ACE assessment procedures
Read the full procedural instructions
Preparing for ACE assessment
- All ACE courses are assessed by applying an outcome-specific rubric to a signature assignment for each student in that course. Determine what will be submitted as the signature assignment for the course. Consider alignment with the ACE-specific rubric when making your choice.
- Choose the submission type (student-submitted, instructor-submitted rubric and observation, or instructor-submitted multiple-choice exam) that will work best with the signature assignment.
- Decide how much student evidence will allow you to answer your assessment questions.
- Using an ACE rubric makes it easy to assess work from all students in a course. However, faculty should assess as much student work as needed to support a meaningful reflection across time and to sufficiently answer any question of their interest. As a guideline, if faculty choose to sample student work and there are more than 35 students in a course, one can manually choose 35 students at random for which to complete the ACE rubric, leaving the remaining students unassessed. The minimum of 35 students was based on a power analysis to achieve sufficient resolution for discerning changes in rubrics scores over time.
- UCC ACE does not define what constitutes a reasonable sample of student work.
- It is not necessary to include samples from every course section as long as the department takes steps to ensure that the sampled sections adequately represent the full set of course sections.
- For courses over 35 students, ACE assessment only needs to be completed for a randomized 35 students within that course per semester, e.g., a total of 35 across all sections. The assessment software stores individual documents or artifacts for each assessed student in the course. This process facilitates aggregate reporting of ACE achievement levels across courses all the way up to the institution level. Furthermore, and equally important, the ACE-specific rubrics facilitate revision at the course-level as instructors consider alignment with the ACE-specific rubrics.
If you have more than 35 students in the course, you can randomly choose 35 students for which to complete the ACE rubric, leaving the remaining students unassessed.
Easy randomization procedure if more than 35 students:
- Number of students / 35
- Take the integer part, i.e. the floor function
- If 1, assess 35 students in a row. If 2, assess every other student. If 3, assess every third student, etc.
- Flip a coin to decide if you are starting from the bottom or the top of the list
Faculty are encouraged to use Tk20 only for assessment initially.
One of the benefits of the assessment software is that it can be used for many purposes beyond ACE assessment including grading and professional accreditation. Please contact a unit administrator for more information.
Step-by-step guide for submitting student work to Tk20
There are different ways that student-level products can be submitted for ACE assessment.
Students upload a product via Blackboard or Canvas. A variety of file types can be used including .docx, .pdf, .xlsx, and .jpeg. This option is appropriate for most courses.
- Communicate the following information to the designated Tk20 administrator for your unit:
- Instructor and any additional assessors
- Start Date/End Date
- Name of assignment
- Assessment instructions
- ACE rubric being used to assess
- Once you have received notification from the Tk20 administrator that this information has been entered into Tk20 you can create an assignment link in either Canvas or Blackboard.
- To use Turnitin in Canvas or SafeAssign in Blackboard have students submit the assignment to two different links, a Canvas or Blackboard assignment to check for plagiarism and the Tk20 ACE assessment link.
- To assess the assignment, click the Tk20 assignment link in Canvas/Blackboard. Then, click on the name of a student who has submitted an assignment, which will bring up the split screen.
- On the left click on "Download" to save the student submissions to your computer, or you can click on "View and Annotate" to open the document in your internet browser.
- On the right click on the name of the assessment tool to view the rubric. Complete the assessment by selecting the radio button for each criterion. Click Save to save the entry and remain in the assessment tool. Click Complete to save the entry and move on to the next student.
Instructor submitted rubric-only and observation
An instructor completes an assessment in the absence of a student submitted product. This is most appropriate when the product is not digitally captured, such as oral presentations.
Instructor submitted Multiple Choice Exam
Appropriate for an exam in which performance on individual questions will be mapped to the criteria in the ACE-specific rubric.
Send the exam data file provided from Exam Services or Maple T.A. to the Tk20 Unit Administrators along with the answer key and which questions map to which criteria in the rubric.
Why assess student learning in ACE courses?
UNL’s Achievement-Centered General Education Program (ACE) is built on a promise to students that completing 10 learning outcomes will help prepare them for their futures by giving them a breadth of knowledge and skills to become leaders in their fields. Faculty members across the institution created ACE so that instructors could measure – and then improve – how well students were making progress toward achieving the learning outcomes. Teams of faculty teaching within each ACE outcome created rubrics that provide a quality scale to evaluate student work.
The need to assess outcome achievements arises from many sources. The most important is that faculty want to make good on their promise to deliver an excellent general education to our students. So, what evidence do we have that students are achieving the learning goals we set? Additional pressure comes from the responsibility we shoulder to be accountable to the public that helps fund this enterprise. Professional reaccreditation requires that faculty assess student learning. The Higher Learning Commission, which accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region of the United States, requires that institutions demonstrate evidence of continuous improvement of student learning.
Assessment is not an option for faculty; it is a fundamental role of faculty that requires an investment of effort.
Evaluating the continuous improvement of learning offers opportunities for self-reflection and rethinking the ways we help students learn. The emphasis of assessment is on course and program planning, not judging individual faculty members.
Considering UNL’s diverse offerings of majors and courses, making good on a promise to students that they will have opportunities to achieve the 10 ACE outcomes is challenging. Using new Tk20 assessment software should help facilitate the process.
- Common rubrics for each ACE outcome, developed by faculty teams, help instructors focus on how well students are achieving the learning outcomes for their courses.
- Tk20 assessment software facilitates reporting by using student work for multiple assessment purposes (course, program, professional accreditation).
- Tk20 simplifies faculty work. Rather than being required to assess multiple student assignments in the course, faculty members identify a “signature assignment” within the course that demonstrates achievement toward the outcome.
Why use rubrics?
The goal of assessment is to produce information that will either confirm that the course is doing what it needs to help students achieve the outcome or help highlight areas that faculty could modify that could result in improved student learning. Instructors can get evidence about what is working in their courses; departments learn about how the courses contribute to student learning of the outcome and major; and the institution can gain an understanding across the university of undergraduate learning.
Rubrics help faculty invest efforts that are authentic and meaningful and result in improving students’ education. ACE rubrics were developed by teams of faculty who teach courses in those particular outcomes.
- Clarify faculty expectations for students’ general education mastery
- Define the criteria that are embedded in the ACE outcome
- Identify the level of performance that is needed to ‘meet’ the outcome
- Enhance consistency of faculty judgments of student performance across courses and faculty members
- Articulate the shared understanding of the meaning of each ACE outcome
- Are sufficiently flexible to be applied to multiple alternative assignments in the various courses certified for the ACE outcome
The power of rubrics:
- Faculty can apply the ACE outcomes in ways relevant to their individual disciplines.
- Effective rubrics can be applied to all ACE certified courses regardless of the course or targeted assignment
- Once developed, use of rubrics is simple and time efficient
- Rubrics allow data to be aggregated across many different ACE courses and assignments
- Rubrics are minimally intrusive into the ongoing curriculum and instruction of the courses
What happens with the data?
The hosting department of the ACE course is responsible for making a good faith effort to ensure that these courses are taught in compliance with the certification agreement. Student work must be collected each time the course is taught. Once instructors enter the assignments and use the rubrics, information can be stored over time for ACE reports that are due on a staggered 5-year schedule.
ACE Assessment Reports
ACE Assessment Reports summarize data collected in Tk20 over the 5-year assessment period and offer key findings and summarize how the unit/department used the information gained from the assessment to confirm or improve student learning.
ACE Assessment Reports are submitted by Nov. 1 of the year when they are due. Feedback will come from the college assessment/UCC ACE subcommittee.
Schedule for ACE Assessment
|Academic Year||ACE Student Learning Outcome (SLO)|
|2021-2022||ACE Program Review|