Assessment of Student Learning in General Education

Assessment of Student Learning
in General Education
AAHE/NCA 2003 Assessment Workshop
Omaha, Nebraska ● June 2003
Mesa ● Arizona
Gail Mee ● Dean of Instruction
Mesa Community College
[email protected]
Session Objectives
Participants will:
 Recognize the characteristics of a
successful program to assess general
education outcomes.
 Determine how assessment results can
be used to improve the curriculum,
instruction, and student learning.
Why Assess Student Learning in
General Education?
 To respond to demands for
accountability from external
 To provide evidence of instructional
Why Assess Student Learning in
General Education?
 To document successes and identify
weaknesses in the general education
 To improve the curriculum,
instruction, and student learning in
general education
The Language of Assessment
What is Institutional
A comprehensive evaluation of
the degree to which the entire
college is accomplishing all
aspects of its educational
Institutional Effectiveness
 Describe indicators that the college’s
mission is being achieved.
 Example: Students will express
satisfaction with the quality of the
instructional program.
What is Student Outcomes
The measurement and
documentation of the degree to
which students are attaining
specific learning outcomes
defined and valued by faculty
and the college community.
Student Learning Outcomes
 Describe, in measurable terms, what
students will be able to do, what they
will know, and/or attitudes they will
hold as the result of a program of
 Example: “Students will be able to
construct and deliver a clear, wellorganized verbal presentation.”
Levels of Assessment
Levels of Student Outcomes
 Classroom
 Course
 Program: above the course
 General Education
 Degrees (e.g., AA, BA, MA)
Purpose of Assessment
“The overriding purpose of assessment is to
understand how educational programs are
working and to determine whether they are
contributing to student growth and
development. Hence, the ultimate emphasis
of assessment is on programs rather than
on individual students.”
Palomba & Banta, 1999
Assessment Essentials
Characteristics of a
Successful Program to
Assess General Education
Characteristics of a Successful Program
to Assess General Education
1. Assessment of student learning
begins with educational values.
AAHE, 2001
2. The college makes a long-term
3. The CAO and other instructional
leaders understand and believe in
value of assessment.
CAO has responsibility for leadership of
CAO encourages participation and provides
support for faculty involvement and professional
CAO ensures that results are used appropriately.
4. Faculty lead the program and own the
Faculty define student learning outcomes.
Faculty identify or develop appropriate tools for
Faculty implement the assessment program.
Faculty use assessment results to make
programmatic changes and improve learning.
5. Faculty lead the program and own the
results, (continued)
Faculty governing body is an integral part of the
assessment process.
A majority of faculty are knowledgeable about
assessment vocabulary and practice.
Faculty pursue development opportunities related
to assessment.
6. Technical expertise and support are
Research Office plays a formal support role, or
knowledgeable staff or faculty play that role.
Roles of faculty and technical support staff are
clearly defined.
7. Learning outcomes are clearly defined
at the program level.
The difference between “course” and “program”
assessment is clear.
The college has clearly identified “programs”.
Student learning is assessed at the completion of a
8. Measurement tools align directly with
learning outcomes.
Outcomes are clearly defined before measures are
Selected measures match the defined outcomes.
Direct and Indirect Measures
 Direct Measures: directly assess the
skills and abilities described in the
learning outcomes.
 Indirect Measures: rely on reports
from students and others about
student attitudes, experiences, or
what they have learned.
Measures aligned with outcomes
Example: Mesa Community College (AZ)
 Learning Outcome Area: Arts and
Humanities Outcomes:
 Demonstrate
Knowledge of human creations
Awareness of context
Impact on audience
Evaluate creations
Arts and Humanities
Outcomes Assessment
Visual Arts
Famous Words
Music and Its Context
A Story Told – and Imagined
visual arts
Visual Arts
The following photo was taken
of a recent art exhibit
1. After seeing it, describe your immediate
personal response to this exhibit.
Dream Goes
to Pot
Kate Millet - 1970
2. The title and date of the
work are now displayed.
Describe how this
information might affect your
perceptions of the work.
3. Identify elements in this
particular exhibit that qualify
it to be considered art.
4. Imagine (and describe)
possible historical, political,
and/or economic contexts
(circumstances) in which this
exhibit might have been
“The American Dream
Goes to Pot”
5. Finally, consider the
creator’s message. Describe
two or more differing
experiences or reactions
other observers might carry
9. The program has a viable research
There is a systematic plan identifying who is
assessed, how they will be assessed, etc.
(for example, longitudinal design, pre- post
design, cross-sectional design, matched group)
10. Sound methodology is used for data
collection and analysis.
There is a systematic plan for gathering, analyzing,
reporting, and disseminating the results.
11. Results are used by faculty to
improve learning.
A process is in place for sharing results with
Faculty are making changes to curriculum and
instruction based upon assessment results.
12. Assessment is linked to college
Results are used to develop department plans.
Results of assessment inform college planning and
budgeting decisions.
Sustained Assessment
for the Long Term
 Create an expectation for assessment
among students
 Catalog, schedule, student handbook,
student newspaper, web sites
 Disseminate the results of assessment
 Annual assessment reports, faculty
publications, newsletters, web sites
 Constantly evaluate the outcomes,
measures, procedures, and results
Sustaining Assessment, continued.
 Link assessment results to planning
and budgeting processes.
 Engage faculty in decision-making
during every stage of the process.
 Allow the program to evolve and
Assessment and Student Learning
 Student outcomes assessment places
learning at the center of the academic
program and the student experience.