Student Outcomes | Beaufort County Now | ECU has been recognized nationally for its comprehensive assessment processes | east carolina university, ECU, student outcomes, assessment processes, october 16, 2020

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Student Outcomes

Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of ECU News Services. The author of this post is Crystal Baity.

The sun peeks from behind a tree on ECU’s campus. | Photo: Rhett Butler

    East Carolina University has been recognized nationally for integrating assessment processes across campus, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to student success in and out of the classroom.

    In August, ECU was one of 12 universities to receive the Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA).

    EIA is the first national designation of its kind, recognizing colleges and universities that successfully integrate assessment practices across an institution, provide evidence of student learning outcomes to stakeholders, and use data to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance, according to NILOA.

The Main Campus Student Center stands out on a beautiful fall day. | Photo: Cliff Hollis
    ECU is the second institution in the UNC System and one of 39 nationwide to be designated since EIA was initiated five years ago.

    "We're proud we're one of them now," said Dr. Ying Zhou, associate provost of ECU Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research (IPAR), which facilitates strategic and academic planning, space planning, institutional assessment and research, and accreditation activities throughout the university.

    The designation reflects the effort across campus, Zhou said.

    "It highlights broad-based interaction with each college and each division," said Dr. Kristen Springer-Dreyfus, director of institutional assessment. "Student learning and experiences are the centerpieces of success."

    ECU's assessment process includes gathering evidence of student learning in hundreds of academic programs, general education and cocurricular experiences. The goal is to improve student success and program quality through an iterative process of planning, evidence collection, reporting, analysis and action.

    "Learning outcomes assessment is embedded throughout a student's educational experience at ECU," Zhou said. "Assessment is ongoing, intentional and research based."

    IPAR works regularly with faculty, staff members and the ECU Institutional Assessment Advisory Council to ensure continual monitoring of the quality of every degree and certificate program offered at ECU. An Institutional Assessment Review Committee provides feedback to units on their annual assessment reports.

ECU is the second UNC System institution and one of 39 nationwide to receive the Excellence in Assessment designation from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment.
    "The relationships we have formed and maintain across campus are an essential component of ECU's ongoing assessment process," Springer-Dreyfus said.

    Assessment outcomes are used to analyze and identify areas where changes in policies and practices may be needed, helping inform decision-making on a broad range of areas from course modifications to professional development.

    "The important factor is this is continuous," Springer-Dreyfus said. "There is a monitoring and improvement cycle along the way. Faculty and staff report on outcomes every year."

    The process is transparent and available to anyone on or off campus. Results are publicly shared on the IPAR website under the outcomes and assessment section. "It's a significant amount of work to maintain," Springer-Dreyfus said.

    The EIA designation recognizes institutions that are moving assessment of student learning from a compliance exercise to one of meaningful engagement, said Natasha Jankowski, NILOA executive director. "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," she said.

    Designees like ECU must demonstrate how processes — intentionally integrated and layered systems built from the foundational work of faculty in the classroom — are able to provide evidence of students' knowledge, skills and abilities, according to a NILOA news release.


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