Since the mid-1980s, Sinclair Community College has been recognized around the country as an established leader in assessment. The efforts of the Assessment Committee and the recent development of three Learning Challenge Grants related to assessment (Developing General Education Outcomes; Tools, Methods, and Processes; Learning Liaisons) are a testament to the College’s continued commitment. These three grants, while working on separate issues related to assessment, are part of a holistic vision to provide faculty, academic leadership, and others with a robust performance support system to implement continuous improvement of the curriculum and the instructional process. The three projects lead to an integrated, sustainable process and framework that embeds continuous improvement into curriculum and learning.
Through this project, Sinclair has a unique opportunity to build upon current strengths, to re-energize and refocus the College’s assessment process at an institutional level, and to implement assessment as a college-wide routine, institutionalized practice. This AQIP Assessment Project is a phased project that will integrate current assessment activities across campus; provide a framework for a common process to identify, capture, and study student outcomes at the class, course, program, division (if appropriate), and institution levels; drive a common set of general education learning outcomes for all students; and apply a consistent set of measurements to track success and provide a basis for continuous improvement.
Primary 1. Helping Students Learn
Related 3. Understanding Student and Stakeholder Needs
7. Measuring Effectiveness
8. Planning Continuous Improvement
Related AQIP Principles
D. A learning-centered environment
F. Collaboration and a shared institutional focus
A. A mission and vision that focus on serving students and other stakeholders
B. Broad-based faculty, staff and administrative involvement
I. Fact-based evidence gathering/thinking to support analysis and decision making
Sinclair needs a systemic, systematic approach to answer the all-important Learning College questions: (1) Did we improve and expand student learning? (2) How do we know? We see this AQIP project as a performance support mechanism to help us build viable curriculum and better understanding of what and how well students are learning at the class, course, program, division (if appropriate) and general education levels. This project facilitates the view of learning outcomes attainment across all levels of the institution; it also supports and documents our continuous improvement efforts.
Organizational Elements Affected by Project
Academic departments, student services departments, information technology, and planning and research department.
Processes Affected by Project
Curriculum proposal and review processes, program review process; assessment processes; instructional and institutional planning and reporting functions; program accreditation, budget process, data entry and information retrieval.
Definition of Process Measures
Process measures will include student learning outcomes in program review findings and percentage of curriculum revisions reporting a rationale connecting learning outcomes attainment data to the proposed curricular change. Process measures will also be considered related to improvements in the use of needs analysis data in planning, reporting, and budgeting processes; and in the streamlining of data entry and information retrieval processes.
Definition of Outcome Measures
• Clear definition of assessment for the institution.
• Documentation of Sinclair’s current assessment processes and procedures as well as ideal state vision and gaps.
• Best practices benchmarked.
• Measurable general education outcomes completely developed and approved by the College.
• Technological tools completely developed, beta tested, and required reports written and functioning.
• Percentage of courses with assessment methods and performance standards identified.
• Percentage of courses incorporating course outcomes, program outcomes, divisional outcomes (if appropriate), and general education outcomes.
• Technology solution researched, developed (or acquired) and implemented in support of institution-wide outcomes capture, tracking and analysis, integrating with existing systems and program review processes.
• Divisional assessment representatives (Learning Liaisons) identified, funded, and work initiated.
• Assessment buy-in through divisional promotion (surveys/focus group).
• Monthly recognition of assessment best practices communicated throughout institution.
• Percentage of chairs/faculty/learning liaisons trained in the first year.
• Percentage of chairs who report that they use the system (CMT, outcomes repository, general education assessment instruments) routinely.
• Results of expert review used to strengthen assessment plans.
• Perception surveys (using Lopez’ levels) of faculty, students and administrators.
• Data available in support of curricular effectiveness.
• Evidence of curriculum revisions reported via program review process that shows data-driven results/improvements.
• Findings from ongoing needs analyses for curriculum development and outcomes assessment inform future direction.
Year One – Current state of assessment at Sinclair documented and accessible via the Internet and other publications; general education outcomes approved; Curriculum Management Tool developed and beta tested; Learning Liaisons identified and work initiated; end-user training of newly developed tools.
Year Two – General education assessment methodology and instrumentation developed with limited pilot testing; research and implementation of institution-wide outcomes repository options completed. Systematic updates of the current and future state of assessment, including work plans, posted to and accessible via the Internet and other publications.
Year Three – Assessment process operational and enculturated.
Sinclair has established an AQIP Assessment Project Team and developed a formal project plan to meet the objectives of this project. The project will be led by a dean or director. The College’s AQIP Coordinator, participants from the Strategy Forum, and a project facilitator from our Strategic Project Management Office will join other stakeholders as team members. Our Delta Team Leadership Group will serve as the AQIP Steering Committee and monitor project status.
Sue Merrell, Team Leader for Taking Assessment to the Next Level