Athens State University

LiveText Assessment Data Provides Specific Analysis


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Institutional  Profile

Athens State University is Alabama’s oldest institution of higher learning established in 1822. Athens State University, offering coursework at the junior and senior level, is the baccalaureate degree granting institution of the Alabama Community College System. The University, through quality teaching, individual attention, and a varied course delivery system, assists students in the timely achievement of their professional and career goals. In addition, Athens State University offers programs of continuing education and community services that provides a variety of cultural and professional opportunities.


Key Challenges

The faculty in the College of Business had a realistic view of the strengths and weaknesses of students in their areas of the core competencies, but they did not have specific data to substantiate their theories. Once the faculty determined specific areas that defined the elements of each competency to measure, developed the rubric, and determined what type of assignment to use in the process, they put procedures in place to both assess the student’s performance and collect samples in a portfolio. They also determined a common goal across the university; to have 80 percent of students perform at average or above average ranges in each competency measured.


Solution

LiveText bridged the gap with a consistent method to analyze various areas of assessment including writing, presentations, critical thinking, decision-making, understanding diversity, group interaction techniques, and understanding ethical standards. For the faculty and administrators who had previously been involved with providing longitudinal data for specific students, the LiveText e-Portfolio was a quality of life enhancement. The previous methods normally involved randomly collecting samples of work completed by approximately 10 percent of the students from the time they entered the university until they graduated. The samples would then be assessed to determine improvement in different skill areas. At the end of the process, faculty and administrators were left with an insufficient representative sample for analysis. LiveText provided administrators with access to samples of work from all students by either reviewing e-Portfolios or by running specific reports on students.

In their third year of using LiveText, Athens State University has found that in each competency students have performed at levels of 89 to 98 percent; exceeding their goal of 80 percent. They can identify specific deficiencies and regularly use the information to improve the curriculum. The data collected even provided key information to improve the presentation of material in distance learning formats.

Athens State University has identified Building Success Through Writing as their SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plan. Students prepare a research paper in a required class in their first and last semester. There is a common rubric used in both assignments, and in most instances, the same faculties are teaching both courses. LiveText has been instrumental in providing the tools needed to assess student improvement in their ability to write and a method to collect reliable data to analyze improvement. In the second year of the Quality Enhancement Plan, Athens State University found that students have improved their writing skills 98 percent of the time.

“Live Text provides flexibility in preparing reports in multiple formats for the variety of agencies requiring data. The information we collect allows the College of Business at Athens State University to continuously improve our courses to better serve our students and the employers who hire them.”

Dr. Teresa Wanbaugh
Assistant Professor of Management & Marketing
Live Text Coordinator for the College of Business