Students Have Sense of Assessment Ownership
Students are able to track their progress on the DAACS through a dashboard that gives them an overall indicator of how they’re doing, as well as the ability to explore specific aspects of each model through open educational resources (OERs). For example, a student wanting to improve in mathematics can focus entirely on algebra if that is a singular weak point that they want to work on.
“DAACS is really focused on the early days of a student’s college career,” said Dr. Bryer. “Getting through that first course really helps students be successful and complete their degree. Students take DAACS, we have their data, and can start tracking them throughout their experience. Then we can develop statistical models to see which students are the most likely to be successful, and see who’s at a high or low risk or dropping out; and for those at a high risk, we can target them for intervention.”
Moving Forward through Open Source
The current plan is to pilot the assessment at Excelsior and Western Governors University (WGU) in the 2017 winter semester, where a randomized half of the students use DAACS and the other half don’t, in order to track and compare their progress during the first few months, as well as all the way to degree completion.
The goal is to expand and make DAACS available to all interested institutions for the full 2017-2018 academic year.
“I would like to see it replace entrance exams and grow,” said Dr. Bryer. “It’s an open source tool with OERs and software built on an open source server. It will be available on Github so that institutions can use it and expand it with their own contributions, hopefully. Maybe we can even expand to other modules like life sciences for students on a path like nursing.”
“It’s not optional, but the biggest challenge is to explain the value of DAACS to students and ensuring they take it seriously, since it doesn’t have an impact on their grades,” continued Dr. Bryer. “The amount of data we’re going to collect can really help us understand more factors that make a student successful or not. I really hope students own this info in order to learn about themselves and act upon it by working on closing gaps in their core skills.