Assessment at WITS
At the Women's Institute of Torah Seminary and College, we are committed to providing a transformative educational experience for Jewish women. To ensure the highest quality student learning, we have implemented a robust system of academic and institutional assessment. Through this webpage, we aim to familiarize you with the purpose, approach, and benefits of our assessment practices.
WITS performs regular assessment to evaluate the effectiveness and quality of certificate and degree programs. Our assessment activities reflect best practices in outcomes-based evaluation. WITS staff and faculty use data to maintain and improve both our rigorous academic programs as well as our high-quality student services. Assessment metrics provide information about the extent to which WITS is meeting the goals, standards, and requirements set forth in our Strategic Plan and that we are meeting the standards set by our accrediting bodies and the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC).
The WITS assessment process aims to:
Ensure that our programs and operations are aligned with the institution’s mission and vision, and strategic and institutional learning goals
Systematically and continuously gather data about student learning and institutional effectiveness
Share an institutional culture of assessment; and
Engage in data-informed decision-making to improve programs, practices, services, and operations
Across the institution, assessment activities compliment the planning and budgeting processes ensuring that decision-making related to program development, resource allocation, and institutional change is evidence-based and data-informed. The two main areas of assessment at WITS are Academic Assessment and Institutional Assessment.
Purpose of Academic Assessment:
Academic assessment plays a vital role in evaluating student learning outcomes and improving the effectiveness of our instructional programs. The primary purpose of academic assessment at WITS is to:
Measure Student Learning: Assessment provides valuable insights into students' knowledge, skills, and abilities. It enables us to evaluate how well our curriculum aligns with the desired learning outcomes and ensures that students are achieving the intended educational goals.
Identify Areas for Improvement: By assessing student performance, we can identify areas where our instructional methods may need refinement or where additional support may be required. This helps us enhance teaching strategies, modify course content, and provide targeted interventions to foster student success.
Promote Accountability: Assessment allows us to demonstrate accountability to our stakeholders, including students, faculty, staff, parents, and the broader community.
Approach to Academic Assessment:
The Women's Institute of Torah Seminary and College follows a systematic and comprehensive approach to academic assessment, which includes the following key components:
Clearly Defined Learning Objectives: We establish clear and measurable learning objectives for each program and course. These objectives reflect the knowledge, skills, and competencies that students are expected to acquire during their academic journey.
Direct and Indirect Measures: To assess student learning, we employ a combination of direct and indirect measures. Direct measures include exams, projects, portfolios, presentations, and grades based on explicit criteria related to learning objectives. Indirect measures include course evaluations, transcripts, and employment or graduate school placement rates.
Data Collection and Analysis: We collect data through a variety of assessment methods and analyze it systematically. This includes analyzing student work samples, exam results, survey responses, and other relevant data sources. The Director of Assessment and Compliance collaborates with the Academic Dean and faculty members (as necessary) to interpret the data and draw meaningful conclusions.
Continuous Improvement: Assessment is an ongoing process at WITS. We use assessment data to inform instructional decisions, curriculum development, and programmatic enhancements. Regular assessment cycles help us identify areas for improvement and implement evidence-based changes to enhance student learning outcomes.
The main academic assessment activities are:
Course Evaluations (Student Level)
Every semester, students complete course evaluations, which provide WITS staff with feedback about course content and quality from students’ perspective. Aggregated course feedback that can benefit an instructor’s course quality is shared by staff with faculty.
Faculty Self-evaluations (Faculty Level)
Each term, faculty reflect on their own courses and instructional methods. This process prompts WITS faculty to gather insights about successes and challenges they faced and inform course content changes, as needed.
Academic Program Review (Department Level)
The Academic Program Review (APR) is a comprehensive review of an entire program every five years. A committee comprised of WITS faculty and staff we well as experts in the field conduct the APR. The committee reviews information from other academic assessments as well as a comparison of 2-3 similar programs at other institutions, alumnae feedback, course records, and other relevant sources of information. The committee analyzes and synthesizes all the findings, and the APR culminates in a formal report to the Curriculum Committee and Academic Dean.
Academic Assessment of Institutional Student Learning Goals (ISLG)
WITS has six institutional learning goals.
Each year, a sample of courses are chosen to assess whether students are proficient in the chosen learning goal for that year. Based on the findings from these assessments, recommendations are then made by the curriculum committee to improve the academic program. In the following year, the same courses are reassessed to detect any year-to-year changes.
WITS has designed an assessment cycle that ensures that all institutional goals (strategic goals and learning goals) are assessed for baseline performance and re-assessed for ongoing improvement over a five-year period. This process provides data about individual courses while also analyzing data across a sample of courses to demonstrate institutional learning goals are being met across all WITS programs.
The Institutional Assessment process at WITS aims to evaluate the effectiveness of our overall educational environment, policies, and services. These areas are indirectly related to student learning and either directly or indirectly related to fulfilling the Strategic Plan. Institutional assessment allows us to:
Evaluate Organizational Effectiveness: We assess the effectiveness of administrative and support services to ensure that they meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. This includes assessing areas such as student services, library resources, technology, facilities, and student safety.
Enhance Strategic Planning: Assessment data informs our strategic planning process by providing insights into the achievement of institutional goals and objectives. We can identify areas that require attention and allocate resources effectively to support institutional growth.
Sources of Data Include:
Department Assessment Plans
WITS has Institutional Assessment plans for five departments: Admissions, Facilities and Technology, Finance and Bursar, Library, and Student Services (includes student support, advising, financial aid, and registration). Every year, each of these departments determines goals for itself, in conjunction with the Institutional Assessment committee, which monitors the progress and outcomes of this assessment process is throughout the year.
Student Support Activity Surveys
Every year, WITS provides additional programming to support student achievement. WITS follows each program or event with a survey to gather feedback for planning future events. This includes orientation sessions as well as several career support programs such as Career Day, Women in the Workplace, Resume Writing, and Interview Skills. WITS also conducts an end-of-year survey which covers a variety of topics such as access to technology, library resources, campus safety and security, learning support such as advising and tutoring, and student life.
This page is meant to provide a summary of Assessment at WITS.
Please contact the Director of Assessment and Compliance with any additional questions at email@example.com