Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Course Embedded Assessment and Assurance of Learning: Examples in Business Disciplines

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Course Embedded Assessment and Assurance of Learning: Examples in Business Disciplines

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Accrediting bodies, including AACSB, have aggressive standards that require universities to assess student learning. Many institutions initially responded by developing multiple measure plans that assess general satisfaction of instruction within a major, student performance on a nationally normed business knowledge exams, and curriculum content and coverage through the use of focus or stakeholder groups. Unfortunately, these multiple measure plans do not adequately assess student learning goals specific to the university's program, nor do they provide direct information that would help a faculty member improve student learning in his or her course. Because of these drawbacks, many universities are now turning to Course Embedded Assessment (CEA) as their primary method to assess student learning. AACSB standards specifically identify course-embedded measurement of student learning as one of three approaches that can be used to achieve their Assurance of Learning Standards. This paper describes the Course-Embedded Assessment process and provides examples of how it can be used to assess student learning in business disciplines.

INTRODUCTION

"Most people think of assessment as a large-scale testing program conducted at institutional or state levels to determine what students have learned in college ... I believe that we should be giving more attention to small-scale assessments conducted continuously in college classrooms by discipline-based teachers to determine what students are learning in that class." (Cross, 1998)

Because of accrediting agency requirements for assessment plans, most schools have responded by developing plans that assess student achievement and satisfaction on a macro level. These are generally referred to as outcomes assessment measures (Herring and Izard, 1992) and involve using standardized tests and focus groups. However, these plans do not adequately assess student learning goals specific to the university's program, nor do they provide information that would help a faculty member improve student learning in his or her course. "Course-embedded assessment may have strong appeal to faculty who want to engage in a systematic way of reflecting on the relationship between teaching and learning." (Ammons and Mills, 2005)

The AASCB accreditation standards propose using CEA assessment as a means of directly measuring learning goals. In the AACSB Eligibility Procedures and Accreditation Standards for Business Accreditation, the Approaches to Assurance of Learning section explains the use of CEA in assessment. "Required courses may expose students to systematic learning experiences designed to produce graduates with the particular knowledge or abilities specified in the school's learning goals. In such cases, the school can establish assessments within the required courses for those learning goals. ...The course-embedded measurements must be constructed to demonstrate whether students achieve the school's learning goals." Furthermore, the review process itself will involve examining the school's processes "to see that the information from the course-embedded measurements inform the school's management processes and lead to improvement efforts." (AACSB, 2006)

This paper defines CEA, describes and provides examples of its implementation at both course and program levels, and discusses how a comprehensive implementation at the course and program levels can provide significant assessment information about student learning for both continuous improvement and accreditation purposes.

WHAT IS CEA?

CEA is the process of using artifacts generated through classroom activities to assess achievement of student learning objectives. It builds on the daily work (assignments, tests, projects, etc.) of students and faculty members. Gerretson and Golson point out that the advantage of assessment at the classroom level is that it "uses instructor grading to answer questions about students learning outcomes in a nonintrusive, systematic manner. …

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