Effective Program Review Using Data Driven Analysis of Student Progress
Accreditation in Higher Education, although a necessity to ensure a program is of high quality, is sometimes viewed as extra work without a tangible return. The English Foundation Unit (EFU) at Gulf University for Science and Education (GUST) needed to find a way to verify that its program was of high quality to its accrediting agency, CEA. We also needed to validate the work of faculty to ensure GUST students are prepared to be successful in their college credit courses. The EFU Curriculum and Accreditation Coordinators began the process by reviewing the existing data such as pass/fail rates and student surveys. However, this analysis wasn’t enough.
Program Review has two major roles in the English Foundation Unit. First, program review is used for strategic planning, including reviewing of EFU program mission, course goals, objectives, and outcomes. Second, program review is used to find gaps in student learning by focusing on curriculum components and skill areas in order to guide the teacher’s instruction in the classroom. The EFU curriculum provides students with an array of opportunities to demonstrate mastery of the curriculum. The multiple forms and opportunities for assessment provide the instructors, administrators, and students of the EFU with information regarding the academic progress of students. In turn, the ongoing Program Review Process provides administrators and instructors with the information necessary to make vital educational decisions in the classroom.
In addition to data analysis, determining the tools and also researching best practices in all areas of teaching a second language are essential for a proper review. A single type of assessment is not sufficient evidence to provide all this information; however, when different student achievement and program review tools are combined and results are analyzed and disseminated, a complete picture of the education process can be obtained. Since EFU recognizes that a well-structured and on-going program review process is key to providing a quality education for all students, the Director, Coordinators, and all faculty (Level and Skill Area Teams) are involved in this ongoing process.
It is gratifying to know that all the faculty’s hard work and time spent on planning and teaching are showing results, and we are excited to present our case study at Bett MEA during a Learn Live session in April 2018 to share our insights with other educators.