Education assessment seminars to be given

By Lisa Meisner

Two education assessment seminars will be presented at NIU Feb. 6 and 7 by William Lyons, professor of political science at the Uniersity of Tennessee in Knoxville.

The first session, geared for an audience of students as well as adminstrators, will begin at 8:45 p.m. Feb. 6 in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center. It is called “Assessment in Higher Education: Promise and Performance from the Tennessee Model.”

Robert Wheeler, NIU mathematics professor, said the lecture “will be phrased so that hopefully anyone with an interest in assessment will get something out of it.”

People with a more statistical background may be interested in the second presentation at 11 a.m. on Feb. 7, also in the Heritage Room. This session will detail questions an assessment committee should ask students about their education and how students should be contacted regarding assessment. The seminar also will analyze the effects of assessment, said Wheeler.

Possible uses of assessment include advising on course planning and spotlighting areas where departments could improve, such as offering a course more often or holding more sessions of a class, said Wheeler.

The University of Tennessee is extremely well known for its use of assessment techniques, Wheeler said. “I heard Lyons speak at a workshop in November and was very impressed. He was candid and receptive to questions,” he said.

The NIU Assessment Steering Committee, which is sponsoring the seminars, is comprised of facutly and students working to assess present activities and recommend possible alternatives. A report of the committee’s findings will be submitted to the General Education Committee and the Undergraduate Coordinating Council in late March.

NIU Associate Provost Lou Jean Moyer will submit a report of the assessment committee’s findings to the Board of Regents in April.