Discussion: Connecting the Levels of Assessment Your Learning Resources this week describe different approaches to assessment at the course, departmental, and institutional levels. Because of today’s accountability requirements, most institutions at least attempt to gather institution-wide data on student learning. This data can provide useful indicators of how well students are doing overall. However, for faculty concerned about student learning at the program, departmental, or course level, it often raises more questions than provides answers. Connecting or coordinating the levels of assessment within an institution can be a valuable starting point for faculty to further investigate what students are learning. For this week’s Discussion, consider the following scenario: You are serving as a department chair at your large, urban community college. Your institution has just completed its first annual college-wide assessment of your institutional general education learning outcomes. The outcomes focus on written communication, critical thinking, and quantitative analysis. To gather data on these outcomes, the institution administers a test, developed by the college’s faculty, to students who qualify for graduation the term that the test is administered.
The following summary of the results has been distributed: Benchmark Average Score Target Score % of Students Written Communication 72 % 80 % 34 % Critical Thinking 65 % 80 % 22 % Quantitative Analysis 43 % 80 % 18 %
You participated on the team that developed the test, so you are fairly sure that the measures are valid. Since it’s the first year of implementation, you’re not surprised to see that students aren’t hitting the benchmarks, but you see this as important data that you can use.
By Day 3 Post your initial response to the following questions:
•What assessment methods might you use to find out what students are learning or where they are having trouble in your courses?
•What strategies might you use to collaborate with your colleagues to find out what students are learning or where they are having trouble in your department or in the degree programs you offer?