Assessment Data Transparency Policy
The university differentiates between institutional level data and departmental level data. Institutional level data refers to data and findings from initiatives that do not identify or focus on individual academic units. One example would be the National Survey of Student Engagement. Another example is data compiled about undergraduate, graduate or international students as a panel or cohort.
Each department determines the type and nature of data that can be shared outside of the department. However, college deans can request department-level data as appropriate. As the governing authority for all academic units, the Provost can request data from colleges in order to fulfill its institutional obligations. In order to protect confidentiality and privacy, no individual data (e.g., individual student, faculty or class) will be made available outside the department.
National survey of student engagemenT
What is the NSSE?
WMU participates in the National Survey of Student Engagements (NSSE) every few years to learn about first-year and senior students' participation in programs and activities that provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. We can then compare our results to the hundreds of four-year colleges and universities who also participate in the survey. By doing this comparison, we can then identify aspects of the undergraduate experience inside and outside the classroom that can be improved through changes in policies and practices more consistent with good practices in undergraduate education.
This information can also be used by prospective college students, their parents, college counselors, academic advisers, institutional research officers, and researchers to learn more about how students spend their time at WMU as well as at other colleges and universities and what they gain from their experiences.
Below are some of the results of recent NSSE administrations at WMU.
In 2013, WMU participated in the Academic Advising module as an addendum to the regular NSSE survey. The questions for the module and the response data are linked above.
Faculty survey of student engagement
What is the FSSE?
At WMU, we participate in the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE) every few years, which was designed to complement the NSSE. This instructional staff version (for faculty, instructors, and graduate students who teach) focuses on:
- Instructional staff perceptions of how often students engage in different activities.
- The importance instructional staff place on various areas of learning and development.
- The nature and frequency of instructional staff-student interactions.
- How instructional staff organize their time, both in and out of the classroom.
The information learned from our faculty, instructors, and graduate students can then be used to identify areas of strength, as well as aspects that we may decide warrant attention. The results are intended to be a catalyst for productive discussions related to teaching, learning and the quality of our undergraduates’ educational experience at WMU.
Below are some of the results of recent FSSE administrations at WMU.
Voluntary System of Accountability
Western Michigan University made the decision in 2007 to become a member of the Voluntary System of Accountability. The VSA is an attempt to make critical information about participating institutions transparent to prospective students and their parents. One requirement of participation in the VSA is that each institution evaluate student learning by using the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency exam, the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress exam or the Collegiate Learning Assessment exam. A WMU faculty committee decided in 2008 to use the CLA exam.
The CLA+ exam is a product of the Council for Aid to Education and is designed to measure the value added to a student’s education by an institution. The exam is given online and consists of written responses to various performance tasks. The tasks are designed to measure the student’s critical thinking, analytical reasoning, problem solving and written communication skills. There are no multiple choice questions associated with the exam. The value added is determined by comparing the scores of incoming freshmen with those of graduating seniors.