Assessment Task Force (ATF)
Position on Assessment
At Carnegie Mellon, we live in an environment where assessment is an integral part of everyday activity. It takes place continually and on many levels – course, program, department and school. It takes many forms – formal and informal, summative and formative, qualitative and quantitative, standardized and customized. Our students are assessed by various constituents – instructors in a course, faculty across the department, peers, and audiences made up of the general public. We are data-driven at our core, and actively seek out authentic and meaningful ways to assess our students and our programs. We approach assessment from a data-centric rather than a tool-centric position, our choice of methods guided by questions such as:
What will this process tell me about my students’ knowledge, skills and growth?
What will I learn about the strengths and weaknesses of our program?
What information will this give me on how to improve my teaching or our program?
These kinds of questions help to ensure that our assessment practices align with our curricular goals, and provide useful and usable feedback.
At the request of the Provost, a committee representing all colleges has been created for a period of three years with three general framing questions in mind:
What is the current state of assessment of learning outcomes across the entire campus, at the department/school level?
What facilitates or hampers engaging in assessment activities at the department/school level?
What is the future of assessment practice on campus?
This report reviews the progress and findings to date of the Assessment Task Force (ATF) in its first six months (January-June 2008). Section I highlights the project context, goals, and the key activities of the task force. Section II highlights the key findings, impediments and enablers of assessment, the key conclusions we have derived from this initial effort, and some preliminary recommendations for the future.
ATF Committee Members
Dr. Susan Ambrose, Associate Provost for Education / Director, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence / Teaching Professor, Department of History
Dr. Brian Junker, Professor, Department of Statistics
College of Fine Arts
John Carson, Department Head, School of Art
David Boevers, Associate Professor, School of Drama
Clayton Merrell, Associate Head / Professor, School of Art (former committee member)
Carnegie Institute of Technology
Dr. Paul Steif, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Lynn Walker, Professor, Chemical Engineering
H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management
Dr. Lowell Taylor, Professor of Economics and Public Policy
Dr. George Duncan, Professor of Statistics (former committee member)
Humanities and Social Sciences
Dr. Richard Scheines, Department Head / Professor, Department of Philosophy
Mellon College of Science
Dr. Gordon Rule, Professor, Biological Sciences
Dr. Karen Stump, Director of Undergraduate Studies / Teaching Professor, Department of Chemistry
School of Computer Science
Dr. Klaus Sutner, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs / Teaching Professor
Dr. Steve Brookes, Professor
Tepper School of Business
Dr. Mark Fichman, Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory
Dr. Milton Cofield, Associate Teaching Professor of Business Management / Executive Director of the BS in Business Administration
Dr. Anne Fay, Director of Assessment, Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence and Office of Technology for Education
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