Moraine Valley Community College || Assessment of Student Academic Achievement || Course and Program Assessment

Course and Program Assessment—Flow charts for developing department exams and making effective use of the results


Flow Chart 1: Developing the department exam

Stages Specific considerations
Select the course to be assessed
  1. Pick a winner. Think about the "readiness" factor. We want this to be a success.
  2. Aim for the widest student coverage: multiple sections, multiple teachers, multiple instructional formats.
  3. Enlist teachers who are already confident in their teacher and classroom assessment practices, and comfortable working with learning outcomes.
  4. Refer to the department assessment plan.
Review and confirm the course learning outcomes
  1. Be sure that the learning outcomes describe what we want students to learn, and accurately reflect the course as it is currently taught.
  2. Revise, delete, and add as needed. Get approval from your Department Chair and the Asst. V.P. for Academic Programs for any changes.
  3. Reach agreement among all faculty for any changes.
  4. Use the MV version of Bloom's Taxonomy for writing and measurable learning outcomes.
Select the best assessment tool
  1. Use a direct method of observing and measuring student achievement.
  2. Select a format that has already been used with success by individual teachers in their classrooms.
  3. Keep the length and scope manageable-no more than 50% of the total exam period-to allow individual faculty to customize the remaining exam time.
  4. Align the questions closely to the learning outcomes, and
  5. Assess only what can be measured accurately and fairly in the chosen format.
Create the assessment tool
  1. Begin early; this may take more time than expected.
  2. Create a tool with balance and context that reflects the course as it is: (a.) described in the course outline, and (b.) currently being taught in the classrooms.
  3. Create a tool that will endure, and can be used in subsequent semesters to measure changes in student achievement over time.
Administer the assessment tool
  1. Decide:
    * When
    * Where
    * Who is involved
    * Testing dates/times
    * Security procedures
    * Scoring procedures
  2. Notify everyone involved
  3. Prepare student test materials
  4. Discuss the procedures and anticipate problems.

Flow Chart 2: Making effective use of the results

Stages Specific considerations
Look closely at the results information
  1. Bring as many people as possible into the discussion.
  2. Look for significant findings:
    * Student achievement measured against learning outcomes.
    * Effective of environmental variables on student achievement.
    * Test construction barriers to valid results.
    * Textbook appropriateness.
Develop ideas for change
  1. Keep an open mind:
    * Don't discount ideas prematurely.
    * Don't cling to unsupported anecdotal beliefs.
  2. Ask important questions:
    * How would a change to curriculum or instruction lead to improved student learning?
    * What level of faculty buy-in would be required to fully implement a change?
    * After a change has been implemented, how would we know that student learning has improved?
Separate and prioritize the ideas
  1. Location:
    * Individual classroom
    * Some classrooms
    * All classrooms
  2. Conditions and resources
    * Within the current
    * Requiring new or different
  3. Priorities
    * Most important
    * Most urgent
    * Most faculty support
    * Most administrative support
Create and implement a plan for change
  1. Ask important questions:
    * What are the current conditions (that need to be changed?
    * What specifically needs to be improved?
    * How do the student assessment results support the recommended changes?
    * What will the new conditions look like?
    * How will we get to the new conditions?
    * What new resources will be required?
    * How will we monitor and follow through?
  2. Get approvals.
  3. Get commitments.
  4. Implement the changes
Reassess student achievement to measure change
  1. Replicate earlier methods whenever possible—compare apples to apples.
  2. Document changes in student achievement.
  3. Look for correlation between changes to conditions and improvements in student achievement.
  4. Search for ways to quantify improvements—data and words.
  5. Celebrate successes.
  6. Report beyond the department.