As an assessment practitioner, I know how important it is to balance research-based assessment processes with flexibility and collaboration among your institutional teams. I say processes plural because your institution likely has multiple programs with specific requirements for program review, accreditation and continuous improvement that require different ways to collect data. And at the same time, your Provost’s Office and Offices of Institutional Effectiveness need to report on student learning outcomes as it aligns with resource allocation, and financial sustainability for the Board, and accreditation bodies.
In early September 2021, HelioCampus, a comprehensive technology solution for decision-support and benchmarking, and AEFIS, an assessment management platform, joined forces to help usher in a new era of institutional effectiveness that brings together data from disparate systems into one unified platform.
At HelioCampus, we believe that collecting the data from which you need to make meaningful decisions should be easy, efficient and most importantly accessible via your preferred pathways. That’s why programmatic assessment and student learning outcome assessment can be done simultaneously through the AEFIS platform, because we know that one size does not fit all in higher ed. We also know preferred methodologies and approaches vary by department, programmatic accreditor, and leadership decision-making. In addition, students need to see their own outcomes and achievements to better understand what they are learning, what their areas for improvement are and where their strengths lie.
Rather than needing to invest in multiple assessment platforms, AEFIS accommodates a broad array of assessment best practices and methodologies such as: competency-focused assessment, formative assessment to trigger interventions, portfolio-based assessment to ascertain student growth and reflective practice and student learning outcomes assessment for regional self studies and continuous improvement initiatives.
We believe that technology should enable all of these functions and processes important to you and your stakeholders as the 4 Essentials for Assessment Success.
1. Connecting your LMS direct assessment data to your curriculum maps.Through a simple set up, AEFIS makes the connection between your learning management system and the AEFIS platform. This certified process using the Learning Tools Interoperability standard enables data from student outcomes in courses and co-curricular activities to link to your curriculum maps in AEFIS, providing robust reporting options for internal and external reviews.
2. Enabling multiple pathways to gather data on student learning outcomes assessment.
- Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) assessment, program assessment and annual assessment planning and reporting are all achievable through the flexible AEFIS platform. You shouldn’t have to invest in multiple assessment products to address multiple use cases across your institution.
- Program directors can collect and report on outcomes for their accreditation and self study to inform improvement.
- Institutional leaders can perform SLO assessment through a forms and workflow process or through customized templates for program review.
- Student Affairs practitioners can map badges to their curriculum maps and enable these achievements, student artifacts and outcomes to flow into a Comprehensive Learner Record, which serves as a verifiable skills platform shareable to employers and other stakeholders.
- Students as consumers need to know what they're getting out of their educational investment
We believe that all of these assessment methodologies are critical to have in one platform as they provide the most unified view of student learning, skills acquisition and ultimately success. And these processes can be happening at the same time, without duplication of efforts because the AEFIS platform is integrated and unified.
3. Collecting data and workflow engines within a unified assessment platform.
There is so much information to gather across campuses and different owners of these data points. Also we realize that your stakeholders are diverse and require individual pathways and processes to share data for different purposes. The AEFIS platform includes customizable forms and workflows for annual assessment planning and reporting allowing you to digitize your current processes and enhance them for your community’s contribution to your assessment efforts. If you have a process, there’s an automated workflow for that, enabling easy submission and approval of information. And your forms are your forms. We just digitize them inside the platform enabling you to automate reminders. Since we are integrating with your single-sign on, your faculty and staff can access their forms through one link in their email or through their action items pane on their dashboard accessible through their LMS.
4. Automatically presenting achievements and original work back to learners as portfolio items.
Through your intentional curriculum mapping and outcomes alignment using the AEFIS platform, students can leverage their own evidence of learning linked to outcomes— making explicit what they have learned and what they can do. This helps learners articulate their achievements to employers by curating and presenting individual portfolios from the same data you’re collecting for accreditation and improvement. This provides a clear understanding of the impact and value of academic and co-curricular experiences at your institution back to students, prospective students and alumni. Imagine sharing these capabilities with parents at your next admitted students day?
These 4 Essentials for Assessment Success serves as a framework for an institution to consider when reviewing what assessment technology solutions you have on your campus and if they provide the flexibility and comprehensiveness you need today. These Essentials are a great starting point to communicate with your campus community about what is possible in one unified assessment platform to help you achieve your near term goals and long- term student success.
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