Southeast Joins AAC&U’s VALUE Institute to Enhance Academic Assessment

This month, Southeast Missouri State University will join the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) Institute.

VALUE is an approach to assessing student learning that draws evidence from actual learning artifacts, such as papers and assignments, produced by students demonstrating their achievement of specific learning outcomes versus utilizing a standardized test divorced from the curriculum.

The institute will provide important assessment data and benchmarking insights from partner institutions to inform an assessment plan for Southeast’s University Studies Program.

“This is an opportunity to pilot a new approach to assessing our University Studies Program at Southeast,” said Dr. Bethany Alden-Rivers, associate provost. “The Academic Assessment Committee has worked this year to create plans for enhancing academic assessment in several areas. We are especially enthusiastic to support faculty as they use assessment data to improve student learning and success.”

The project team from Southeast includes Alden-Rivers; Dr. Toni Alexander, chair of the Department of Modern Languages, Anthropology and Geography and interim chair of the Department of History; Beth Adkins, instructor of geography; Dr. Shawn Guiling, instructor of psychology; Dr. Missy Phegley, associate professor of English, teaching assistant supervisor and director of Composition and Assessment; Jennifer Weiss, coordinator of the Center for Writing Excellence; Laura Weiss, instructor for UI100; Laurie Overmann, instructor of mathematics and instructor for UI100; and Department of English faculty members who teach the EN140 course.

For more information or to get involved in Southeast’s academic assessment activities, email assessment@semo.edu.

The VALUE Institute

The VALUE Institute is a continuing resource for higher education institutions to document, report, and use learning outcomes evidence to improve student success in college. Developed as a partnership between the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), Indiana University’s Center for Postsecondary Research (IUCPR), the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO), and Tasktream/TK20/Livetext, the VALUE Institute enables any higher education institution to utilize the VALUE rubrics approach to assessment by collecting and uploading samples of student work to a digital repository and have the work scored by certified VALUE Institute faculty scorers for external validation of institutional learning assessment. Participating institutions receive data and reports from the tested VALUE nationwide database for benchmarking student learning.

The VALUE Institute represents a systems-level innovation that draws upon decades’ worth of fieldwork and empirical research that has shaped the VALUE rubrics’ evolution from a set of tools implemented locally on individual campuses (2008-2014) to a powerful model for inter-institutional, inter-sector, and inter-state assessments of student learning (2014-2017). With no other existing available model for this important work, the VALUE Institute is uniquely positioned to provide evidence that allows faculty, institutional leaders, accreditors, policy makers – and even students themselves – to assess and improve the levels of achievement on a set of cross-cutting competencies important for all disciplines.