In the New

A Big Campus Pat on the Back!

CLA stands for Collegiate Learning Assessment.” This exam is administered atcolleges and universities nationwide and provides an innovtive approach to assessing an institution’s contribution to ...

The FYEX Common reading Program celebrated a stellar fall semester, with strong participation at various events offered in conjunction with this years’ graphic novel, Persepolis, by Iranian author Marjane Satrapi. The novel was made into a major motion picture last year, now out on DVD, so we kicked this years’ program off with three “movie night” showings of the animated film...more 

2008/2009 Assessment Cycle Coming To A Close

This serves as a gentle reminder that the 2008-2009 Assessment Reports are due to our office in January. 

For an assessment timeline (including an updated calendar with due dates for the next cycle) and helpful information, please visit our assessment website at:

Assessor Refresher Workshop A Success

On October 16th, a two hour Assessor Refresher workshop was offered to help assessment facilitators across campus summarize data their departments had been collecting and finalize the details of their assessment reports. The workshop was attended by assessment representatives from several academic support units and departments across campus, with valuable feedback and guidance provided by members of the Assessment Task Force Committee.

2009/2010 CTL Mini-Grants Awarded

Each year the Center for Teaching & Learning awards a limited number of mini-grants to individuals, departments and support units for proposed work toward assessing student learning or program or curriculum development. Six grants have been awarded for the 2009/2010 academic year to various recipients totaling more than $2100. Two of the grant projects took place this fall; the English department held an off-campus assessment retreat in August, while the School of Natural Sciences, Math & Engineering held an afternoon seminar for students to learn more about graduate school opportunities and how to further a career in their respective fields.

Grants taking place in the spring include a Department of Psychology assessment retreat at the new SU Wellness Center; a faculty member from San Diego State University coming to speak to students and faculty in the CIS department; Portfolio Review Day for the Art department, which brings outside art professionals to campus to critique students’ work; and travel funding for Dr. Rachel Ritterbusch to attend a language conference in Minnesota and develop additional assessment strategies for the Department of English and Modern Languages.

Funding for this academic year has been exhausted with no additional mini-grants being funded until after July 1, 2010. For additional information regarding grant guidelines and the application process see:

ETS Proficiency Profile (formerly MAPP) & NSSE Assessment Tests

Shepherd utilizes several assessment measures to gauge student learning and program effectiveness.  This fall, ninety-seven entering freshmen completed the Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP), an online test developed by Educational Testing Systems (ETS) that assesses four core skill areas — critical thinking, reading, writing and mathematics — in a single test that the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) has selected as a gauge of general education outcomes. ETS changed the name of the MAPP test in October to the ETS Proficiency Profile, but the assessment measure remains otherwise unchanged. This spring, a cohort of approximately 100 senior students will also take the ETS Proficiency Profile.

Shepherd also administers the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE).  Our most recent administration occurred in 2005.  We are preparing to administer this survey again in the spring of 2010.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, pronounced “nessie”) is utilized by Shepherd University to collect information about student learning and assess the extent to which students engage in and learn from enriching, educational experiences both on and off campus. Since 2000, the annual NSSE “College Student Report” survey has been used to collect information from undergraduates at four-year colleges and universities across the nation. Its purpose is to assess the extent to which students engage in educational practices known to correlate with success in learning.

Launched by a grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the project is now supported by institutional participation fees and is cosponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Pew Forum on Undergraduate Learning. NSSE is administered by the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research in cooperation with the Indiana University Center for Survey Research.

What sorts of questions comprise NSSE?

There are five primary areas that are assessed by the NSSE. They are:

  • Level of academic challenge
  • Active and collaborative learning
  • Student-faculty interactions
  • Enriching educational experiences
  • Supportive campus environment

As we prepare to administer this test once again this spring, we will be interested to see whether student demographics and attitudes have shifted significantly or remained relatively unchanged since 2005. Results will be shared with the university community upon being reported.
 For learn more about assessment measures used by the university, visit: