"Assessment" in the State of Missouri became widespread after
the mid 1980's based on the "Value Added" program of Northeast
Missouri State University (now called Truman State University) in Kirksville,
MO. It was originally intended "to reliably evaluate the quality of
educational training." (see http://www.jstor.org/view/01623737/ap040036/04a00050/0).
When the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Missouri -
Columbia finally felt compelled to join this bandwagon, they interpreted
it as an assessment of student outcomes. Thus they gave the "Major
Field Achievement Test" to graduating majors.
It was the late 1990's when the Biology Department at Saint Louis University
started to discuss in earnest pressure from the administration for assessment.
The policy SLU's Biology Department adopted April, 1998, was built around
having majors take the Graduate Record Exam. In the subsequent two and a
half years, the SLU administration did not obtain data from that adopted
policy. Instead, on September 21, 2000, "each faculty member"
was charged to "develop an outcome assessment tool." Even at this
time, the interpretation was one of "student outcomes assessment."
I started assessing each course I taught with the best possible interpretation
I could make of what was expected. Everything is on line (http://starklab.slu.edu/CV/Assessment.htm).
In the Biology Department, in December 2002, "course assessment"
was instituted, and faculty were directed to report how the information
collected would be used to change or improve the course. In the Fall of
2004, the new A & S Dean, J. Michael Sproule, endorsed and further refined
this latter model by suggesting that the only information that should be
collected would be targeted to determining course changes.
This page last revised on January 3, 2007
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