Kent State University
Comments responding to the five statements defining the components of an assessment plan presented on page 21 of the NCA A Guide to Self-Study for Commission Evaluation, 1992-93 form the structure for this section.
(1) The plan is linked to the mission, goals, and objectives of the institution.
A new statement of Kent Institutional Characteristics (KICs) currently under development specifies an assessment component (See Self-Study Manual, pages 2 through 7). As an institution of higher learning, Kent State University is committed to student academic progress. All the measures inventoried above permit evaluation of that mission. Earlier mission statements spoke directly to student support services evaluated by student and alumni satisfaction surveys. The history reported above of assessment activities at Kent State University demonstrates a consistent and continued effort to gather data that is subsequently used by faculty and administrators to assist decision making. Further, Annual Planning Reports done by all units, academic and non-academic alike, are the source for decisions that influence future directions. Reviews by the Liberal Education Requirements Curriculum Committee (LERCC), the recent curricular moratorium to provide time to reflect and review curriculum in order to bring better focus to offerings, and program reviews conducted in the mid-80s all attest to Kent's assessment efforts and to the systematic use of such results by th
(2) The plan is carefully articulated and is institution-wide in conceptualization and scope.
The inventory given above shows the multi-level approach to assessment being taken at Kent State University. The Director of the Office of Academic Assessment and Evaluation Services has met with all college deans in regards to the planning process for assessment. An inventory of all assessment activities is maintained by that Office, and fiscal support for assessment test costs is provided to departments through that office. The intent of the process is to have faculty at the instructional-delivery level determine appropriate assessment indicators based on program objectives for different delivery approaches (lecture, lab, studio, etc.) Institution-wide efforts, such as the assessment of the Liberal Education Requirements is determined by the LERCC, a committee composed of representatives from each collegial unit, the Chairs and Directors Council, and a liaison from the Faculty Senate. Any changes in that program must go through the normal process for curricular change (See Guidelines for the Preparation of
(3) The plan leads to institutional improvement.
The following are two examples of how assessment has already led to institutional improvement.
The January 1988 review of the Liberal Education Requirements led directly to shifts in funding for humanities and fine arts courses, as well as more adequate permanent funding for courses offered in the LER. This change was based on widespread dissatisfaction over limited course availability.
Kent's retention rate has improved as a result of being able to identify high-risk students at early stages. Programs have been implemented for minority students (STARS (Dorsey), African-American Orientation Program (Crosby]), for undeclared students (advising in New Student Orientation), for high-risk students (Supplemental Instruction programs to teach basic study skills in Biology and Sociology, and for high ability students (Honors College). Faculty members, working with their Chairs, have been instrumental in developing and conducting these programs; unfortunately, funding for Supplemental Instruction in biology was among the budget cuts.
(4) The plan is being implemented according to a timeline.
Kent's initiation of assessment of student academic achievement started well before its awareness of NCA's formal and public efforts on the matter. The history above attests to this. The highly appreciated efforts of NCA have provided incentives for improving and institutionalizing our outcomes assessment program. The Office of Academic Assessment and Evaluation Services is implementing the multi-year five-phase plan described above that deals with (1) planning/start up: July 1989 - July 1990, (2) implementation process: July 1990 - July 1991, (3) acceptance/utilization of assessment data: July 1991 - July 1992, (4) evaluation of the quality of the assessment system: July 1992 - July 1993, and (5) focus on collective effort: July 1993 - July 1995. This formal plan is a section from the document entitled "The Multi-Year Agenda: A Five-Year Development Plan for the Office of Academic Assessment and Evaluation Services at Kent State University." It is available from that office and is on file in the NC
(5) The plan is administered.
Assessment activities are the ultimate responsibility of the Office of the Provost. As noted, direct administration for assessment activities is offered through the Office of Academic Assessment and Evaluation Services as well as the Office of Resource Analysis and Planning. Primary responsibility rests with the Director of AAES, the Associate Vice President with responsibility for curriculum and instruction, and the Director of Resource Analysis and Planning. The Director of RAP reports to the Vice President for Business and Finance, a relationship that assures attention is given to assessment of non-academic areas and programs.
Assessment is also administered at various levels of the University through other procedures having to do with promotion, tenure, merit, and faculty and curricular development. These processes are primarily the responsibility of the collegial and departmental faculty and administrators. Assessment also occurs with student evaluation (Kent has a formal and required program of student evaluation of teaching), peer evaluation, administrative evaluation of faculty, program reviews, and feedback from institutional data.