The accreditation of colleges and universities is becoming increasingly important to academic programs internationally. The United States Department of Education estimates that about 6,900 post-secondary institutions in the US are accredited through various accrediting agencies. Accreditation is a voluntary action for schools, but there is an increasing pressure among the international community for schools to comply with standards aimed at enhancing the quality of education. With numerous accrediting bodies, there are standards for success to fit nearly every program. However, the competition for accreditation from the most prominent agencies fuels schools to revisit and revise their curricula to address learning goals. In order to achieve full accreditation, academic institutions must show continuous improvements through analyzing and assessing their current learning goals. This means providing an analysis of data to demonstrate success in meeting the school’s learning objectives. First, schools must acquire such data to measure performance.
Assessment tools are a key resource in determining and presenting numeric values of success. Among the many assessment tools we have developed, the Marketplace® Customized Objective Learning Assessment was developed to be used in companion with Marketplace® Simulations. This overlaying activity is invaluable in the acquisition and assessment of valuable assurance of learning data. Many accrediting bodies require objective assessments of students relative to the school’s learning goals. Reflective, critical, and analytical skills are paramount goals for academic institutions. The simulation was developed to help exercise and improve these skills, while the assessment was constructed to evaluate the strength of these skills. Together, the assessment and simulation help schools meet and measure specific learning goals.
The Marketplace® Assessment is a comprehensive online test that is administered in a classroom setting to students using the simulation. There are about 100 questions in the assessment that will take between thirty minutes and an hour for the average student to complete. Most of the questions concern the major conclusions students can draw from analyzing marketing, sales, operations, finance, and accounting data. Each of the questions is personalized to the student’s company, performance, and game universe. The test is designed to measure situational awareness by assessing the student’s perception, comprehension, and prediction skills, as well as their integration abilities. Specifically, the objective of the assessment will gauge your students’:
- Knowledge of their company’s operations, the world market, and the activities of their competition;
- Capacity to understand and forecast the firm’s performance in all functional areas;
- Ability to use management tools to draw important conclusions;
- Awareness of their firm’s strengths and weaknesses relative to the market needs and competitors’ performance;
- Aptness for anticipating competitor moves and their company’s position in the future;
- Agreement on the firm’s strategy relative to the agreed upon strategic direction of the team.
The Marketplace® Assessment is available in all of the basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of the Marketplace® and Marketplace® Live simulations, with the exception of Business Fundamentals and against computer games. For six-quarter simulations, the assessment is available in quarters five and six. For eight-quarter games, the assessment becomes available in the sixth quarter and can be administered through quarter eight. Because several questions test the prediction ability of students, the assessment is not available in the Results quarters (quarter seven in six-quarter games and quarter nine in eight-quarter games). After the students have completed the Customized Objective Learning Assessment, the scores and grades are automatically processed and the data is configured for instructors. Various reports are generated, including:
- A dashboard report for the students that includes performance measures by functional area of the firm and by level of situational awareness;
- Detailed percentile reports that include individual and team percentile ranks relative to the class and course;
- Individual scoring reports;
- Customizable reports that compare the performance of your students to those in other schools.
To fully benefit from use of the assessment data, tracking performance over time is critical. This is especially true if the school plans to use the data as a benchmark for curriculum improvements. The reports can assist program coordinators in determining where to focus curriculum changes to better meet the school’s learning goals.
For more information on the Marketplace® Customized Learning Objective Assessment, please contact [email protected].