Academic Assessment Processes

In Academic Affairs, we believe in the importance of assessing student learning for the purposes of improvement. Our processes are built on the understanding and belief that faculty involvement is essential. This is evident in the faculty-led assessment committee that is responsible for overseeing theses processes for student learning assessment for the academic programs. Also, the development of assessment and improvement plans is led by faculty, which involves the development of learning outcomes, methods to measure the outcomes, and improvement plans. The assessment of student learning for academics is conducted at multiple levels including the program-level, the general education program, and in the classroom.  In addition to faculty involvement, these processes include using direct, embedded assessment methods in the classroom. Below details the processes and timelines that we have developed to ensure that faculty are involved in the development and execution of assessment for academic programs and courses.

Academic Assessment Committee

The Academic Assessment Committee, a subcommittee of Faculty Senate, is responsible for overseeing all aspects of assessment in the division of Academic Affairs.

Below details the mission, goals, and structure of the committee:

Mission: The mission of the Academic Assessment Committee is to provide support and direction for the assessment of student learning in the academic division that fosters a culture of evidence-based, continuous improvement.

Goals and responsibilities of the committee:

  • Reviews and provides feedback to faculty for improving academic assessment plans and reports.
  • Develops and makes recommendations to faculty senate on processes and procedures related to assessment and evaluation that are aligned with best practices, the needs of the students, and accreditation criteria.
  • Identifies areas of opportunities based on assessment data and proposes strategies for improvement.

Committee Composition:

  • Chair: At-large Member of Faculty Senate (2 year term, elected in odd years by full faculty.)
  • Arts and Science: 2 faculty members  (2 year terms, elected in alternating years).
  • Education: 2 faculty members  (2 year terms, elected in alternating years).
  • Professional Studies: 2 faculty members  (2 year terms, elected in alternating years).
  • exofficio: Director of Assessment, Chair of Academics and Curriculum, Vice President of Academic Affairs.

For more information regarding the committee, contact Dr. Tim Borchers

The faculty of each academic program are responsible for the assessment of their respective program. They work together to discuss student learning and develop goals and outcomes that articulate what students should know or be able to do as a result of the program. They need to reach a consensus on the most important knowledge and skills for the program. They will also work together to develop measures and targets. Once data has been collected, the results will be entered into Weave and the program faculty will develop an action plan on how they will make improvements. Academic program assessment follows a two-year cycle, which involves collecting data every year, but allows for two years to develop and implement the improvement plan.

Below shows the two-year process and timeline:

  2018-29 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25 2025-26
Technology RRO/DMT IA/IP   IA/IP   IA/IP RRO* IA/IP
Collegiate Skills RRO/DMT IA/IP   IA/IP   IA/IP RRO* IA/IP
Perspectives on values, thought and aesthetics   RRO/DMT IA/IP   IA/IP   IA/IP RRO*
Methods of inquiry and explanatory schema   RRO/DMT IA/IP   IA/IP   IA/IP RRO*
Community, regional and global studies     RRO/DMT IA/IP   IA/IP   IA/IP
                 
  • Year One: Review/Revise Outcomes (RRO); Develop Measures and Targets (DMT)
  • Year Two: Implement Assessment/Collect Data (IA) and develop improvement plan (IP)
  • *After an area has been through the process, it will then be assessed every other year. All aspects of the general education assessment plan will be documented in Weave. The assessment plan for each component area will be revised every six years (e.g. Technology in 2024-2025).

If assessment data is collected in both the fall and spring semesters, the results only need to be entered once. For example, if assessment results are collected from a capstone course in both the fall and spring, then aggregate the information and enter once. Ten is the minimum number of students required for reporting assessment results for undergraduate programs. Programs will continue to collect data but will wait until there are ten students to report the results in Weave. Programs still need to develop improvement plans. When a program has fewer than ten students in any given year, program faculty can still make judgments based on qualitative information.

2021-2022 to 2022-2023
Task Deadline for 2-year Cycle
Enter assessment findings into Weave (for 2020-21) Mid-September (2021)
Reflect on findings and develop improvement plans Mid-November (2021)
Academic Assessment Committee completes assessment feedback and returns to faculty Mid-December (2021)
Curriculum changes sent through the Academics curriculum Committee if necessary End of Spring Semester (2022)
Collection of assessment results End of Spring Semester (2022)
Implement improvement plans as appropriate for assessment plan (may include curriculum changes) Fall (2022)
Enter assessment findings into Weave (for 2021-22) Mid-September (2022)
Reflect on Findings Mid-November (2022)
Review mission, goals, outcomes, measures and targets and revise if necessary Mid-December (2022)
Collection of assessment results End of Spring (2023)

 

Another level of student learning that needs to be assessed is within the General Education program. The General Studies Program is designed to support student development in the context of the goals of the College, and ultimately enhance the capacity for continued lifelong learning and effective citizenship by encouraging breadth of perspective regardless of vocation. The program is structured so that students take courses among five different component areas including :

  • Collegiate Skills (Effective Communication and Quantitative Reasoning).
  • Technology and its Application.
  • Perspectives on Values, Thought, and Aesthetics.
  • Methods of Inquiry and Explanatory Schema (Physical and Natural Science and Social Science).
  • Community, Regional, and Global Studies.

Previously, the General Studies was primarily assessed through the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) test and a VALUE rubric specific to the Community, Regional, and Global Studies component. The CAAP was limited to reading, writing, and math, which was only specific to the Collegiate Skills component, plus the test has been discontinued by ACT. A new plan has been created for assessing the general education program, which involves using more direct measures and applying them to specific course-work. The plan involves a group of faculty specific to the component area working together over two years to review and/or revise outcomes, develop measures and targets, and implement the plan.

Once outcomes and assessment measures have been developed by the individual teams of faculty, they will need to go through the appropriate channels for approval:

  1. When outcomes and measures are developed, they will be presented to the Academic Assessment Committee for review
  2. They will then be reviewed by the Academics and Curriculum Committee (VPAA and Assessment Faculty Chair will be present)
  3. Faculty Senate will then review outcomes and measures
  4. Lastly, it will go through VPAA and President for final approval

The last level of academic assessment is at the course-level and is at the purview of each individual faculty. Each course has a set of learning outcomes that have been approved by the college. The course faculty will need to ensure that their course curriculum covers those learning outcomes and that their assessments are aligned to the SLOs. Within the syllabus, faculty are expected to list out the student learning outcomes and then identify the learning outcomes that each assessment addresses. For example:

Book Review: Student will write a 2-3 page review of an approved book relative to the material of this course. (SLO 1, SLO 3, SLO 4)