University’s Assessment Program Seeks More Funds

Facing a restless, disengaged and tired crowd at the Nov. 7 SGA meeting, DeAnna Burney sought more funds for the university’s assessment program.

As Burney, chair of the Institutional Level Assessment Committee, made her plea, many senators and students were puzzled about why the university assessment program is underfunded.

“Everyone has been affected by budget cuts,” said Burney. “We are simply trying to close the loop. Assessment is geared toward meeting the student’s needs, that’s why our committee petitioned SGA as an avenue of funding.”

The assessment program allows the faculty and administration to evaluate students’ needs and growth.  After the students have been admitted in the university, they take an entry-level assessment test and an exit survey before graduation to measure their growth. Each degree program establishes an assessment plan detailing its expectations for improvement from students.

The assessment program looks at how well the students have been able to demonstrate critical thinking, communication skills and quantitative reasoning.

“Critical thinking is an area of challenge that we are working on,” said Uche Ohia, director of university assessment.

According to Ohia, his office uses a six-step assessment approach to measure growth, including formulating statements and outcomes, ascertaining criteria for success, measuring student and service performance, observing and analyzing results, using results to effect improvement and strengthening university programs.

“You are constantly engaged in assessment throughout your matriculation here,” said Ohia.

While a student is enrolled, he or she should acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to find a job, Ohia said.

“Motivation is a critical part in getting the students to engage in the assessment process,” said Ohia. “Most students do not take these types of test seriously because they are not being graded. However, you are being compared with students from other universities. 

“We would like to see them take this test more seriously. We try to give out incentives to the students who scored high.”

If denied funds by SGA, the next step would be to increase interest levels in ILAC

Their next meeting is today at 2 p.m. in the architecture conference room 211.