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FAQs


OIEE General Information


What is Institutional Effectiveness?
Institutional Effectiveness – or “IE” – typically refers to the process of assessing the quality of student learning, educational programs, academic and student support services, and the administrative units across the university.  Simply put, IE involves evaluating the extent to which established goals are met and using the results from these evaluations to inform decision-making and improvements.  The two overarching purposes of IE: improvement and accountability.

Is there parking at Henderson Hall?
Henderson Hall has two (2) visitor spots at the front of the building, one (1) Scanning and Evaluation Services space facing All Faiths Chapel, and three (3) University Business (UB) spaces at the back of the building.  Additional University Business (UB) spaces are also available in Lot 30. 
 

AEFIS


How do I access AEFIS?
AEFIS can be accessed by visiting tamu.aefis.net.
Students and faculty all have active accounts but may need to request specific access in order to complete some tasks. Staff will need to request an account. Account and access requests can be made here.

Where can I learn more about AEFIS?
The AEFIS Help Resources provide a variety of instruction guides, videos, and resources for using the multiple platforms in AEFIS. The AEFIS Academy is an online community of practice which connects campuses utilizing AEFIS through shared resources and best practices.

Assessment 101


What is an assessment plan?
An assessment plan outlines the outcomes or objectives to be prioritized during the upcoming assessment cycle. Also included in the plan are the methods of collecting and analyzing data (called measures) and the specific level at which a program or unit considers their outcomes/objectives to be achieved on each measure (called targets).

What is the difference between CLOs, PLOs, and SLOs?
Course learning outcomes (CLOs) are measurable objectives within a particular course. These are presented to students on a course syllabus. Program learning outcomes (PLOs) are skills or competencies students are expected to be able to articulate or demonstrate by the time they graduate from the academic program (including certificate programs). Course Learning Outcomes are generally mapped to Program Learning Outcomes. A student learning outcome (SLO) is an umbrella term for all skills or competencies students are expected to articulate or demonstrate. SLOs are defined at multiple levels (e.g., course, program, institution, and system levels).

How are SLO's assessed?
The strongest assessment strategies employ both direct and indirect measures. Direct measures require students to demonstrate or display their competency in a way that can be measured for quality. Examples of direct measures include written assignments, oral presentations, or other assignments evaluated for measurable quality. Indirect measures provide secondhand information about student learning outcomes. Examples of indirect measures include student course evaluations, surveys, or broad metrics such as course grades and completion of degree requirements. The results derived from these measures are jointly used to determine actions or interventions that might help improve student learning.

How can I learn more about assessment? 

Student Course Evaluations

As an instructor, what can I do to encourage my students to complete student course evaluations?
  • For courses being delivered face-to-face or through synchronous online delivery (i.e., Zoom), give students time in class to complete the evaluation.
  • Tell students how you have used feedback in the past to improve the course – showing students their feedback is read and used shows students their feedback is valued.
  • Send reminders directly to the class – reminders from the instructor are much more likely to prompt a response than a blast email from AEFIS that often gets ignored or automatically deleted.
  • Monitor response rates (updated daily at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. (CT)) and incorporate into messages – setting a class target for response rates and challenging the class to meet the target can motivate students to response. 
For additional strategies used by Texas A&M University instructors, see here.

How can I find Student Course Evaluation results?
TEC 51.974 requires student course evaluations of Instructors be available to the public.  Results from student course evaluations can be found on the Public Class Schedule Listing.
  1. The evaluations can be access by first choosing the term and subject.
  2. Once the subject and any other criteria is chosen, clicking on the “Class Search” button will bring up a list of the applicable sections.
  3. An “Evaluation” link for the instructor is shown next to each section of the subject.
  4. In addition, advisors and students are able to view the evaluations from the course listings on their respective class schedules in Howdy.
Student course evaluation results are available approximately 4-6 weeks after the semester ends.

Can Teaching Assistants be evaluated through AEFIS?
Yes, TA's to be evaluated in AEFIS must be added by the department to Compass using SWASECT  (see registrar.tamu.edu/getmedia/d19d81e2-6a59-4356-b51d-79369bb85959/SWASECT-Roles.pdf.aspx)

Can instructors use incentives, such as providing bonus points, to encourage students to complete their course evaluation? 
At Texas A&M, the Faculty Senate passed a Resolution in 2010 (FS.27.122) that specifically stated "The Faculty Senate opposes granting academic credit of any kind to students for completing course evaluations ..."  This would include incentives such as bonus points. 

Program Assessment


What is the role of faculty and students in assessment?
Faculty gather information about what and how students are learning, discuss that information as a faculty group, and use it to inform continuous improvement efforts within the academic program. By extension, these efforts could aid in enhancing the educational experience for students, improving program student learning outcome assessment results in the future, further developing students’ skills in the identified program learning outcomes, and actively involving program faculty in the curricular assessment and quality improvement process.  
 
How can program assessment be used to improve academic programs?
Assessment is a faculty-driven process (in academic programs) but it equally involves the collaboration of faculty, academic staff, students, administrators and other university stakeholders. The valuable information obtained through the assessment process provides evidence of student learning. It answers the question Are students accomplishing the established outcomes for a course or program?, the answer to which can serve as a starting point for program-level discussions about the effectiveness of academic programs, pedagogical strategies, and the integration of student voice through continuous opportunities for feedback.  

Core Curriculum Assessment


How do I know when my course is up for recertification?
The full recertification cycle and course cohorts is available here. Remember, this is a two-year process, where in Year 1 student work demonstrating the indicated state learning objectives is submitted to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness & Evaluation. Year 2 consists of completing the Core Curriculum Council's Recertfication form in CARS.

Can I submit exam question answers as artifacts?
As long as the responses can be assessed using the rubric, yes. If there are multiple items included in the submission, we ask the instructor to communicate which item is meant to be assessed.

Do artifacts need to be de-identified?
No, de-identification or redaction is not necessary.

Can one assignment/artifact be used for more than one competency?​
Yes. Just make sure the criteria on each rubric are covered.

Does the assignment need to hit all the points in the rubric?​
Yes, the assignment should be designed for students to demonstrate their proficiency on the skills described in the rubric.

Do I need to submit a model answer with the samples of student work? Do you need a grading key?
It is not necessary. We evaluate the demonstration of the skill as described in the rubric.

Do I need to upload the rubric from my course for each artifact?​
No, including course-level grading criteria as part of the assessment submission is not necessary.

Do I need to submit an individual file for each student?​
Yes, artifacts are assessed individually and should be submitted as separate files for scoring purposes.

Can I submit group work/group projects?
Submission of group work is not ideal. We want to assess individual student skills.

If an assignment is a completion grade, can it be uploaded as an artifact?
Yes.

Does it matter when the assignment is due in my course during the semester?
No, make sure you upload the artifacts by the established due date.

Do individual section instructors have to use the same assignment prompt for a multi-section course?
No, assignments do not have to be the same. Instructors are free to choose what they feel is the best representation of the skill with respect to the rubric.

Do I need to tell students that their work will be assessed?
It is not required to communicate institutional-level assessment projects, but it is always a good idea to inform students of the assessment process and share the rubrics that will be used.

How do I upload student work in the LMS?
Our office (OIEE) will provide instructions on how to upload your files via a shared Google Drive. The Office of Academic Innovation can provide technical support if needed, and additional resources will be made available soon.

Do I need to accept the Google Drive collaboration request before the December 18 submission deadline?
Yes, the collaboration acceptance request times out 30 days after receipt. Once you accept the request, you will have access to the folder and will be able to upload the artifacts. 

Can I add any of my TA’s to the assigned folder?
We can add your TA’s to the folders, just send us their names and their TAMU email addresses to assessment@tamu.edu

 

Scanning Services


What are Scanning Services hours of operation and location?
Scanning Services are available Monday - Friday by appointment only. Scanning Services is located on the 3rd floor of Henderson Hall.
 
Do I need to make an appointment to have exams (scantrons) scanned?
Yes. Two appointments are actually required. The first appointment (conducted through Zoom) will walk you through exam setup. The second appointment will involve delivering the completed exams to Henderson Hall. Contact scanning@tamu.edu to set up an appointment. 
 
What do I need to bring with me to Scanning Services?
  • Classroom exams require the standard Texas A&M University form.
  • Instructors/TAs will need to make a key or keys for their exams. Multiple forms can be scored separately or all together.
  • Students' answer sheets should bubble in students' name and Universal ID Number (UIN) using a No.2 pencil for their score records.

NOTE: Forms should be free of any physical damage including creases, tears, food, water marks or any other alteration preventing the answer sheet from lying flat.
 
What turnaround time can I expect?
Turn-around time is usually 10-20 minutes, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

How do I log-on to Digital Desk Instructor Tools?
Go to https://digitaldesk.tamu.edu to log in. You will be asked to authenticate through the CAS system.

NOTE:  If you log-on from an off campus computer, VPN is required.  Please contact your college/departmental IT staff for VPN Access/Support/Help Desk. Once logged into Digital Desk, click on the tab you wish to view (e.g. Reports, Answer Key, etc.). 
 
How do I assign a Teaching Assistant (TA)?
Once logged in to Digital Desk, select Settings tab from dashboard. Then enter either your Course number (Acct 209) or select your course from the drop down menu. Insert TA’s UIN and click “Add TA” to finish TA assignment. The TA’s name will show up as assigned. To remove a TA, simply click the delete button next to their name. 
 
How do I run/download reports?
Select Report tab, then select exam ID from drop down menu. Click on the check box for exam and then select reports you wish to have generated. You can select generate All reports or select individual reports. Click on the Run button and reports will download. The tab named “graphs and downloads” will display a number next to them. You can view and download reports under each tab. Click the download button next to the report/graph you wish to view. Click “open” on the pop-up to view reports. 
 
How do I release Individual Student Score Report? 
After you have reviewed student scores within Digital Desk Instructor Tools, an instructor can release individual student score reports through the “Release Student Score Reports” button. This will e-mail each individual student score to their @tamu.edu e-mail address.

How do I and/or students change e-mail settings to not send Scanning Services e-mails to Spam/Junk mail folders?
If Using Microsoft Outlook:
  1. Locate “Junk E-Mail” folder
  2. Locate email from “scanning@tamu.edu
  3. Right click on email form scanning@tamu.edu
  4. Go down the list to “Junk” and a submenu will pop out.
  5. Click on “Not Junk”.
  6. A pop up window will appear “Mark as Not Junk”. Stating: “This message will be moved back into the Inbox Folder.” Make sure the box is checked next to “Always trust e-mail from scanning@tamu.edu. Then click “OK”.

If Using Gmail:
If a message is incorrectly classified as spam you can unmark the message. Select the message, and click the Not Spam button that appears at the top and bottom of your current view. Unmarking a message will automatically move it to your inbox.
If messages are consistently being mislabeled as spam, you can prevent this by:

  • Adding the email addresses to your Contacts list. Gmail will deliver messages from members of your Contacts list to your inbox, unless we know with high confidence that they are spam.
  • Some messages sent from contacts which are very clearly spam can be sent directly to your Spam label. More importantly, in some cases messages from contacts will not be sent to Spam but will be marked with a red warning banner if the content is suspicious - for example, your friend's or contact's account has been compromised and used to send phishing messages.
  • Creating a filter so the messages are never sent to Spam.

This should stop e-mails from ending up in the Spam folder. If you continue to have issues with this please contact your department's IT personnel or Help Desk at helpdesk@tamu.edu or 979-845-8300.
 
If using a different application please contact your department IT personnel or Help Desk at helpdesk@tamu.edu or 979-845-8300.
 

How do I upload into eCampus/Gradebook?
Under the Reports tab, click the Custom Option. Select your course from the dropdown menu and click Run. The system will verify your request to upload. Once verified, the system will produce a pop-up that confirms the upload to eCampus. NOTE: Upload to eCampus can take up to 15 minutes.

Surveys


Are survey data collected confidential? 
Survey data are confidential. All the results are reported in a way that individual respondents cannot be identified.

How do I access survey reports?
Survey reports are currently available to authorized users only through Log-in Access. Please submit a Reports Request Form if you would like to have the access.

How can I get additional analyses done? 
In the event you need additional analyses using survey data, please contact survey@tamu.edu for assistance. 

How can I use survey data in academic program assessment?
Survey data is a great way to incorporate student perspectives into the assessment process. Some survey items can be indirect measures of student learning, where students report their perceived learning or their experiences with specific programs or courses. 

Can I get survey data for purposes of personal research efforts?
Researchers using survey data for personal research efforts must obtain prior IRB approval. You may contact survey@tamu.edu for assistance. By the rule of confidentiality, all the results should be reported in aggregated form.