Assessment of student learning at Lake Superior State University encompasses the total student learning experience, in the classroom and beyond.
- Academic assessment is an ongoing, open, evaluative process focused on improving student learning. To accomplish that goal, the University ensures that learning expectations are made clear to students and establishes appropriate learning outcomes at the course, program and university levels. Assessment is essential to determine how well student performance matches the expected outcomes, and the resulting information is used to inform changes in courses and programs for the improvement of student learning.
- Cocurricular assessment is equally focused on using ongoing evaluative processes to support and improve student learning. Cocurricular assessments are conducted annually through programs and events sponsored by Student Affairs, such as the Laker Success program that provides student success coaching within dorms and to commuter students. Academic Services conducts cocurricular assessment for tutoring, supplemental instruction, and library instruction on academic integrity and information literacy. Cocurricular assessment provides data to inform and make changes for the improvement of services and student learning.
- Operational support assessment is an ongoing, open, evaluative process focused on improving university culture and services. It requires the University to make its service and cultural expectations clear to its stakeholders, and establishes appropriate outcomes at each level of operation. It helps determine how well performance matches the expected outcomes, and the resulting information is used to inform changes at the unit and university levels for the improvement of the total student learning experience.
Lake Superior State University’s Institutional Learning Outcomes
The Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) at LSSU describe the knowledge, abilities, and attitudes that our graduates are expected to acquire prior to graduation, as a result of their overall experiences with any aspect of the University. The ILOs were written by faculty and adopted by approval from the Board of Trustees on November 3, 2017. These outcomes help guide University departments in constructing ILO-connected student learning outcomes for programs, courses, and student services. Annual assessment of those ILO-connected outcomes occurs within departments. Institution-wide direct assessment of the ILOs is conducted annually in capstone courses, among student workers and student athletes, and through extracurricular activities. These annual assessments evaluate students’ development and achievement of these outcomes at multiple touchpoints throughout their years spent at LSSU:
Formal Communication – Students will develop and clearly express complex ideas in written and oral presentations.
Use of Evidence – Students will identify the need for, gather, and accurately process the appropriate type, quality, and quantity of evidence to answer a complex question or solve a complex problem.
Analysis and Synthesis – Students will organize and synthesize evidence, ideas, or works of imagination to answer an open-ended question, draw a conclusion, achieve a goal, or create a substantial work of art.
Professional Responsibility – Students will demonstrate the ability to apply professional ethics and intercultural competence when answering a question, solving a problem, or achieving a goal.
Curricular, cocurricular, and operation areas report assessment data and track data-driven action plans in Nuventive Improve™.
Faculty and Administrator log in to the Nuventive Improve™ system through this link:
Course level and Program level assessments are reported annually in Nuventive Improve™ and used to facilitate ongoing improvements to academic programs, academic services, and other student services across campus. Additional assessments in cocurricular, extracurricular, and administrative areas are also conducted to promote and facilitate a culture of continuous improvement at Lake Superior State University.
In 2015, surveys gathered input from faculty and staff to gauge campus-wide perceptions of assessment practices and value at LSSU. This information helped focus LSSU’s efforts to improve assessment practices across campus, and to more effectively concentrate those efforts on using assessment to drive continuing improvements in student learning, student services, and across the University. The survey was re-issued with minor modifications in 2020 to evaluate changes in campus-wide perceptions of assessment practices and value at LSSU. Among faculty, the 2020 survey results showed increasing assessment and quality of assessment of student learning overall among faculty, increasing commitment to learning assessment among faculty, increasing effectiveness of assessment methods among faculty, and increasing impact of assessment on courses and programs. Among staff, the 2020 survey results showed increasing commitment to assessment as a means of directing decisions and improvements within departments, and a perception that assessment is increasingly relevant to how individuals perform in the workplace.
From 2012-2016, the University demonstrated its student-learning focus through its voluntary participation in the HLC Academy for Assessment of Student Learning. Through this process, the University strengthened learning-centered course and program assessment activities through a four-year sequence of events and interactions. Those activities successfully targeted and advanced the institution’s efforts to assess and improve student learning, and amplified the institution-wide commitment to productive assessment of student learning that is now firmly ingrained at LSSU.