Higher education institutions must demonstrate good stewardship of both the resources and students with which they have been entrusted. Legislators and the public want quick, easy-to-understand information to ensure that postsecondary institutions are indeed held responsible for achieving their missions.
Comprehensive student learning assessment should foster student learning, establish a foundation for a culture of continuous improvement, and provide ways to demonstrate accountability. These practices provide opportunities for feedback, evaluation, and enhancement of instruction and curriculum development for postsecondary administrators and educators.
The challenge for higher education in Missouri is to create a statewide assessment policy that is built upon the foundations of previous statewide efforts [e.g., Missouri Assessment Consortium (MAC), Missouri Developmental Education Consortium (MoDEC), and Missouri Consortium for Measuring Value-Added Student Learning (MVASL)] and driven by the improvement of student learning while responding to the call for accountability. A cohesive statewide assessment approach must develop a greater understanding of the scope and magnitude of assessment in Missouri; gather information on best practices, both local and national; agree upon meaningful methods and outcomes; and make appropriate policy recommendations.
Consensus on student learning assessment issues will support multiple state-level priorities and address accompanying areas of policy impact, including the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) coordinated plan, Imperatives for Change, and the SB 389-mandated Curriculum Alignment Initiative. In order to fulfill these mandates, the Commissioner of Higher Education, through the authority of the CBHE, has established Learning Assessment in Missouri Postsecondary Education (LAMP). LAMP is a voluntary group intentionally composed of a cross section of educators and administrators, including MAC members, institutional researchers, content area specialists, faculty, administrators, K-12 educators, and assessment specialists. Such a dynamic group provides opportunity for collective knowledge development and individual self-evaluation of assessment practices.
The following duties are necessary to carry out this charge:
- Perform a review of Missouri postsecondary assessments currently in use
- Perform a review of literature and professional knowledge regarding effective use of assessment of student learning for continuous improvement and for accountability
- Deliver a report to the Commissioner of Higher Education by June 1, 2009, including:
- Summary and analysis of current Missouri practices
- Review of relevant assessment research
- Policy recommendations
- Impact on existing CBHE policies
- Possible pilot projects as proof of concept
- Develop and implement a communication plan to publicize, allow feedback, and build support at the secondary and postsecondary levels concerning the development of a statewide assessment agenda.
All meetings will be advertised and open to the public.