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S150 - MSU Sesquicentennial

Re-Accreditation Self Studies at MSU

Examples of Reporting Assessment Results

  • English
  • Financial Aid


Department of English

The following is an example of reporting and using assessment results from the Department of English, Michigan State University.

Learning Goal :   To develop analytical and critical skills, as well as their (students') ability to explore, organize, and articulate their ideas through writing.

Assessment Method :   Comparison of writing samples from ENG 210 and from 400-level English courses.   Essays were read blind and scored using a faculty developed rubric in five different areas of student writing.

Assessment Results :  

  • ENG 210 average score was 80.2 (out of 100).
  • ENG 400 level average score was 91.0
  • The highest scored 210 paper was 93; four of the level 400 papers scored at 100.
  • The "low end" 400 level essays were B/C= range; 210 low end was C- range.

Conclusion:   This learning goal has been met and students show remarkable improvement in basic skills such as grammar, style, argumentation, logic, and use of evidence.

Action Taken :   The Department is pleased with the results of this assessment.   The written critical and creative work of English majors increases, on average, at least one full letter grade in quality as the students move through their program of study.   No curricular action is warranted at this time.

Action Results :   No action relating to this learning goal is needed at this time.

Future Steps on this goal :  

  • Continue with this assessment in 2004-05
  • Expand number of student essays read
  • Expand number of faculty readers

Future Steps in Assessment:

  • Exit surveys to continue (even numbered years)
  • Focus groups to expand and continue (even numbered years)
  • Address the concerns and issues that emerged from the focus groups
  • Review function and consistency of ENG 210, as well as curricular role of the course.



Office of Financial Aid


Reaccredidation of MSU -- Customized Self-Study Document

Office of Financial Aid

December 9, 2004


Goal of the Study:   


To provide evidence that the Office of Financial Aid helps Michigan State University fulfill its stated mission.


When appropriate, to provide examples of "internationalization" in the mission of the Office of Financial Aid and its daily activities.



General Statement: Relationship to other offices in the MAU


The Office of Financial Aid( OFA) is one of three offices in the Enrollment Services Major Administrative Unit (MAU).   It is connected to the Office of Admissions and Scholarships( OAS) and the Registrar's Office(RO) as the other two offices in the MAU.


The Office of Financial Aid partners with OAS to coordinate scholarships with need based aid in order to meet the financial need of student applicants; to staff recruitment activities in order that prospective students will fully understand their financial obligations and options if they attend MSU; and to publish information for students and parents in electronic and print media.   OFA is committed to making access to MSU as easy as possible, especially for high-need students.


OFA partners with RO to verify that the timing of enrollment adds and drops does not cost a student aid for which he or she is qualified.   RO reports student enrollment and graduation data for OFA to the National Clearinghouse, which enables students with financial aid to defer loans under "in-school" status or to begin repayment after graduation in a timely manner.



Criterion One - Mission and Integrity

Core Component 1e. - The organization upholds and protects its integrity.


Goal :   Keep the OFA in compliance with federal law.


Notification from the Department of Education last year made it clear that universities must comply with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Requirements.   While this was not a new law, its applicability to universities had been only recently clarified.  


Assessment Method: Formation of   committee to review the requirements of the GLB Act and put together a plan to comply.


Assessment Results:   MSU is not currently in compliance with the data safeguarding provisions of the act, though it is in compliance with the privacy provisions of the act.


Action Taken:   Office-wide assessment of current document and data security measures.   Disposal of documents requirements lead OFA to purchase a shredder.   FERPA and GLB requirements are the topic in an all-staff training session to remind staff of these requirements when dealing with inquiries from third parties.   A new security door was installed to limit outside access to private areas when the office is open.


Action Results:   Change in practice of document disposal to meet requirements.   Further awareness of FERPA and GLF requirements of privacy and security in phone, email, and in-person contact.


Future Steps: Repeat and enhance staff training annually.



Criterion Two - Preparing for the Future

Core Component 2c - The organization's ongoing evaluation and assessment processes provide reliable evidence of institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies for continuous improvement.


Goal: To make all financial aid processes globally accessible by building interactive web pages.


Assessment Method: Electronic consent is required to do processing on the web.   Measure number of students who e-consent.


Assessment Results: Electronic consent from aid applicants is 26,270 vs. 843 in Year One (2003-2004).


Action Taken: Excellent results in Year One indicate that the current process is effective and should be continued.


Action Results: Continue as above.


Future Steps:   Continue to monitor compliance in future.   Assess effective of message and modify as needed.



Criterion Three - Student Learning and Effective Teaching

Core Component 3a - The organization's goals for student learning outcomes are clearly stated for each educational program and make effective assessment possible.


Goal: Complete the processing of financial aid for a majority of students prior to the start of classes in a term, leaving students free to concentrate on coursework instead of finances.


Assessment Method: Measure number and percentage of applicants with loans disbursed on or before the first day of class.   Loans are generally the last aid programs to be processed.


Assessment Results:   Students who were offered loans in FS04 and did not decline them totaled 21,674.   Students with loans disbursed on or before semester start date totaled 13,600, or 58.77% of applicants.   This is an improvement over FS03, where the percentage was 52.78%.


Action Taken: Modify notification of aid awards to include one paper letter (new students) or postcard (returning students) at the beginning of award cycle.


Action Results: To be determined.


Future Steps: Reassess in FS05.



Core Component 3b - The organization values and supports effective teaching.


Goal: Convert financial aid records from paper to imaging, thus freeing up file room space to be converted into computer lab/classroom space.   This supports student learning and access in an additional space on campus.


Assessment Method: Elimination of paper files and conversion of space


Assessment Results: Conversion of filing system completed and computer lab established.


Action Taken: No further action needed.


Action Results: Not applicable


Future Steps: Continue to utilize imaging system to eliminate need for physical file space.



Core Component 3c -   The organization creates effective learning environments.

Goal: Educate graduating and recently graduated students on loan repayment to avoid defaults.


Assessment Method: Monitor Department of Education's published default rates for MSU graduates.   Rate should stay steady or decline.


Assessment Results:  

Cohort Default Rate









Action Taken: Late Stage Delinquency project - OFA staff members phone students who are 270-359 days delinquent on their loans (loans are defaulted when 360 days late) to discuss methods of avoiding default.   Will put students in contact with loan holder to work out satisfactory payment methods or forbearance applications as required.


Action Results: Default rate of MSU graduates declined over 3 year period.


Future Steps: Continue LSD project.



Criterion Four - Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge

Core Component 4c - The organization assesses the usefulness of its (program) to students who will live and work in a global, diverse, and technological society.


Goal: Increase diversity by providing increased international student access via new MSU International Student Loan Program


Assessment Method:   Monitor utilization rate.


Assessment Results: Loans processed for 21 students in 2003-2004 totaling $142,676.00


Action Taken: Give feedback to Office of International Students and Scholars to refine criteria for future recommendations.


Action Results: Not yet known.


Future Steps: Reassess at end of 2004-2005 academic year.



Goal: Increase diversity by providing increased international student access via participation in Global Student Loan Program ( )


Assessment Method:   Monitor utilization rate.


Assessment Results: None at this time, program begins this year


Action Taken: None at this time


Action Results: Not yet known.


Future Steps: Assess at end of 2005-2006 academic year.



Criterion Five - Engagement and Service

Core Component 5c - The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service.


Goal: Increase accessibility to financial aid counseling globally by enhancing the OFA email counseling service.


Assessment Method: Measure number of emails handled annually.


Assessment Results:


Number of Email in









Action Taken:   Continue to highlight this service in publications, on the web site, in newsletter to parents, and in reminders to students.   Monitor responses to ensure continued accuracy of responses from OFA advising staff.


Action Results: 2004 email consistent as of Sept 30 th with number on the same date in 2003 and 2002.


Future Steps:   Continue with current strategy and reassess periodically.




Goal: Continually educate students and parents on available aid, aid processes, and timelines by producing electronic parent/student newsletter ( )


Assessment Method:   Number of subscriptions indicate interest in this service


Assessment Results: Over 2300 subscriptions as of September 30, 2004


Action Taken: Continue to advertise this service on web site and on Parent Loan Application Form.   Collect anecdotal comments from subscribers.


Action Results:   This service continues to be well received, especially by parents.   Several peer institutions have inquired about our methods of production and distribution with the intention of copying this service.


Future Steps: Continue to produce.   Advertise more heavily, especially to parents of new students at recruiting and welcome events.