indicator of health.  The “Freshman 15” (the idea that students will gain 15 pounds during their first year of college) is a widely held belief that may encourage students to take dieting and exercise to unhealthy extremes; however, a recent study found that freshman participants only gained 2.5 to 3.5 pounds on average during the first year of college (Zagorsky, 2011).  The problem seems to be increasing: a study at one college found that total eating disorders increased in both females (from 23% to 32%) and males (from 7.9% to 25%) during a 13-year period (White, Reynolds-Malear, & Cordero, 2011).  Continue reading

A View in the Mirror: The Foundations of Excellence (FoE) Self-Study at Illinois State University

By Danielle Miller-Schuster, Assistant to the Vice President for Planning and Development, Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Ryan Smith, Director, University Assessment Services

Originally published in Progressive Measures, Fall 2013, Volume 9, Issue 1. 

New students are a significant part of the Illinois State University student body.  Every year, about 5,800 new first-year and transfer students enroll at ISU for the first time, accounting for nearly one-third of all undergraduates.  ISU has historically had success retaining and helping new students succeed.  Over the last six years, about 83% of all ISU first-year students returned to ISU for their sophomore year.  This rate has consistently been higher than the average retention rates (78%) at four-year public institutions.  As a result of ISU’s work in the area of first-year student success, we were recognized by being named one of 12 founding institutions in the national Foundations of Excellence (FoE) in the First College Year project in 2003. Continue reading