Student assessment helps Radford University define strengths and opportunities

A series of annual surveys of Radford University students have revealed that engaging classes and close relationships with a supportive faculty define the Radford University experience.

At the end of every course students take at Radford, they are asked to fill out a course evaluation. It only takes a few minutes, but it lets their professors, department and college know what is working and what is not. Faculty can then use these evaluations to improve their courses.

While the 2016 results are still being analyzed, results for the previous year show that students consistently thought their professors were organized, clear and accessible.

All of these qualities were a big help to students because they were also quick to say classes were challenging and often encouraged in-depth and critical thinking.

Course evaluations are not the only way the university tailors the experience to students. Radford also participates in a national survey, the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), designed at UCLA. Because Radford University has participated for several years, faculty and staff can see how results improve each year.

So what are some ways Radford University is getting better?

From 2013 to 2015, Radford students said they had more opportunities to apply classroom learning to “real-life” issues. During the same time frame, there was a more than 10 percent campus-wide increase in students who secured internship opportunities.

One of the most important measurements is how students feel about their university overall. According to the CIRP results, every year, RU students report getting more one-on-one mentorship from faculty, feeling like a closer community and becoming more satisfied with their overall college experience.

The Office of Academic Assessment, in the university’s Academic Affairs division, is responsible for coordinating the general education assessment, academic program assessment, academic support programs/services assessment, academic program review, course evaluation and the Quality Enhancement Program assessment.

May 18, 2016