Assessment at RIC
NECHE (The New England Commission of Higher Education) requires Rhode Island College to meet several goals in regard to assessment.
Findings from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) show students who are more engaged in co-curricular activities have higher retention and graduation rates than do students who are less engaged.
Co-curricular assessment is conducted by many offices at RIC to determine students' level of engagement and satisfaction with aspects of college life outside the classroom.
- National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
- Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshman Survey.
- Student Census Survey
- Grad Fest survey
- Graduate Placement Survey
- Educational Benchmarking Institute Student Employee Survey
- Residential Life Quality of Life Survey
- LGBT Campus Climate Survey
- Dining Services Satisfaction Survey
- Health Services Patient Survey
- Disability Services Client Survey
Tentative Schedule of Assessments
Program Assessment: departments review their prior-year reports
COGE reviews AAC&U team plan
Health Services Patient Survey (ongoing, year-round)
Graduate placement survey administered
(CIRP) Freshman Survey data available to IR
Program Assessment: departments gather and analyze data
Student Census Survey administered (alternate years with NSSE)
NSSE administered (alternate years with Student Census Survey)
Grad Fest survey administered
Program Assessment: departments submit reports to CASO
(CIRP) Freshman Survey Administered
At RIC, an updated General Education program was launched in the Fall 2012 semester. Plans for assessing that program began before that first term started and continue to evolve.
General Education Outcomes
1. Written Communication
Students will understand the different purposes of writing and employ the conventions of writing in their major fields. Students will produce writing that is well organized, supported by evidence, demonstrates correct usage of grammar and terminology, and is appropriate to the academic context.
2. Critical and Creative Thinking
Students will be able to analyze and interpret information from multiple perspectives, question assumptions and conclusions, and understand the impact of biases, including their own, on thinking and learning.
3. Research Fluency
Students will demonstrate the ability to access, understand, evaluate, and ethically use information to address a wide range of goals or problems.
4. Oral Communication
Students will learn to speak in a clearly expressed, purposeful, and carefully organized way that engages and connects with their audience.
5. Collaborative Work
Students will learn to interact appropriately as part of a team to design and implement a strategy to achieve a team goal and to evaluate the process.
Students will demonstrate through performance, creation, or analysis an ability to interpret and explain the arts from personal, aesthetic, cultural, and historical perspectives.
7. Civic Knowledge
Students will gain knowledge of social and political systems and of how civic engagement can change the environment in which we live.
8. Ethical Reasoning
Students will demonstrate an understanding of their own ethical values, other ethical traditions from diverse places and times, and the process of determining ethical practice.
9. Global Understanding
Students will analyze and understand the social, historical, political, religious, economic, and cultural conditions that shape individuals, groups, and nations and the relationships among them across time.
10. Quantitative Literacy
Students will demonstrate the ability to: (1) interpret and evaluate numerical and visual statistics; (2) develop models that can be solved by appropriate mathematical methods; and (3) create arguments supported by quantitative evidence and communicate them in writing and through numerical and visual displays of data including words, tables, graphs, and equations.
11. Scientific Literacy
Students will understand how scientific knowledge is uncovered through the empirical testing of hypotheses; be familiar with how data is analyzed, scientific models are made, theories are generated, and practical scientific problems are approached and solved; have the capacity to be informed about scientific matters as they pertain to living in this complex world; be able to communicate scientific knowledge through speaking and writing.
What New Faculty Need to Know About Assessment
As a new faculty member, you will have questions about your students' learning-as all thoughtful teachers do: Are they really learning what I'm teaching? How well do they understand the key concepts I'm focusing on? Can they apply what they're learning in new contexts? What can I do better or differently to help students develop the skills and knowledge they need to be effective in this class, in subsequent courses, and in their future life and work?
Update coming soon!
Research shows that higher education faculty members spend the majority of their time teaching, so it is important to know whether students are learning what is taught. Program assessment gathers and evaluates data which can be used to answer this question.
At RIC, programs are free to determine their learning outcomes and the means to assess the extent to which students achieve these outcomes. The outcomes are published in the online version of the College catalog, and faculty members are encouraged to make the outcomes explicit on their syllabi.
The assessments can take the form of embedded course assignments (which are rated outside of the class context). Alternately, the assessments can take the form of tests or surveys which are administered to students independently of classes.
Assessments are administered and rated by departments annually, and submitted to CASO at the end of each academic year. Usually, departments assess only a subset of their learning goals each year.
Occasionally, faculty attend workshops and institutes offered by the New England Educational Assessment Network to learn more about how to improve their program assessments.
The mission of the Committee on Assessing Student Outcomes (CASO) is to identify and evaluate the measures used to assess achievement of college-wide learning goals, which are derived from General Education’s Learning Outcomes statement, the College Mission and Vision, and the College Strategic Plan. CASO, which reports to the Provost, oversees assessment of curricular learning outcomes, while assessment of co-curricular outcomes falls under the purview of the Vice President for Student Success. Each academic program has its own assessment plan, on which it reports annually to the College’s assessment coordinator. Assessment of General Education learning outcomes is a coordinated effort between the Committee on General Education (COGE) and CASO.
Assessment is closely connected to accreditation. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), for example, has for two decades included assessment of student learning and program effectiveness among its expectations. In addition, individual programs that are accredited by national accrediting bodies must meet learning outcome standards required by organizations such as the Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Schools of Art and Design, National Association of Schools of Music, National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification, National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Credentialing Commission on Nursing Education. CASO offers support and guidance in the accreditation process.