Assessment of Student Learning

Located here are some helpful tools to assist you as you complete assessments and/or to understand assessment at Jackson College. View our handbook and assessment table below for explanation. Also below is a link to the official Jackson College Plan of Assessment.


COURSE LEVEL ASSESSMENT

Course Level Assessment is based upon the course learning objectives located in the official course outline. Analysis occurs and changes are reported (one/year) in the link to Course Assessment of Student Learning – Of Course Objectives (from the Official Course Outline). In addition to direct measures of student learning, faculty may also elect to sample one of more indirect measures, such as student evaluations or other surveys. Analysis occurs and changes are reported in the APRP (once/year).

Assessment at the Course Level

To what extent do students learn what they are supposed to learn in this course? How do we know?

Within the structure of each course, student learning is frequently measured. The measures vary (tests, exams, homework, research papers, laboratory evaluations, performance measures) based on the nature of the course and the specific course objectives for student learning. Typically, faculty assess more than once for each learning objective identified in the official course outline, which also by design assures equivalence across sections of a course, and provides guidance to faculty on the distribution of time and effort devoted to the identified course outcomes. Just as our classroom examples, demonstrations, and metaphors are adapted to each student and group of students, so too our means of assessment of student learning at the course level are adapted to the outcomes we expect and the goals we define for successful student performance. The aggregate of these individual measures of student learning forms the basis for assigning grades at the end of the course. While the final grade distribution reveals clearly the rate of student success, both faculty and students need more frequent and specific information if the process of learning is to succeed. Ideally, we measure learning often and provide quick, definitive and discrete feedback to students, so they can improve the efficiency of their efforts. At the same time, we realize nearly effortless improvements in delivery; as we get to know our students and their abilities better, we provide better instruction. On some occasions, we craft major changes in a course, and then evaluate how those changes impact subsequent student learning. Ultimately, the common goal of improved student learning and efficient teaching is realized. This cycle of continuous measurement, evaluation, and improvement guides our efforts.

As faculty, we report our course level assessment experiences in our APRP each Winter semester. We may also find common ground and common goals by sharing our experiences with colleagues, particularly colleagues who teach the same course or courses. Because we measure student learning in consistent ways, we can track improvement over time. We may also use this information to assist new faculty as they acculturate to JC, and to document the need for additional funding for course level improvements in equipment, materials, or scheduling formats. As both teachers and learners, we may also choose to share our experiences with colleagues across disciplines or departments, learning from each other and adopting each other’s practices when advantageous to do so. Indeed, sharing our experiences with helping students learn often leads to cross-discipline classroom visits and improved collegial relationships.

Classroom Assessment Techniques

How successful was this class session? How do we know?

Within courses, but not part of course assessment strategies, is a special role for classroom assessment techniques, a procedure made popular by Angelo and Cross (19xx). Procedures such as the One Minute Paper, the Muddiest Point, or the Critical Incident Assessment Questionnaire, help us to know what students learned or failed to learn during a specific class session. These assessments, usually anonymous, help us to fine-tune our instruction, but are patently insufficient as direct measures of student achievement of the learning outcomes for the course. Nonetheless, they are often very informative and helpful, and are to be encouraged. Moreover, their use conveys to students our tactical commitment to improvement of student learning, and signifies that we are a learning organization.

Course #Course TitleCourse OutlinePathway
wdt_IDCourse #Course TitleCourse OutlinePathway
1 ACC 115 Payroll Accounting Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
2 ACC 130 Quickbooks Pro Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
3 ACC 214 Income Tax Accounting Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
4 ACC 216 Financial Accounting Concepts Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
5 ACC 231 Prin Accounting I Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
6 ACC 232 Prin Accounting II Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
7 ACC 234 Managerial Accounting Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
8 ACC 240 Int Accounting Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
9 ACC 245 Internship Course Outline Business & Computer Technology
10 ACC 246 Vol. Tax Internship Course Outline Business & Computer Technology



Course Review

Course review occurs to assure that each reference to the course and each section taught adheres to the same basic standards for the course. It monitors the documentation of the course, the quality of the course across sections, the currency and the transferability. This process occurs for each course once every five years.


Other Related Links:

Assessment at the Program or Discipline Level

How well does this program prepare students for work or transfer? How do we know?

While some students enroll in one or a few courses to satisfy their goals, many students pursue programs of study designed to provide employable skills or to facilitate transfer to a university. Each type of program has unique expectations of student achievement in terms of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and each program measures them in highly articulated fashion. Where appropriate, such strategies as capstone courses, portfolios, summative performance measures, and external validation measures such as licensure exams and transfer experiences, may all play a role. In addition, across all types of programs, faculty are sensitive to issues of student persistence and retention, rates of successful completion of courses within the program, and the extent to which students in later courses are integrating content and concepts across courses within the program. In some cases, measures of student achievement at the program or discipline level are based on direct demonstration of achievement in specific courses focused on capstone or integrative skills. In other cases, measures are more difficult to craft, and assignments are designed to elicit evidence of successful attainment. In many occupational programs, faculty confer with each other as a result of their supervision of students in performance environments. In transfer-oriented or pre-baccalaureate programs, faculty within the core discipline(s) identify integrative abilities expected of students who have successfully completed a significant course sequence, and create means to assess those outcomes. At the program or discipline level, assessment is focused on the core competencies integral to the program, and the abilities of students at program completion, whether their goals are employment, transfer, or both.

Assessment outcomes at the program or discipline level are reported as part of the program/discipline review process, which occurs on a five-year basis. Generally, the review of these data stimulates discussion among program or discipline faculty, which often leads to plans for improvement of student learning. Additionally, the reporting of these data at Academic Council often stimulates further discussion and may lead to innovative action plans, the outcomes of which are similarly focused on improvement of student learning and performance.




Program/Discipline Review

Program/discipline review assesses how well the program prepares the student for work or for transfer. This process occurs on a five-year basis.

Toolbox

GENERAL EDUCATION OUTCOMES (GEO) AND ESSENTIAL COMPETENCIES (EC)

Assessment of General Education at the Degree Level

Each college or university defines general education in a way consistent with their mission and student population. At Jackson College, our definition is reflected in both our published philosophy of general education, and in our assessment strategies.

General Education Philosophy

A message to students from JC faculty:

General education facilitates the development of an informed and educated person who recognizes and respects the diversity of communities, thinks critically and is proficient at fundamental skills. General education engages students in active learning by providing opportunities to observe, analyze and evaluate, and to apply these skills critically to problems. General education fosters the development of responsible, ethical human beings dedicated to improving their own lives and the lives of others through work, family life, social and political action, cultural awareness and service to others.

Because JC’s vision includes a variety of educational, cultural and economic goals, the general education requirements involve both traditional intellectual pursuits and practical skill development. As the general education requirements are designed to ensure breadth and depth of knowledge, they are met through carefully designed programs of study. Programs of study help students meet these goals by addressing each of the skill areas identified in the General Education Outcomes. These are skills which the JC Board of Trustees has determined students should develop or enhance while enrolled in the college.

General Education Outcomes

  1. Write clearly, concisely and intelligibly
  2. Speak clearly, concisely and intelligibly
  3. Demonstrate computational skills and mathematical reasoning
  4. Demonstrate scientific reasoning
  5. Understand human behavior and social systems, and the principles which govern them.
  6. Understand aesthetic experience and artistic creativity
  7. Understand and respect the diversity and interdependence of the world’s peoples and cultures

In addition to the GEOs listed above, the college is committed to helping students develop three Essential Competencies. These skills are embedded in each program of study, and are shaped by the program focus and the pathway within which the program is hosted.

Essential Competencies

  1. Think critically and act responsibly
  2. Work productively with others, recognizing individual contributions to group success
  3. Exhibit technological literacy

Assessment of General Education Outcomes and Essential Competencies

At graduation, to what extent have students achieved the transcendent abilities defined by the college? How do we know?

Students are certified eligible for graduation only on the professional judgment of the faculty. Only faculty members can recommend a student for the award of college credit, and for an associate degree or certificate of program completion. As a faculty, we have collectively identified ten major outcomes we expect students to achieve prior to the awarding of the associate degree. Not coincidentally, we refer to these competencies or abilities as General Education Outcomes (GEOs) and Essential Competencies (ECs). While each graduating student will achieve each outcome, each will, depending on program of study, achieve these outcomes in various ways, just as Rome can be reached via various roads. Similarly, virtually all faculty members in all courses contribute some effort to the development of these outcomes.

Just as the pathways to the achievement of the GEOs and ECs vary, so too do the strategies faculty members employ to develop these abilities in their students, and the methods faculty use to assess student achievement of these outcomes. To make the assessment of student achievement at the degree level both possible and meaningful, faculty employ various strategies to assess these outcomes. To facilitate this effort, guidance is at hand. Working cooperatively with the General Education Committee, the Assessment Committee drafted templates of rubrics for the specification of learning outcomes and their assessment, for each GEO at both the core competence and contextual competence levels. While the specifications of student competencies (leftmost two columns in each rubric) are fixed or consistent, the strategies for assessment and success criteria are adapted for each general education course and for each program or pathway. General Education courses are designed to develop these outcomes at the level of core competence, while the level of contextual competence is developed by the student’s entire program of study. For each general education course, responsible (lead) faculty members edit the rubric to identify the strategies which the course will use to achieve the GEO outcomes. Assessment at the level of core competence is conducted whenever the course is offered, and the results are reported to the assessment committee by the lead faculty member for the course, at least annually. In this effort, lead faculty have a special role in aggregating data across sections of a course. The assessment committee provides forms for individual faculty, both full-time and adjunct, to easily report their individual course section data to the lead faculty member, who then forwards the aggregated data electronically to the committee.

Assessment of GEOs at the level of contextual competence, as well as ECs at the level of contextual competence, is conducted on a cyclical basis, with one GEO and one EC selected for each year. Students in or approaching their final enrollment period prior to graduation will be selected to participate in an activity developed by the faculty most qualified in that specific GEO or EC, in concert with the assessment committee, and adapted to the specific pathway or program. Assessment data and exemplars of student performance will be submitted to the assessment committee for analysis.

In some years, JC has also employed the CAAP test as a means of tracking student progress in a number of nationally-normed skill areas as they pursue the associate degree. In addition, the college has used other indirect measures of student engagement and progress. We collectively use this information to improve recruitment, retention, and program design. As a college, we share aggregated data with our Board of Trustees, who have included this requirement in one of their annual “Ends” reports, congruent with their policy governance model. In all cases, the data are used to improve student learning and experience at the college and beyond.


General Education Outcomes (GEO)

Because the vision of Jackson College includes a variety of educational, cultural and economic goals, the general education requirements involve both traditional intellectual pursuits and practical skill development. As the general education requirements are designed to ensure breadth and depth of knowledge, they are met through carefully designed programs of study. Programs of study help students meet these goals by addressing each of the skill areas identified in the General Education Outcomes. These are skills which the Jackson College Board of Trustees has determined students should develop or enhance while enrolled in the college.

General Education Outcomes  – List of Courses by GEO

GEO Description Core Competence Contextual Competence
 1 Write clearly, concisely and intelligibly Core Rubric Contextual Rubric
 2 Speak clearly, concisely and intelligibly Core Rubric Contextual Rubric
 3 Demonstrate computational skills and mathematical reasoning Core Rubric Contextual Rubric
 4 Demonstrate scientific reasoning Core Rubric Contextual Rubric
 5 Understand human behavior and social systems and the principles which govern them Core Rubric Contextual Rubric
 6 Understand aestehetic experience and artistic creativity Core Rubric Contextual Rubric
 7 Understand and respect the diverity and interdependence of the world’s peoples and cultures Core Rubric Contextual Rubric

Essential Competencies (EC)

In addition to the GEOs, the college is committed to helping students develop three Essential Competencies. These skills are embedded in each program of study, and are shaped by the program focus and the pathway within which the program is hosted.

EC Description Contextual Competence
 1 Think critically and act responsibly Rubric
 2 Work productively with others, recognizing individual contributions to group success Rubric
 3 Exhibit technological literacy Rubric

Reported Outcomes

Associate Degree Outcomes (ADOs) – Benchmark & Trends

For each course reporting a general education outcome, the lead faculty member aggregates the raw data reflecting performance against the rubric. For each item of the rubric, the number of students attaining the criterion as well as the number of students attempting the assessment are reported. Data collection software then sum these reports across courses, sorting by ADO. At the same time, the expected level of performance is calculated as a weighted factor. Since different courses may report each semester or annually, and since faculty may adjust the expected level of performance based on the collected data from prior years, both the percentage of successful students and the level of expectation may change for each academic year.

At the same time, due also to the selection of courses reporting each year, and to shifts in student performance resulting from numerous factors (e.g. faculty assigned to a course, course changes resulting from prior assessments, course sequencing within programs, number and location of sections offered, section size, time of day, etc.) the variability of averages (means) of performance across the taxonomic elements of each rubric is also subject to change.

For each general education outcome (ADO until Fall 2016, GEO or EC thereafter), two graphical displays of the aggregate data are presented. The first depicts the percentage of students achieving criterion, along with shifting levels of the expected rate of success. The second image depicts tending means of student achievement and variability of performance against the changing level of expected success. Each depiction provides essential information, but only the combination of the two depictions can tell the whole story.

ADO Description Benchmark
 1 Write clearly, concisely and intelligibly ADO 1 Benchmark
ADO 1 Trend
 2 Speak clearly, concisely and intelligibly ADO 2 Benchmark
ADO 2 Trend
 3 Demonstrate computational skills and mathematical reasoning ADO 3 Benchmark
ADO 3 Trend
 4 Demonstrate scientific reasoning ADO 4 Benchmark
ADO 4 Trend
 5 Understand human behavior and social systems ADO 5 Benchmark
ADO 5 Trend
 6 Understand aesthetic experience and artistic creativity ADO 6 Benchmark
ADO 6 Trend
 7 Think critically ADO 7 Benchmark
ADO 7 Trend
 8 Make responsible decisions in personal and professional contexts ADO 8 Benchmark
ADO 8 Trend
 9 Work productively with others, recognizing individual contributions to group success ADO 9 Benchmark
ADO 9 Trend
 10 Understand and respect the diversity and interdependence of the world’s peoples and cultures ADO 10 Benchmark
ADO 10 Trend