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‘Data Point Project’ Improves Student Learning Assessment and Ensures High Quality Education

Assessing student learning is a difficult assignment but one that West Liberty University takes seriously. After joining the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) Assessment of Student Learning Academy four years ago, WLU has received favorable comments on its assessment work.

From left (seated) Jeremy Larance, Donna Lukich, Paula Tomasik, (standing) Peter Staffe, Ryan McCullough, Robert Kruse and Steven Criniti.

From left (seated) Jeremy Larance, Donna Lukich, Paula Tomasik, (standing) Peter Staffe, Ryan McCullough, Robert Kruse and Steven Criniti.

The team responsible for leading the effort of student assessment improvement includes faculty: Dr. Stephen Criniti, Dr. Robert Kruse, Dr. Jeremy Larance, Dr. Donna Lukich, Dr. Ryan McCullough, Dr. Peter Staffel and team leader Paula Tomasik, WLU director of Institutional Research and Assessment.

“We have long believed that we are offering a high quality education here at West Liberty; however, in the current climate, the demand for accountability from educational institutions is increasing. As a result, it has become even more important for us to demonstrate the high quality work we do here,” explained Criniti, professor of English.

“But perhaps even more important is the idea that our work in the area of assessment can only help us continue to increase the quality of our offerings. It allows us to make more informed decisions about the future direction of our programs and curricula. As a result, this important work helps us to improve the quality of our offerings for all of our current and future students,” he said.

Working closely with faculty and administration, the team created a plan, the Data Point Project, to assess students’ general studies skills like oral communications, critical thinking and writing, through the development of rubrics.

An assessment consultant, Dr. Susan Hatfield, visited WLU in late September 2013 to conduct what is known as a “results visit” and met with the WLU assessment team to evaluate their effort. Hatfield’s comments were favorable.

“Dr. Hatfield’s initial comments were highly favorable and she congratulated us on a very successful project,” Tomasik said.