Isothermal Community College

Institutional Assessment

Assessment Manual

Program-level Student Learning Outcomes

The process of creating goals and designing assessments for a program is important, but it is only the first part. Taking what is listed and conducting the research and reflection on the work of the program is equally important. However, determining the modifications, what changes to make if the results fall below the predetermined threshold, is of the utmost importance.

The APS documents the thought process that the Program Leader or Lead Instructor went through, often with peer input, to systematically consider modifying a program goal or student learning outcome. Stating the goals/outcomes on Part I of the APS can be done simply and easily in the fall and/or spring. Carrying out the collaborative thought process to assess and modify goals or outcomes takes place throughout the year.

The College has designated two reporting units that use different APS forms: one for educational programs and one for service & support programs. Each degree (including associates, certificates, and diplomas) offered at the College is an educational program. The forms’ significant difference is between the use of “goals” for service and “outcomes” for academics. In addition, Lead Instructors complete the educational APS form, and Program Leaders complete the service & support APS form.

Assessment Plan Summary (APS) Part I

Part I of the APS asks for three to six goals for Service & Support areas or five to nine intended student learning outcomes (slos) for Educational Programs. The related assessment tools will generate the results. A skilled assessor will make sure that each stated goal or outcomes is assessed by at least one, but usually two, assessment tools. In addition, Part I contains the program (not department or institution) mission statement, a description of the program review team, and the location of back up data, such as completed logs or surveys.

The APS I forms with directions and an example for both areas are found below. Directions for submitting are found in the sidebar of this page.

Area

Instructions & Example

Fillable Form

Educational Programs

For Reference To Save as, then Complete

Service & Support Areas

For Reference To Save as, then Complete



Assessment Plan Summary (APS) Part II

APS Part II provides the results gathered through the assessment tools (also known as the actual program goal or actual student learning outcome) listed in Part I in comparison to a pre-determined threshold. If the results for a listed goal or intended student learning outcome fall below the threshold, then it will be necessary to form a modification and to state it in the final section of the APS Part II. Even if your results fall at or above your threshold, list the goal(s) and state, “No recommendations needed at this time.”

The APS I forms with directions and an example for both areas are found below. Directions for submitting are found in the sidebar of this page.

Area

Instructions & Example

Fillable Form

Educational Programs

For Reference To Save as, then Complete

Service & Support Areas

For Reference To Save as, then Complete



For Educational Programs

Program assessment in academics should be, like learning itself, intrinsically motivated. Why assess student learning outcomes at a program level? The only adequate answer is because instructors want to improve the lives of their students.

Master instructors desire evidence that what they have defined as student learning in their program has occurred at the standard they set. While it may feel that assessment outside of instructors’ control, the opposite is true. The decisions of what student learnings are in each program, what level of performance is acceptable level for each outcome, and how to make meaningful changes to assure program quality are all in the hands of the instructor.

Four components of an educational program report

  • APS Parts I & II
  • Program matrix
  • General Education analysis
  • Program Indicator analysis
APS and Program Matrix

The APS, described above, is focused on Program Student Learning Outcomes, which is the program-specific abilities a graduate will have upon completing the degree, diploma, or certificate.

To ensure that the program’s course of study adequately addresses the stated Program Student Learning Outcomes, Lead Instructors should work with their deans to create a Program Matrix. The Program Matrix depicts the connection between coursework and program goals. Both program-specific and general educational student learning outcomes are to be charted on either one or two matrices. Deans have matrices for all existing programs for Lead Instructors to review and update.

For a primer on assessing student learning, see “Assessment Quickies." By Dr. Michelle Saint-Germain. To watch the series on YouTube, go to http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL79D89A1AADE7029B.

General Education Competencies

The College expects all Associate students to achieve a proficient level of ability in the following skills: writing, quantitative, technology, critical thinking, information literacy, and presentation. To capture student achievement, each student must maintain a portfolio of artifacts in each competency. Rubrics for each skill are found on the intranet.

In the student’s capstone course, he or she will review the collected work and write a graduate essay. Programs support this process by helping students identify appropriate artifacts from their courses. In addition, it is expected that program content supports the development of the general education competencies. The portfolio is also an excellent tool for programs to use to track program-specific student learning outcomes.

Program Indicators

Another piece of program-level reporting involves reviewing and evaluating aggregate data, such as course and program retention. Lead Instructors are expected to work with their deans to determine thresholds and any modifications that may be necessary if the data falls below the expected level.

After consulting with the Lead Instructor, the deans report any modifications determined on the Department Analysis Report. The Office of Assessment, Planning, and Research will provide the deans with the required Program Indicators.

Assessment Plan Summary (APS)

Submitted by: 

Lead Instructor or Program Leader


Due

  • Lead Instructors: Check-out
  • All others: June 30th
Scope
  • All academic degrees submit 5-9 Program Student Learning Outcomes
  • All administrative support & community/public service and academic & student support units, as determined by the appropriate College Council member, submit 3-6 goals
Performance Appraisal vs. Program Assessment

Bloom's Taxonomy Resource