Assessment

How do undergraduates experience the learning environment and broader campus climate at U-M? Of course, teachers regularly gather information about such questions from their direct interactions with students. The campus-wide UMAY survey offers a broader, systematic way of collecting and tracking student perceptions about their learning and their more general experience of U-M. In this post, guest blogger Karen Zaruba of the Office of Budget & Planning describes some of the rich findings generated by the survey and highlights reasons you might encourage your students to complete it.   

Have you heard about the University of Michigan Asks You (UMAY) survey? Just as important:  Have your students heard about it?

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the UMAY survey is the university’s annual effort to learn more about the undergraduate experience on our campus. Each spring, we invite all undergrads (regardless of class year) to respond.  We want to know how they are doing as students, and how we are doing as an institution. 

The survey questions cover a lot of ground: self-assessment of skills and growth since enrolling, perceptions of climate, use of time, academic engagement, and goals. Students report on their satisfaction with their experience in the classroom, academic department, and on campus overall, including their participation in research, study abroad, internships, service learning, and other high-impact learning activities. There are over 600 items in all (though no student has to answer all of them: some questions are randomly assigned). This broad range of items enables us to assess program effectiveness, benchmark with other universities, and gather unique insights about students' experiences.

To get a flavor of the kinds of things we can learn, here are some findings from the 2013 UMAY survey:

  • 86% of students report that faculty provide prompt and useful feedback on student work.
  • The majority of U-M students complete at least half of their assigned reading. However, there are differences by gender: 79% of female students do, while just 68% of male students report the same.
  • 43% of students said they chose their major in part because it provides international opportunities.
  • 65% of students agree that they have trouble remaining focused on academic work due to personal use of technology. However, those students who never bring a laptop or tablet to class do better: just 53% agree.
  • First-generation college students are more than twice as likely as others to report that family responsibilities are a frequent obstacle to their academic success.
  • By senior year, LSA student report their greatest gains in understanding a particular field of study, understanding international perspectives, and research skills. They report the lowest gains in quantitative skills, speaking skills, and fine arts appreciation.
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The AACU rubric, listed first below, is a framework to think about the knowledge, skills and perceptions or attitudes that are changed through international experience.  The next four tools are survey instruments to measure specific knowledge, perceptions, and skills.  These latter vary in what they target, although all involve self-report.  The last link includes some survey tools but toolkits for members of groups to work together on identifying the differences among them. Read more »

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The links in this section provide guidance about data sources available for measurement of student learning for assessment or research.


Key Definitions & Frameworks

Data sources that are useful to consider in assessing student learning are:

  1. Evidence of learning outcomes

    Direct measures of learning

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The links in this section provide guidance for faculty who are undertaking curriculum design or revision.


Key Definitions & Frameworks

Click on the terms below to read more. Read more »

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Provost Martha Pollack's Statement on Assessment

 
In the past several years, there has been a great deal of national discussion about the assessment of student learning in higher education. Students, their parents, public officials, and others have posed questions about the value of higher education, focusing particularly on the value added at the individual level. It is important to consider the contributions higher education makes to society as well. The University of Michigan is committed to continually improving the learning environment for our students and faculty. The University also participates in national efforts to develop effective tools for assessing student learning.
 
This University of Michigan website on the assessment of student learning provides information about assessment and evaluation activities ranging from macro-level data about student experiences to departmental materials used in select, individual courses. I hope you will find the resources available here to be useful.

 

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