Course Level Outcomes Assessment

Course-level assessment is performed by aggregating data across all assessed sections of a course. The goal of course-level assessment is to identify course outcomes that students are meeting/exceeding and course outcomes for which students are not achieving acceptable levels of performance. Course-level assessment includes a cycle of improvement that involves assessing course outcomes, identifying the areas in which courses may need adjustments/improvements, and reassessing to evaluate the effectiveness of adjustments/improvements.

Common Assessment

Course-level assessment, the heart of ICC’s assessment process, involves the consistent measurement of students’ achievement of course outcomes, which is accomplished through the use of common assessment(s) that are embedded within courses.

Using a common assessment means that identical assessment(s) are embedded in every section of an individual course. These assignments must be a permanently embedded and a graded part of the course every time it is taught, even during semesters when the course is not being formally assessed.

This methodology is used to ensure reliable and valid evaluations of the students’ attainment of student learning outcomes (i.e., course outcomes, program/certificate outcomes, and general education outcomes) every time the course is taught.

Guidelines for Common Assessments

• The selection of common assessment(s) in a course is determined by full-time faculty in the department with consultation of division, if necessary.

• The embedded assessment(s) in a particular course must measure all of the learning outcomes associated with the course (i.e., course outcome, program/certificate outcomes, and student core competencies).

• In order to address all outcomes, more than one assessment may be necessary.

• The common assessment(s) is most often expected to be a culminating assignment. This requires students to demonstrate the highest level of learning indicated by the course learning outcome (e.g., synthesis, application, etc.).

Common Assessment NOT Necessarily Common Assignment/Exam

There are a number of options that can be used to embed a common assessment(s) in an individual course (as determined by full-time faculty in the department with consultation of division, if necessary):

(1) Departments can use identical assignments (e.g., a common final exam or the same paper assignment) across all sections of a course.

(2) Departments can offer similar assignments in all the sections of the course (e.g., each faculty member assigns a similar paper assignment) but evaluate the different assignments with a common rubric. This way, each faculty member teaching the course can have his/her own writing assignment but must use the common rubric to assess the final product.

(3) Departments can also have some elements of the assignment be common across sections. For example, a set of identical exam questions may be shared across sections, with the rest of the exam questions being created by the individual faculty member teaching the course. The common assessment should be created so that faculty members in their individual sections can fulfill the requirements of the assessment but still have autonomy.

Putting it all together

The assessment conducted in each course provides data on course, program, and general education learning. This is accomplished by ensuring that assessments are collecting data at the level of the course outcomes.

Robust Evaluation of Student Learning

Data for the entire assessment system is founded on having robust data at the course-level. For this reason, it is imperative that the assessments be accurate measurements of the students’ specific knowledge, skills, or values. This is also why any modification of a common assessment must be done at the departmental level and cannot be the choice of an individual faculty member.

Consistent Grading

The evaluation of the students’ performance must be consistent to be valid. All faculty must follow consistent guidelines for evaluating student performance so that all students are being evaluated in an identical way within and across sections of the course. It is imperative that the department clearly communicate the expectations of the assessment to all faculty teaching the course, to ensure consistent evaluation. Also, it is recommended that faculty make note of times when the rubric was difficult to apply to an assessment, and bring up this situation during departmental meetings.

Modifying Common Assessments

Modifications to a common assessment must be done at the departmental level. It is also imperative that assessment personnel are informed about these changes, so that adjustments can be made in the software to reflect the altered assessment. Department-level changes ensure that the assessments are agreed upon by the faculty as best practice and that the most appropriate connections are being made between course learning outcomes, program outcomes, and general education outcomes.

From Faculty Handbook for Student Learning Outcomes Assessment

Course Level Assessment Reports

Results for Course Level Outcomes Assessment Spring AY 2014

Results for Course Level Outcomes Assessment AY 2015

Results for Course Level Outcomes Assessment AY 2016

Rubric for Assessing Quality of Course Level Student Learning

2016 Course Mapping for Diversity Coming soon!

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