Apr 13, 2010

Students invest in Assessment Day

by bby Armbruster News Reporter Class and Convocation

Class and Convocation will be canceled on Wed., April 14, for Assessment Day. For the second consecutive year, all students must partake in surveys and focus groups, as planned by the departments of Liberty University.

The idea behind Assessment Day is “to obtain information to improve the quality of education at all levels being offered at Liberty University and to demonstrate how Liberty reviews itself for purposes of SACS reaccredidation compliance,” according to the Center for University Excellence.

Some departments will look to their senior students to provide in-depth answers about their education at Liberty.

“Exit interviews with seniors can have a significant impact on things like future course offerings and even the development of new minors and majors,” Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Joe Crider said.

Assessment Day also improves the curriculum, instructional practices and student services on campus, according to the Center for University Excellence.

The assessments can help teachers and departments decide which classes to offer and how the courses should be taught.

“Hopefully, we will use it to gauge the preparedness of our students, as well as the strength and weaknesses of our programs and in some cases of individual courses,” Dean of Communications William Gribbin said. “The value of assessment lies in what we do with the results. What we learn will impact the courses we offer, the way we teach them and the changes needed to improve them.”

Some departments use focus groups to improve their program, while others will rely on test and phone interviews.

“Through various forms of assessment, like exit interviews, focus groups, national standardized tests, surveys and other tools, departments glean a lot of information that will hopefully result in an always-improving educational product for Liberty students,” Crider said.

Bruce Bell, the Dean of the School of Business, said tests are given to each specialization offered in the business school, with both pre-test and post-test material.

“Analyzing the results of those assessments will help each department adjust the teaching in specific courses if it is determined that essential learning outcomes are not being achieved,” Bell said.

Some students from the business school will be chosen for a focus group to find more in-depth answers as to how to improve the department’s class offerings.

“The result of all this assessment will be continuous improvement of the school and the faculty and will provide for the most fulfilling, challenging and rewarding experiences for our students,” Bell said.

Crider said student participation is essential to Assessment Day in more ways than one.

“The more students that participate, the more the departments and the university as a whole, will get a better, clearer picture of areas that are effective and areas that need improving,” Crider said.

In addition to helping the programs at Liberty grow stronger, improvements to the school aid in students’ degrees received from Liberty.

“The institution that grants a degree to a student stays with the student all of their lives: on resumes, official documents and applications. If Liberty is a stronger university in the years to come because of constant improvements and developments through things like effective assessment, then all of the students who have graduated from this institution benefit,” Crider said.

All students should participate as much as they can, according to Crider.

“When students invest in Assessment Day, they are really investing in the reputation and quality of their degree. Assessment Day is really a win for everyone,” Crider said.
The annual Assessment Day for all students began last year and testing for senior students began in 2008. Information about location and time schedules during Assessment Day will be sent to students by each department.

Contact Abby Armbruster at

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