President David W. Burcham has signed on as a Presidents’ Alliance member to the Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability. The national initiative, signed by more than 70 college and university presidents, is dedicated to improving student learning outcomes on U.S. campuses.
“There has been a lot of pressure from the Department of Education to provide hard evidence of what students are actually learning in college,” said Margaret Kasimatis, vice president for academic planning and effectiveness. “Participation in this alliance is a way of sharing the good work that LMU is involved in and how deeply it cares about its students. We’ve gone public with how we assess student learning and the different methods we use to gather that information.”
LMU is involved in several initiatives that gather and report evidence of student learning and use it to improve outcomes. The university evaluates student work using scoring rubrics, participates in national student surveys, and, each year, academic programs report its assessment activities. Also, faculty and staff are presented with evidence of student achievements and then asked to interpret the evidence and reflect on how it relates to their work. The university has implemented a new academic program review process that is anchored in a culture of ongoing assessment.
“This is really nice consumer information for current and prospective students,” Kasimatis said. “Not only do we publish what LMU’s learning goals are and what the university hopes they will gain from their educational experience, but we publish the results of whether we’re really doing that or not.”
Examples of effective assessment are shared with other institutions through the Assessment Office website and through presentations at conferences, such as the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ Academic Resource Conference and the California Association of Institutional Researchers Annual Conference. For more information, go to www.lmu.edu/assessment.
The Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability is a nonprofit organization that leads and supports voluntary and cooperative efforts to move higher education administrators toward gathering, reporting on and using evidence to improve student learning in U.S. undergraduate education.