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GEAR News

To quickly access GEAR-related news, scroll down or use the following links:

CLA/CCLA - SCBA Update June 2009 AIRPO Conference SCBA Mathematics Update
Plan Updates/CTL Reports SCBA Implementation Updates Assessment Reporting Task Force Report

GEAR Approves Pilot Use of CLA and CCLA for SCBA; Webinars Planned

In a June 30, 2009 e-mail communication to SUNY Chief Academic Officers, Campus Assessment Contacts, and the SUNY Assessment Listserv, SUNY System Assistant Provost Nancy Willie-Schiff announced that the General Education Assessment Review (GEAR) Group has recommended a one-year pilot use of the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) and the Community College Learning Assessment (CCLA) as part of Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment (SCBA). Dr. Willie-Schiff also announced that System Administration has accepted GEAR's recommendations, with one condition regarding cost-sharing within SCBA, and will be offering the CLA/CCLA pilot as a one-year SCBA option for assessing Critical Thinking during 2010-11, when the ACT CAAP in Critical Thinking is scheduled. In this way, campuses will have time to consider this new option and, if they decide to participate in the pilot, revise their General Education Assessment plans for faculty governance approval and submission to GEAR for review and approval.

According to Willie-Schiff, because System Administration's SCBA budget is fixed, and the CLA/CCLA has a higher cost than existing SCBA options for assessing Critical Thinking, it will be necessary for campuses wishing to participate in the pilot to pay a share of the CLA/CCLA costs. System Administration will provide more information on cost-sharing as soon as it is available.

Campuses interested in learning more about the CLA/CCLA should participate in webinars on these tests scheduled for July 20 and 23 at 3:00 p.m. Both webinars will be the same, and campuses are welcome to participate in one or both. More detailed information on the webinars will be sent to campuses soon. In addition, campuses are welcome to attend webinar conferences on the CLA and CCLA open to all campuses. These presentations are listed at this site.

GEAR's report on the CLA/CCLA can be accessed by clicking here, while the GEAR co-chairs' accompanying memo to Willie-Schiff can be accessed by clicking here.

June 2009 AIRPO Conference Features SUNY Assessment Program Track

The SUNY Association for Institutional Research and Planning Officers (AIRPO) held its spring conference in Buffalo at the Adams Mark Hotel from June 10-12, 2009. The host institution was Buffalo State College. At its winter conference held in White Plains in January, AIRPO for the first time invited SUNY assessment personnel to attend and participate in the program. This participation was expanded at the June 2009 event, with the program featuring a separate track devoted entirely to the assessment process.

Topics addressed in the assessment presentations included an update on the SUNY Assessment Initiative by SUNY System Assistant Provost Nancy Willie-Schiff. Other presentations focused on responding to the Middle States visit, the role of survey and qualitative data in assessing student learning, GEAR's Closing the Loop process, the Collegiate Learning Assessment, strategies for establishing a campus assessment culture, and assessing major and student affairs programs. Friday morning featured a keynote address by Middle States' Linda Suskie and a panel presentation on the Middle States accreditation process, particularly with respect to Standard 7 (Institutional Assessment) and Standard 14 (Assessment of Student Learning).

The AIRPO conference is described in more detail at this site. Dr. Willie-Schiff's presentation updating the SUNY Assessment Initiative can be accessed by clicking here.

Mathematics SCBA Update - Nationally-Normed Measure

In Fall 2008 the GEAR Group announced that, after three years of trying, it had been unable to identify a nationally-normed Mathematics test for SCBA use, primarily due to the fact that no one test adequately mapped to all five SUNY GE Mathematics outcomes. At that point, SUNY System Assistant Provost Nancy Willie-Schiff asked GEAR to develop an appropriate alternative for campuses that had indicated their intentions to use a nationally-normed test to assess SCBA Mathematics outcomes. At its November 21, 2008 meeting, GEAR approved the use of the ACT CAAP Mathematics test for the first three Mathematics outcomes on a pilot basis and submitted that recommendation along with several others to System Administration, which acccepted GEAR's recommendations.

Interested individuals can access GEAR's recommendations regarding the use of the ACT CAAP Mathematics test by clicking here.

Campus Triennial GE Assessment Plan Updates and Closing the Loop (CTL) Reports

In Fall 2007, the GEAR Group sent to campuses a memorandum calling for updates to existing campus-based General Education plans along with reports on closing-the-loop activities. Campuses for which an update is due during a particular academic year must submit that update to University Provost Risa Palm no later than March 1 of that year. Reminders will be send to campuses in January prior to their due date.

Interested individuals can access the memo from the GEAR Group by clicking here.

GEAR also created two documents intended to assist in the development of Closing the Loop (CTL) reports. One of the documents includes "GEAR Tips" in response to FAQs about the reports, while the second document is the actual form GEAR members will use in examining campuses' CTL reports.

Interested individuals can access the "GEAR Tips" by clicking here and the review form by clicking here.

SCBA Implementation Updates

SCBA Rubrics Workshops Held February 2007
During February 2007, eight regional workshops were held for SUNY faculty and staff focusing on the administration and scoring of the rubrics developed by discipline-specific panels for the General Education outcomes for Mathematics, Critical Thinking [Reasoning], and Basic Communication [Written]. The workshops consisted of three concurrent sessions, each centering on one of the student learning outcome areas. Sessions were planned and delivered by SUNY faculty, with most either GEAR members or members of the panel that developed the rubrics. Campus response to these workshops was overwhelming, with more than 350 faculty and staff registering to attend!

Electronic surveys conducted after the workshops revealed that participants generally viewed the workshops in a highly positive fashion. As just a few examples of the survey results:
  • 78% of respondents indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with the facilitator-led sessions with respect to their ability to use the rubrics
  • 71% of respondents indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with the facilitator-led sessions with respect to their ability to teach others on their campus to use the rubrics
  • 86% of respondents indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with the overall quality of the facilitator-led sessions
  • 86% of respondents indicated they were very satisfied or satisfied with the overall quality of the workshop

Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment (SCBA) Funding Announcement
On July 21, 2006, University Provost Peter D. Salins sent to campus presidents a memo describing System Administration's plans for funding Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment, beginning in Fall 2006. Provost Salins' memo can be accessed by clicking here.

Other GEAR Activities
Since Fall 2004, the GEAR Group has assisted in the implementation of SCBA. Important materials and resources developed by GEAR are as follows:

Communications from Former University Provost Salins to Campuses Regarding SCBA
During 2005, former University Provost Salins sent a number of communications to campus presidents updating them on developments related to the implementation of Strengthened Campus-Based Assessment. These communications may be accessed through the following links:

Rubrics Approved by Faculty Council of Community Colleges and University Faculty Senate
On October 22, 2005 the Faculty Council of Community Colleges at its fall plenary approved the standards and rubrics developed by the three discipline-based panels for assessing the SUNY general education outcomes in Basic Communication [Written], Mathematics, and Critical Thinking. On October 27, 2005, the Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate passed a resolution approving the standards and rubrics. Approval by both of these bodies was a necessary step in adoption of the rubrics by campuses.

Individuals interested in reviewing or downloading the rubrics can access them by going to the Web page for the Writing Panel, the Critical Thinking Panel, and the Mathematics Panel.

ACT Assessments for Writing and Critical Thinking Available for Review
The ACT Web site contains a SUNY-specific site that describes SCBA-appropriate assessments for Critical Thinking and Basic Communication [Written]. The ACT Web site may be accessed at this link.

Assessment Reporting Task Force Report

On July 19, 2006, former University Provost Salins sent to campus presidents and chief academic officers a memo summarizing his actions in response to the final report and recommendations of the Advisory Task Force on Assessment Reporting, submitted in May 2006. That memo can be accessed by clicking here. Other relevant documents are as follows: