Progress: Concerns and Solutions
The same report outlines several weaknesses of the system and
gives an overview of how the team approached the concerns:
- Voluntary CAAP testing for value-added studies produced a
small sample. Solution: The subcommittee created a new system
which tests incoming students during their orientation courses.
Faculty discussion of how to improve student engagement during the
second (sophomore) testing cycle ensued. A capstone course
experience was discussed as a viable alternative.
- Alignment reports filed and summarized in the Spring of 2005
indicated a broad and deep plan to assess all six of the General
Education Competencies; however, reports actually filed resulted in
insufficient data in two areas. Solution: The Core
Team, at the recommendation of the general education subcommittee,
devised a data collection cycle which would focus on two
competencies per year and would align standards across the faculty
so that data aggregated would be statistically significant.
- Faculty reported receiving mixed messages from Core Team
members. Solution: The Core Team recognizes that
creating an organic system has led to multiple interpretations
about the parameters of the system and the physical requirements of
the Assessment Folder. The Core Team has made a concerted effort to
assign members to certain areas so that continuity is provided for
faculty and confusion is minimized.
- Faculty reported difficulty using the Assessment Folder
system. Solution: The Core Team has provided
multiple training sessions but ultimately recognizes that the
interface is confusing for those accustomed to web-based
documentation or those without current technology skills. It is
hoped that the recent purchase of Sharepoint software, which
allows personal folder storage in the system, will eliminate
problems associated with email and attachments, as well as saving
to personal hard drives. The Core Team is also exploring commercial
databases which may mimic more traditional web-based products and
provide a better comfort level for faculty.
Continuing Concerns and Solutions
There are some areas of concern which do not have simple
resolutions but which require major shifts in attitude or
- Despite considerable time and effort in planning faculty
development, some faculty members perceive the assessment process
as an administrative hoop rather than an integral part of the
formalized teaching and learning process.
Solution: On-going mentoring by committee members and
area facilitators to help those faculty members discover assessment
tools and practices which they can perceive as beneficial to their
- The College had not attained the level of student engagement
in the process that we had hoped for. Solution:
one member of the Core Team has been charged with coordinating
student engagement, and the brochure and partnership with PSY 100
faculty have improved student engagement.
- Some course outlines for the College still reflect the
initial objectives and assessments previously developed under the
old mission statement. There is some disconnect between objectives
being measured for assessment and objectives stated for course
completion. Solution: An all-day workshop on course outlines and syllabi helped to
align classroom outcomes with the stated outcomes on course
outlines. Faculty were excited to revisit earlier work on
assessment and see how much their own systems had matured. Although
there is still a need to bring the adjunct faculty together for the
same workshop, the majority of class syllabi reflect outcomes which
are aligned to the mission and goals of the College.