Assessment Grant Initiative
Good assessment is essential for a university to be able to improve its academic programs, provide exceptional student experiences, and function effectively. Virginia Tech is committed to continuously improving the educational experience of students. The Office of Assessment and Evaluation (OAE) Assessment Grant Initiative has been developed to provide a way to monetarily support Virginia Tech faculty and staff members in their pursuit of program excellence.
The purpose of the program is to foster a culture of continuous improvement by supporting informed decision making through the use of assessment. The grants are offered as a way for faculty and staff to investigate new avenues in assessment, strengthen existing assessment designs, or assist programs or units implement action plans.
To further support the development and use of assessment information for improvement, OAE is offering grants up to the amount of $1,000. Grants will be awarded to VT faculty or staff members in academic areas to conduct assessment-related projects or initiatives that directly support student learning outcome assessment processes for undergraduate, graduate, or certificate programs.
Assessment grants are being offered to help teaching faculty and support staff engage in sound practices of assessment which lead to useable results and to generate models that can inform the assessment efforts of others across campus.
Successfully funded Assessment Grant Initiative projects will contribute to the ongoing development of Virginia Tech by providing “seed” money for programs or units to:
- Develop assessment initiatives to enhance student learning or the student experience across campus.
- Develop a community of practitioners engaged in the assessment/continuous improvement process.
- Generate examples of sound assessment practices that can be used by others across campus.
Examples of Appropriate Projects
All proposed projects will be considered for an award. However, priority will be given to those proposals that focus on developing or implementing direct measures of student learning. Some examples of potential uses of awarded funds are given below.
- Awards can be used to pay for measurement instruments including:
- Certification tests,
- Professional exams, and/or
- Discipline-specific standardized tests.
- Funds can be used to implement a program-designed action plan that addresses a previously identified area in need of improvement including:
- Buying software or computer-based student learning tools, or
- Using new equipment or technology to address a previously identified deficiency in student learning.
- Monies can be used to pay faculty, staff, or external professionals stipends to conduct assessments, including:
- Faculty stipends for capstone/student project reviews and ratings,
- Faculty stipends to analyze and report data or to develop assessment instruments (e.g., capstone course project, rubric development, development of test items, examining student learning across two sections of a course taught by different methods, etc.), and/or
- Funding external reviewers to review student work (e.g., juried committees, review of performances, etc.).
Funds may not be used for activities financed through other sources unless additional funds are needed to complete the project. In these cases, programs need to be specific and differentiate between how funding from each source will be used. Grants will not be awarded for faculty or staff travel or to cover student stipends or incentives.
Proposal Review and Award Criteria
All proposals will be reviewed by personnel in the Office of Assessment and Evaluation and evaluated on the basis of the quality of the design and the grant’s potential to contribute to ongoing assessment efforts at Virginia Tech. All grants must tie directly to the assessment of student learning.
Submissions will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
- Purpose: How is the project expected to enhance assessment activities in the unit or program?
- Method of Investigation: Is the methodology being used appropriate? Or, will the implementation of the action plan likely have the desired effect?
- Measurable Outcomes: Did the program or unit define measurable outcomes for the project and explain how these aligned with their overall program or unit outcomes?
- Analysis/Interpretation of Results: How will the results be analyzed and/or findings interpreted?
- Appropriate Use of Funds: Are the funds being used for appropriate activities?
- Dissemination: How will the findings/information learned from this project be disseminated to the greater VT community?
Requirements After Award
Awardees of all grants must be willing to share their assessment projects and results with the greater Virginia Tech community. Awardees must submit a brief summary of their findings to OAE the year following the grant award. This summary should be less than 500 words and report on the results of the project, any challenges encountered during implementation, and future plans. Final Implementation Report This report will be posted on the OAE website. In addition, the activities implemented or conducted as part of this award should be highlighted in annual assessment reports submitted by the program or unit.