Blog: Tips & Tricks

How to capture historical data as your assessment evolves

Diana Romer July 28, 2016

Most of you are probably familiar with the phrase “closing the loop”.  If not, the process consists of (generally) 4 main steps: outcomes are identified and appropriate evaluation methods are developed, evidence is then gathered and measured by these evaluation methods, the data gathered is analyzed, and then recommendations for changes are made based on the analysis.

The main goal of continuous improvement is not necessarily assessing student data, but rather actually using the findings of the data analysis to develop an action plan that will result in student improvement.  This could mean many things: perhaps curriculum is reviewed and adjusted to include new key assignments that are aligned to different standards, or new faculty are hired, or a whole course is removed from a program and replaced with another.

Improvements are going to happen and should continue to happen throughout an institution’s lifetime (thus, continuous improvement), and it requires a lot of trial and error (meaning, lots of updates and changes!).  Even when implementing these changes, it can be beneficial to retain evidence of data and findings prior to these changes to compare and contrast results and maintain a record of the progression of change.  Luckily, we at Taskstream understand this completely, and have developed our tools to accommodate this need.

In the Learning Achievement Tools (LAT) by Taskstream, assignments (aka requirements in our system) are created for students to complete, whether that be a key assessment, a reflective essay, or another type of assignment being collected for assessment purposes.  When changes are made, your requirements may need to be updated to reflect this change (or even the rubrics measuring the requirements!).  For example, if there is a requirement that you are no longer collecting from students (like a key assignment) moving forward, you have the ability to hide it from new students.  We call this “retiring” a requirement; meaning, the value of the data is too pertinent to delete the requirement, but we want to prevent future students from submitting anything to that requirement.

Here is how you can “retire” the old version of a requirement and introduce a new one.

    1. Create the new rubric (as needed).
    2. Change the visibility settings for the old version of the requirement.
    3. Create the new version of the requirement.
    4. Assign the new rubric to it using the desired preferences.

By doing this, you can maintain your results from the old requirement while collecting new data from the new requirement without deleting any previously collected data.

Being able to tell the whole of an assessment story has much importance, whether it be for accreditation purposes or showcasing where your institution came from to where it is currently and moving forward.  With Taskstream, you can create and retire as many assignments as needed, without losing any of your assessment story along the way.