Back See this section in context: Criterion 3 Core Component 3A
3A.4: Multiple Measures
Assessment at Sauk is an integrated system that combines data from the classroom and from various other sources to enable regular discussion of student learning in a variety of settings. The type of measure is selected for its appropriateness to the nature of the assessment, but an examination of campus practices shows that a combination of internal and external measures exist, that indirect and direct assessment each have their place, and that some assessments are formative and others are summative. A sampling of practices displays the array:
- Classroom measures for college-level classes and for general education competencies are based on student performance of outcomes. Each submission of data must include a description of the assignment on which the results are based. At the course level, the course outlines provide clear guidance as to whether an instructor may choose the assessment or comply with a course-specific tool. At the program and area level, the faculty groups determine where the data for a project will come from. For example, College Algebra (MAT 121) uses a common final exam from which data is collected, aggregated and analyzed. The Communications Area projects generally direct faculty to select from any appropriate writing assignment or speech and assess it against a common rubric.
- Besides the regular collection of classroom data, internal data about student learning is gleaned from the general education projects conducted by the Core Team each year. These projects seek to answer questions about student learning at an institutional level.
- External data is valued as confirmation of student learning. Programs apply appropriate licensure feedback, and transfer areas are able to make use of grade reports from some of the universities to which students most commonly transfer. These data are reported on Operational Plans or during program review, where they may be applied to decision-making about budgetary and curricular change. Area faculty have selected from an array of data to focus on the most highly valued sources. So, for example, Business values transfer grades earned at 4-year universities; Nursing's NCLEX scores are reported on the Operational Plans; and Technology area has requested additional questions on the regular employment survey to meet its needs.
- Formative assessment begins with initial placement testing designed to ensure that students begin the learning process at an appropriate level and continues through various course-specific tools, which are described on each syllabus as they relate to outcomes established in course outlines. Most of the area and program assessment efforts of the faculty are formative in nature.
- Summative data comes from a variety of sources. Administration of the CAAP test to a sampling of prospective graduates every three years or so provides information that allows the college to compare to peer institutions, as well as state and national benchmarks. Health careers receive detailed licensing examination results that they can use for program improvement. Program data aggregated from internships and “capstone” courses provides summative data for career programs.
- Although not regulated by the Assessment Plan, the degree to which data-influenced decision-making is embedded in Sauk's culture is revealed in the degree to which the various support units of the college depend on data to assess the effectiveness of their programs. For example, the Operational Plan Templates require that action items report “results that are sought” as a way to benchmark project success (Appendix). When the project is complete, another column reports “results obtained.” This combination sets up a similar sequence of reporting data, discussing results, and taking appropriate actions that characterizes the academic assessment process.
By using a wide variety of data from varying sources, the faculty is able to benefit from the multi-dimensional view of student learning to improve instruction, curriculum, and the institution.