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Closing the Assessment Loop

Because the accountability drums have been beating for well over ten years, most institutions are now collecting data on student performance toward mastery of learning outcomes. The question today is whether or not this data is actually being used to drive improvements in curriculum and instruction. The step of analyzing collected data, diagnosing gaps that need attention, and relating results back to student performance is referred to as closing the loop.

At Pearson eCollege we’ve been working with institutions for over three years on technology enhanced outcome management and how it can help educators make the shift from a teaching to a learning paradigm. We’re tackling issues like which metrics provide the best data for academic leaders as they work to improve student mastery of outcomes or how to document discussions that take place to support the assessment of student learning.

Clearly there isn’t a single right answer but it’s important that campus leaders participate vigorously in the debate on these issues. A common problem we find, in fact we’ve struggled with it ourselves, is that we get paralyzed by trying to achieve perfection before initiating a new process which only delays the iterative nature of continuous improvement.

The Pearson eCollege Assessment and Analytics Consultants will be hosting a workshop at the Pearson Cite conference next week in Denver on how to “close the loop”. We’d love to hear your comments or thoughts about additional key questions we should be considering and invite you to join us if you’re attending the conference.

Brian Epp | Assessment & Analytics Group Manager - Academic Training & Consulting | Pearson eCollege

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