College of Education to craft assessment plan for Schreyer Honors College

August 01, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — College of Education associate professors David Guthrie and Karen Paulson have received a grant to develop a comprehensive assessment plan for Penn State's Schreyer Honors College.

"They fundamentally want to understand the impact of the Honors College on its students," Guthrie said. "To do so, they want a plan that will provide them with some evidence that what they're doing is working pretty well or could be improved and, if so, how. They want a systematic plan for collecting, analyzing and utilizing data about student learning and particular processes of the whole college's efforts."

Goals of the plans include creating an inventory of all data that are currently collected by Schreyer Honors College; generating a conceptual map of all aspects of Honors College students' experiences, from admissions through career placement; communicating regularly with Schreyer Honors College leadership and meeting regularly with the college's newly hired data analyst, Tom Enderlein, who will be the point person for implementing the plan. Also, investigating strategies and methods for assessing other aspects of Schreyer's operations to include admissions offers/yields (including efforts to increase diversity), the investment of resources on underperforming students, and markers of overall organizational performance.

"The end game of the project is an assessment plan for student learning for the Schreyer Honors College," Guthrie said. “They may not need to reinvent the wheel; they just might need to organize it a bit better."

What can make this particular assessment slightly more difficult is the multiple methods of admission into Schreyer Honors College.

"Students can come in as freshmen and stay all four years, they can come in as sophomores and stay for three, or students can come in as juniors and stay for two," Guthrie said.

Because of that, Guthrie said Schreyer administrators want to know if there is a differential impact. "Doesn't it stand to reason that someone who is in it for four years might make more progress toward the college’s hoped-for outcomes?" Guthrie said. "They're (administrators) trying to get a feel as to how to get their arms around that and assess student learning given their differentiated system."

The basic plan, Guthrie said, is to follow the structure of the Schreyer program and speak with 15 to 20 administrative and staff personnel to "get the lay of the land from their perspective" about how everything works. "We have a number of folks to talk to, representing a variety of programs in the college," Guthrie said. "There are admissions and orientation programs, academic programs and ongoing co-academic programs.  There is a residential dimension, plus career services and academic advising.”

"Then there's an alumni arena and there's a separate budget office and we want to talk about how they spend their money in accomplishing their goals. There are a lot of different areas and people in each of those areas."

A working advisory group will convene in the fall to take all of the information gathered over the summer and work with the College of Education to develop an assessment plan that will be presented in May 2019, Guthrie said.

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    David Guthrie

    IMAGE: Penn State

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Last Updated August 15, 2018