Student Development & Administrative Areas

Components of the Assessment Plan

What are the components of a typical assessment plan? At CCC our assessment plans are based on the Nichols Model and include the following five components:

Outcomes - What should student know or be able to perform? Measures - What methods will be used to measure achievement? Criteria - How will we know the outcomes have been achieved? Results - What were the findings? Use of Results - What changes could be made to improve results?

Suskie, Linda. Assessing Student Learning and Morante, Edward. Handbook on Outcomes Assessment.

Developing Outcomes for Administrative and Student Development Areas

Outcomes assessment occurs at different levels of the college but all outcome statements should be driven by the institution's mission statement. According to Middle States, outcomes at each level are "interconnected, complimentary and reciprocal". Ultimately, Middle States "...is concerned that the institution develops a coherent set of goals*, that those goals stem from the institutional mission, and that goals at the subordinate levels contribute to the attainment of goals at the higher levels." pg.12

So how do you determine what your department or area's outcomes should be? The outcomes selected should answer the following questions:

What does your area do to help the institution achieve its mission? How effective is your area's operation and how efficient are the processes? What skills, abilities, knowledge or values should the student be able to demonstrate as a result of interaction with your department or area?
Step 1: Determine what your Department/Area's does to support the institution's mission Step 2: Identify which institutional assessment goals your department or area supports Step 3: Identify those things which are most important to you and determine how you can measure those outcomes
Outcomes for Student Development and Administrative Departments/Areas may fall into one of three different categories:

Process or Operational Measures
Operational or Process Measure should provide metrics on the effectiveness or efficiency of your department/area. They help answer the questions are we doing what we say we do and are there ways to improve the services we provide in support of the college's mission.

Examples of Process/Operation Measures
Number of New Student Orientation sessions offered will increase Waiting times for EOF counselors will decrease

Measures of Satisfaction with services/client feedback
Measures of satisfaction are often a reflection on the effectiveness and efficiency of our department/area's operation

Examples of Satisfaction Outcome Statements

Students will be satisfied with services provided Workshop participants will be satisfied
Measures of Student Learning Student Learning Outcomes should be specific statements that describe the skills, abilities, knowledge or values that students should be able to do or demonstrate as a result of their interaction with your department/area
Examples of Student Outcome Statements Students will be able to identify appropriate courses for their major... Students will be able to locate documents containing campus crime statistics... Students will have the ability to file FAFSA online...
Characteristics of a Clear Outcome

Remember keep your outcomes:

Measurable and/or observable - quantitative data points are often easier to collect and analyze but qualitative data are acceptable and have their place in assessment. Often qualitative data can provide insight that is more meaningful than rank scale data. As a matter of fact, Middle States recommends that you use multiple measures/methods to assess student learning outcomes. We just recommend that you not use all qualitative data but include a mix of both.
Manageable - make sure that measuring the outcome is both realistic and feasible; do you have the resources (manpower and cost) to collect the data?
Meaningful - select an outcome that is important to you
Vague outcomes cannot be easily assessed so be specific.
Examples of common department metrics include:

Usage Statistics (i.e. Computer or Facility) Number of Admissions Applications Admission Yield Percent of Alumni Giving Satisfaction Surveys (Students, Employers, Faculty/Staff, Alumni, etc.) Response Time to Requests for Service Campus Crime Statistics Counts of Students Served Additional Student Development Examples
Using the Results

The ultimate goal of assessment is to inform decisions leading to improvements in the institution. Not only do the results from a good assessment plan satisfy accreditation requirements, it's a vehicle for the enhancement of our institution. Its real value lies in its contribution to the institution's overall effectiveness and the improvement of the quality of programs and services.

Each department/area's Annual Reports should include a progress report on assessment of its outcomes. Each outcome should be listed with a brief report on how it was assessed and what improvements or changes should be made as a result of what was learned from the assessments.

Describe your results in enough detail to prove whether you have met, partially met (data inconclusive), or not met your achievement target.
Attach documents to support your data. These can include survey instruments or results, reports, etc.
Analyze the data and think about what has been learned during an assessment cycle.
Identify areas that need to be monitored or enhanced.
After reflecting on the findings, you and your colleagues in the department/area should determine the appropriate action for improvements and link your budget requests to the findings of your assessment. This should be documented in TracDat under the Follow-up/Action Plan section.

Summary of Assessment Steps

1. Identify outcomes and define how you will measure it; can be a direct or indirect measure of the learning outcome.
2. Collect evidence on a semester, annual or bi-annual basis.
3. Disseminate the results and use findings to make improvements to program or course. Link your budget requests to the findings. Repeat the process.