Assessment

Assessment of Institutional Effectiveness

Assessment of Student Learning Results at the Program Level

"We All Have a Piece of the Student Learning Pie!" – PowerPoint presented at the CCCS 2012 Assessment of Student Learning Conference

Assessment of Process Results for Administrative and Educational Support Units

Document Outline and Links:

  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of Assessment
  3. Assessment Mission Statements
  4. Goals of Assessment
  5. Assessment Cycle and Timeline
  6. Closing the Institutional Assessment Loop

I.   Introduction

The leadership of Arapahoe Community College (ACC) believes that the assessment of institutional effectiveness includes both the assessment of student learning and the assessment of the administrative and educational support units of the College that directly or indirectly contribute to student success. In doing so, we acknowledge the fact that a well-rounded college experience goes beyond classroom learning to include co-curricular activities and students' interactions with the service units of the College. All components of the College influence and shape students' intellectual, social, psychological and personal development. ACC employees have a responsibility in the student learning process, either through the stimulation, facilitation and/or support of student achievement and success.

The Vision of Arapahoe Community College is "To be the leader in community college education for the State of Colorado." Toward that end, ACC's Mission is "To provide innovative and responsive educational and economic opportunities in an accessible, inclusive environment that promotes success for students, employees and the community." Through our assessment process, we are determining what ACC's primary effect is on our students – and the "primary effect" is in both program and institutional outcomes. ACC's institutional outcomes are directed toward both student enrichment and process improvement and are referred to as Learning Outcomes. Our Learning Outcomes address the knowledge, skills, and values that are fundamental to the personal and professional growth of our students, employees and community. We expect our students to exhibit these skills at an appropriate level as they complete their work at ACC. Continuous improvement in ACC's processes is a reflection of the extent to which employees have implemented our Learning Outcomes in their respective work areas. The six Learning Outcomes established for student enrichment and process improvement are as follows:

Communication: Construct, deliver, and engage in effective, knowledgeable communication for a variety of audiences and purposes.

Information Management: Identify, retrieve and synthesize information in order to think critically, reason creatively and make informed judgments.

Personal Development: Identify and continually develop one's aptitudes and abilities in pursuit of goals.

Responsibility and Accountability: Employ personal and social accountability, recognize ethical issues, practice ethical behavior, and balance personal freedom with the interest of the community.

Quantitative Reasoning: Retrieve, interpret and evaluate information and numerical concepts to determine trends, make predictions, and develop informed opinions.

Cultural Awareness: identify, distinguish, or express a diversity of aesthetic, cultural, and historical perspectives.

II.   Definition of Assessment

We embrace the concept of assessment as a continuous source of information essential for improving Learning Outcomes, programs, teaching and learning methods/strategies and the College's processes that stimulate, facilitate and/or support student learning. While there are many similar definitions of assessment, ACC has adopted the following:

  • The collection, review, and use of information about programs and processes for the purpose of improving learning and institutional effectiveness (Marchese in Assessment Essentials, 1999).
  • A process in which the affirmation and discovery of effectiveness supersedes reporting requirements.
  • Assessment is about improving what we do for our students and how effectively we do those things.

 

III.   Assessment Mission Statements

Although the goals of assessment are the same for the assessment of student learning and the assessment of processes in our administrative and educational support units, the mission statements differ. This is due to the fact that the focus of instructional assessment is educational/student outcomes, whereas within the administrative and educational support units, the focus of assessment is on the process or service the unit intends to accomplish.

Instructional Assessment Mission – To continuously assess student academic achievement at all levels in order to support and improve student learning.
Administrative and Educational Support Unit Assessment Mission– To continuously assess the processes of administrative and educational support units to improve their effectiveness in light of ACC's Learning Outcomes.

IV. Goals of Assessment

  1. To foster an institution-wide view of assessment as a necessary response to a demand for accountability and an understanding that assessment is a continuous process and source of information for continuous instructional and process improvement.
  2. To respond to accreditation demands, specifically the Higher Learning Commission's (HLC) assessment criteria, and to State and outside agency assessment/accreditation criteria.
  3. To train faculty and staff in assessment processes and serve as a resources to one another.
  4. To facilitate the feedback of assessment results into program, course, classroom, and institutional planning.
  5. To develop, implement, and improve the assessment process.

V. Assessment Cycle and Timeline

ACC's assessment cycle follows an intentional and reflective process of Planning, Implementing, Assessing, Reporting and Revising. The following graphic illustrates the overall view of the assessment cycle at ACC. This assessment cycle is embedded within each assessment unit throughout the institution; i.e., administrative and educational support units, academic programs, courses, and classrooms toward continuous improvement of institutional processes and student learning.

assessment cycle

The timeline for Instructional Assessment at ACC is spelled out in Table I below and for Administrative and Educational Support Unit Assessment in Table II. It should be understood that some Administrative/Educational Support Units may be doing Instructional Assessment as well as Process Assessment. The timelines are designed to impact the budgeting process and continuous improvement in student learning and institutional processes.

Table I. Instructional Assessment Timeline

Plan

  • Identify goals
  • Identify specific objectives for each goal

January

Assessment workshops offered for faculty.

Mid-March

Department Chairs submit Discipline/Program Assessment Reports to the Assessment Committee.

Mid-March to early May

Assessment Committee reviews Discipline/Program Reports

March

New assessment cycle begins.
Incorporate revisions from last year.
Considerations/rewards

Implement

  • Select assessment methods/measures for each objective
  • Develop performance criterion for each objective

Early May

Assessment Committee returns approved Assessment Reports to department chairs.

August - December

Department Chairs and faculty implement assessment plans.

Assessment

  • Collect, analyze and interpret data

August through May

Data collection throughout academic year.

January to March

Analysis of assessment data by department chairs, faculty, and institutional research.

Report/Revise

  • Close the feedback loop
  • Report findings /initiate changes

March

Departments submit assessment reports to the Assessment Committee.

March to May

Feedback to department chairs and faculty. This time period is critical for inclusion in the budgeting process.

 

Table II. Administrative and Educational Support Units Timeline

Plan

  • Identify Learning Outcome to be assessed
  • Determine "best practices" with regard to that outcome
  • Identify current assessment activities with regard to Learning Outcome

January

Assessment workshops offered for administrative and educational unit support staff.

Mid-March

Administrative and Educational Support Units (AESUs) submit information to Assessment Coaches; new assessment cycle begins; incorporate revisions from previous year's assessment.

Implement

  • Select process(es) related to L.O. identified to be assessed
  • Determine component(s) of L.O. to be assessed
  • Determine methodology for assessment, including assessment tool

Mid-March to early April

AESUs develop Assessment Plan (submitted with previous year's Report) and submit to Assessment Coaches; incorporate needed revisions based upon previous year's Assessment Report.

July to Mid- August

Assessment Coaches review process rollout for the academic year; AESUs present assessment results in August.

August

Assessment workshops offered for administrative and educational unit support staff.

August through July

AESUs implement assessment plans.

Assessment

  • Collect, analyze and interpret data

Early May through June

Assessment Coaches evaluate and refine assessment process and tools.

August through July

Data collection throughout academic year.

January to December

Analysis of assessment data by AESUs.

November

Key conversations re process assessment in AESUs.

Report/Revise

  • Close the feedback loop
  • Report findings
  • Initiate changes

March

AESUs submit assessment reports to the Assessment Coaches.

Early April to May

Assessment Coaches review Assessment Reports and Plans and provide feedback to AESUs. This time period is critical for inclusion in the budgeting process.


VII. Closing the Institutional Assessment Loop

  1. Institutional Effectiveness Committee. ACC's Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) was initially formed in May of 2008. Its mission is "to promote a plan of systematic evaluation that advances evidence-based decisions for improvement in teaching, learning, and services throughout all levels and organizational units of the institution." The IEC collects assessment data/information on Core Indicators (persistence, completion rates, student satisfaction, etc.) and serves as a repository for Instructional assessment data, as well as assessment data for processes in Administrative and Educational Support Units. The IEC is an advisory group that relates assessment results to ACC's Leadership Team for planning/budgeting purposes. Committee members are listed at: http://www.arapahoe.edu/about-acc/presidents-office/assessment/institutional-effectiveness-committee-members
  2. Program Assessment Committee. The Program Assessment Committee (PAC), comprised of an appointed faculty chair, two faculty representatives from each of the academic divisions and a representative from Institutional Research, provides objective oversight under the direction of the Vice President for Instruction. The PAC guides the instructional assessment process, reviewing instructional assessment plans, collecting/compiling instructional data and monitoring the revision of instructional processes for continuous improvement. The chair of the PAC reports compiled information to the Institutional Effectiveness Committee on an annual basis. The chair of the PAC and the Vice President for Instruction meet regularly to discuss how the various programs are progressing on their assessment plans, noting any concerns or deficiencies. The Vice President for Instruction follows up with any deficient or non-compliant programs. The deans are responsible for ensuring that programs within their respective divisions are compliant. The list of Program Assessment Committee members may be referenced at: http://www.arapahoe.edu/about-acc/presidents-office/assessment/assessment-committee-membership
  3. Core Assessment Team. The Core Assessment Team (CAT) is made up of seven individuals, including faculty, staff and administrators from across the institution. The vision of the CAT is "to link instructional assessment efforts to Administrative and Educational Support processes that stimulate, facilitate and/or support student learning." ACC is a member of the Higher Learning Commission's Assessment Academy. The Core Assessment Team is ACC's representative group participating in the Academy. The Action Project for the Core Assessment Team is to develop a comprehensive institutional assessment model that is cohesive, user-friendly and sustainable in order to generate continuous improvement. The CAT serves as Assessment Coaches for ACC's Administrative and Educational Support Units, reviewing assessment plans, collecting/compiling data and monitoring assessment results toward the improvement of processes throughout the institution. The Core Assessment Team reports compiled information to the Institutional Effectiveness Committee on an annual basis. Core Assessment Team members may be found at: http://www.arapahoe.edu/about-acc/presidents-office/assessment/core-assessment-team-members
  4. Leadership Team. ACC's Leadership Team is composed of the President, Executive Vice President, Vice President for Instruction, the Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, all Deans of the College, Directors of the College, the chairs of the Classified and Administrative Assemblies and the President of Faculty Senate. All departments of the College are represented by this group. Members of the Leadership Team report information from their respective areas to Leadership Team members and, in turn, report information gathered from the various areas of the College to the employees in their respective departments. Decisions of key importance to the College are approved and/or made by this group. The Leadership Team is committed to all assessment efforts and the continuous improvement of institutional effectiveness in stimulating, facilitating and supporting student learning.

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