Embedded Assessment - Getting Started

Getting Started with General Education Embedded Assessment at UW-Green Bay

THANK YOU for participating in the assessment of general education at UW-Green Bay.

Ongoing review of the general education program is part of UW-Green Bay's institutional assessment plan.  It is one of the conditions of UW-Green Bay’s reaccreditation by the North Central Association (NCA).  Such assessment is viewed by the NCA as a necessary tool for guiding change in the teaching and learning environment.  The GEC has responsibility for conducting the assessment.  Your participation is needed in two ways.

We encourage you to participate in an embedded assessment of learning outcomes for your GEC courses.  Embedded assessment is one of three important methods used by the GEC to gather information on the general education program and its effectiveness.  To ensure that faculty members are not overwhelmed, the GEC has established a four-year, rotating learning outcomes review cycle into which all general education courses -- including yours! -- fit.

Embedded Assessment Process

  1. Your general education courses are matched to the appropriate general education learning outcome either by their relationship to the general education curriculum, or by your identified match between your courses and the outcomes selected on the Learning Outcomes sheet.
    List of UW-Green Bay's general education learning outcomes.
  2. The Associate Dean and Chair of the GEC contacts the faculty members who are teaching the general education courses to be assessed in any given semester, according to the learning outcomes review cycle established by the GEC.
    The learning outcomes review cycle.
  3. Faculty members are asked to select an existing assignment or learning activity in the focal course that aligns with the general education learning outcome to be assessed.
    What kind of assignment or activity should you choose?  Choose one that aligns with the general education learning outcome to be assessed, and for which individual students receive grades (or other feedback).  Any assignment that you might typically grade will lend itself to embedded assessment: essay or multiple-choice exam, presentation, term paper, lab report, etc.  The clearer the evaluation criteria used for grading a given assignment or activity, the easier it is to use the assignment or activity for embedded assessment purposes.  Still not sure what might work best given the array of assignments/activities in your class?  Feel free to contact the Coordinator for ideas.
  4. Faculty members are asked to develop a four-point performance rating scale against which students' performance will be evaluated. 
    How does one develop a performance rating scale? 
    Examples of performance rating scales developed by faculty at UW-Green Bay and at other institutions.
  5. Faculty members are asked to complete a form describing the assignment or activity chosen for assessment, the performance rating scale developed by the faculty member, and the results of the assessment (i.e., how many students performed at the various achievement levels).  The form is usually submitted to the Coordinator near the end of the semester, or soon after the semester concludes, since most faculty members choose to assess course assignments or activities that are completed by the students near the end of the course.
    Form that faculty participants will need to complete and submit to behalf of the GEC.
  6. The GEC reviews the information gathered through the embedded assessment process via an annual report prepared by Testing Services.

Stuff to Know

  1. As a faculty participant, you are not expected to become "an assessment expert" -- unless, of course, you want to be one.
  2. You will not be asked to allocate a lot of time to this assessment process.
  3. The information you submit will not be used to evaluate individual faculty performance in any way, positive or negative.
  4. Faculty members who piloted the assessment process in 1999 felt that it was a straightforward process that also had the benefit of helping them better conceptualize learning outcomes for their courses.  Faculty members who shared their performance rating scales with their students said that the rating scales enhanced their communication of evaluation criteria (when the scales were distributed in advance of an assignment), and their communication of feedback (when the scales were distributed in advance of an assignment or along with a graded assignment).
  5. You do not need to develop a new assignment. One of the main advantages associated with this approach to Gen Ed assessment is that it uses existing assignments.  Of course, you may decide that you want to develop a new assignment, or modify an existing assignment, because you think the new/modified assignment would better serve your goals -- but it's not necessary to do so for assessment purposes.
  6. You do not need to use an essay or other written assignment. Multiple-choice exams can be used. The process is a bit different, though the outcome is essentially the same whether one uses written assignments (e.g., essays, papers, lab reports) or multiple-choice exams. If you would like to use a multiple-choice exam for this assessment process, please call 465-2221 for directions on how to do so. It's no more or less challenging than using written assignments.
  7. While you need to pick one assignment (e.g., paper, exam, report) for this assessment process, the assignment need not relate to all of your course's objectives. Some folks worry that they need to use an assignment that relates to all of their course's objectives (outcomes), because "everything in their course relates to a particular General Education outcome (e.g., 4, 5, etc.). While it's entirely possible that you have one assignment that relates to all of your course learning outcomes, for most folks this will not be the case. Please don't feel that you need to invent such an assignment. For reporting purposes, simply identify the course learning objectives (outcomes) that the assignment assesses, along with the General Education learning outcome assessed.
  8. The Coordinator of Testing Services is available to assist with all aspects of the embedded assessment process.