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Drexel and ETS – Perfect Together

In early January, ETS representatives paid a visit to the Office of the Provost with news of a new assessment suite in development to be known as the HEIghten™ Outcomes Assessment Suite. The HEIghten™ Outcomes Assessment Suite is modular, actionable and easy to use. HEIghten™ allows institutions like Drexel to document student learning outcomes in conjunction with internal assessments for accreditation and curriculum improvement.

This suite of computer-delivered, modular assessments enables the user to tailor  student learning outcomes assessments by choosing those skills that match the institution’s goals — and provides the actionable data needed. Administered on campus or remotely, the HEIghten outcomes assessment suite is easy to implement and fully customizable.

Current available assessments include Critical Thinking, Quantitative Literacy and Written Communication, and schools can add up to 50 locally authored, multiple-choice questions and nine demographic questions to meet specific program needs. Three additional modules — Civic Competency & Engagement, Intercultural Competency & Diversity, and Digital Information Literacy — are in development and will be available soon, and that’s where Drexel enters the picture.

In February, the Drexel Team [Jennifer Johnson Kebea, Office of Civic Engagement, Cyndi Reed Rickards, Assistant Teaching Professor of Criminology & Justice Studies and Sr. Assistant Dean for Community Engagement; Michele Rovinsky-Mayer, Office of Equality & Diversity; Ann Knettler-Smith                          Office of Disabilities Resources; Shannon Marquez, Office of International Programs/Public Health; Stephen DiPietro, Office of the Provost, and Joseph Hawk Office of the Provost] was invited to meet with the ETS research and development group at the ETS campus in Princeton, NJ to share our views on the scope and content of the two assessments of particular interest to our Provost and to the team – Civic Competency & Engagement and Intercultural Competency and Diversity; hence the choice of team members. Both our team and ETS found the meeting to be productive and substantive and it became the foundation for an on-going partnership. As a result of this now partnership, Drexel has been invited to participate in the prototyping, pilot testing and subsequent field testing currently scheduled for early next year. Additionally, our team has a particular interest in the reporting function and formatting specifically as it relates to civic engagement and intercultural diversity.

Since that meeting, we have organized a Drexel student population of 100+ students who assisted in the prototyping for both the civic engagement and intercultural diversity assessments. This took place on February 25th through our Lindy Center. Jennifer Johnson Kebea secured the students and served as the conduit for them with ETS. It should be noted that no costs were incurred by Drexel in association with this pilot. ETS provided the proctors and the exams, and took care of the administration and exit interviewing [a sample of 10 students]. Additionally, they were able to provide students with a pizza dinner [always an incentive], since the tests ran late afternoon and early evening [two different groups based on availability]. Prior to the administration we distributed an ETS generated statement highlighting the contextual background of the assessments and this process in particular.

Our next steps with our Drexel group will be feedback from this event on the results from ETS, another meeting with the R & D people [currently scheduled for April 13th], September piloting of the actual ICD and CCE assessments, another meeting on reporting formats, and finally field testing in winter 2017. Each person in our Drexel group is very, very excited about their involvement with this project to be sure. Visit HEIghten™Outcomes Assessment Suite to learn more about this project.