Using Data and Visualization in Assessment

Many programs working to design and implement assessment processes view their work as focused largely on system mechanics including defining learning outcomes, designing or identifying measures, creating and implementing data collection plans and conducting analyses. However, this functional focus on system mechanics may become problematic because it does not include sufficient consideration of how data and results can be presented for efficient and effective use in the continuous improvement process. Furthermore, this focus is myopic because it does not consider how best to communicate information about the assessment process to constituents including faculty and peer evaluators. Data visualization techniques incorporating high-impact graphic design principles provide excellent guidance to assist both in capturing results to enhance the continuous improvement process and to provide visual explanations of how an assessment process operates. This session will include data visualization principles and examples of high-impact graphics to demonstrate a clear and concise presentation of results that allows viewers to efficiently identify strengths and weaknesses in student performance, move beyond the data to reason about causes and easily identify viable improvements. Visualization principles and examples presented will also demonstrate applications of high-impact graphic designs to explain assessment process steps, division of labor and the breadth of results dissemination.