Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education
Background and Rationale for Assessment
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
Step 4: Campus-Wide Logistics
While the assessment audit is being conducted, look at logistics from a campus-wide perspective. Plan how the steering team will educate the campus at-large.
Create a training dissemination plan. Because assessment is new to many instructors, you must start at the lower levels of the cognitive domain, vocabulary and general recall about assessment, and allow time for reflection and application.
Determine whether the
training will begin with a small pilot group (general education
committee), a dedicated group of leaders (department chairs council), or a
particular discipline area (science, English, etc)?
*Think about the most effective grouping for training. Mixing disciplines in the initial stages can be very effective (e.g. art and agriculture, history and Spanish). However, training later on should concentrate within similar disciplines. Discipline groups are important when finalizing SLOs and assessment tools. Will you use the department or division chairs and disseminate the training via disciplines? Will you use the staff development and flex days for voluntary participation?
Map out opportunities for dialogue. Design and create opportunities for multidisciplinary training early in the process. Plan for discipline specific training later concerning course and program outcomes and assessment facilitated by those from the core training group that are not members of that discipline. While this may sound odd, it levels the playing field allowing younger faculty to have input as well as older faculty. Not always, but occasionally, older and powerfully outspoken faculty can be very resistant to assessment (anything “new” for that matter). Having an outside facilitator that will recognize and encourage participation is very helpful. In addition, instructional assistants and classified members should be encouraged to participate and share their thoughts. Some campuses have created a specific weekly lunch time where faculty meet to discuss assessment initiatives, others have campus-wide dialogue hour to share data and get new ideas.
Resources and Links
Modesto Junior College Learning Outcome Institute
There are several examples of community college practices at The RP Center for Student Success Look at the way Santa Ana College worked GE SLOs through the nursing program and into individual courses
*Several key features in this plan are a result of analyzing data and feedback from over 300 faculty and administrators attending SLO and Assessment workshop training. These essential features are marked with an asterisk and represent recurring concerns or statements from community faculty and administrators throughout California.