Featured Product: TrueOutcomes Connects Teaching and Assessment

Once upon a time students typed papers on, well, paper, handed them in to teachers, who graded the work, recorded the grades in grade books, and returned the work to the student at the next class. How will teachers grade student work in the electronic age?

A prime candidate for the student assessment tool of the future is the electronic portfolio (ePortfolio). In addition to changing the way instructors grade, ePortfolio offer ways of transforming the raw data of student work into quantified, organized, searchable material. Users can then apply this data to faculty assessment, curriculum development, and accreditation. Or so claim the purveyors of assessment software. Outcomes Assessment Solutions has positioned their product, TrueOutcomes, as one such universal assessment solution.

At its core, TrueOutcomes is a Web database-driven portfolio system. While facilitating assessment, the student-based Professional Portfolio allows students to paint a more complete picture of their accomplishments for graduate school admission or potential employers than traditional test scores and transcripts allow. Similar to other ePortfolio packages, the software contains elements that encourage students to articulate goals and reflect on their work.

There are four components of TrueOutcome's Professional Portfolio:
The Comprehensive Portfolio holds electronic copies of all work submitted by the student, including graphics, multimedia, video, and text. Students organize the portfolio by the quality of the work and by the course or extracurricular project for which the work was created. The Showcase Portfolio contains a student's choice of his or her best work. The Self-Interview highlights a student's academic and professional objectives, while the Professional Portfolio contains an Electronic Resume. The content of all the Professional Portfolio components is password-protected.

For faculty and administrators, TrueOutcomes provides tools designed to have a wider impact on teaching than simply changing how teachers review student work. Outcomes Assessment Solution's faculty and administrator-based components—the Juried Portfolio, the Survey, and the Curriculum Record—are all geared toward transforming the way teachers teach, helping them to "close the loop" between teaching and outcomes.

For the Juried Portfolio, students submit work electronically following the same procedures used in submitting work for the Professional Portfolio. However, all submissions to the Juried portfolio must be certified as the student's own work by the instructor. Work in the Juried Portfolio is given a quantitative score by a team of evaluators using a rubric. Results of the evaluation show a score and comments for each element of the assignment's rubric, a score for each assignment, and an overall portfolio score. Data from the Juried Portfolio reviews is assimilated and charted to summarize the outcomes for an entire institution or department. Clicking on elements in the graph allows the user to navigate between different levels of detail in the data. In this way, teachers and departments have clear, quantifiable evidence about where they are succeeding and where improvement is needed.

The Survey module allows users to gather and analyze other types of information about student, faculty, and alumni experience. An option allows users to configure the product to preserve anonymity. The surveys include both multiple-choice and open-ended questions, which are typically designed to assess areas such as student satisfaction, alumni achievement, and perceptions of academic experiences. Staff and faculty can view graphs and tables of the results. Curricular changes brought about as a result of information uncovered in the surveys can be documented in TrueOutcome's third assessment tool, the Curriculum Record.

The Curriculum Record provides faculty with a format for recording detailed course objectives and desired outcomes so departments can track how well expectations are met and how courses change to better match educational goals.

TrueOutcome uses the information from Curriculum Record to generate matrices of courses versus outcomes for each major, along with a chronological report of curriculum changes and why they occurred.

For more information, call (877) 529-1329 or visit www.trueoutcomes.com.

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