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Assessment Strategies

Assessment of Student Academic Achievement Plan
 
In May 1994, a North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) self-study group was assigned the task of assisting Moraine Valley with developing its Assessment of Student Academic Achievement  (ASAA) plan. The objective of the assessment plan was to demonstrate that the college is effectively meeting its stated mission and purpose. To achieve this objective, a collegewide effort was initiated to document the extent of student academic achievement. Self-study group membership, included both full- and part-time faculty from all academic divisions, Student Development staff, Institutional Research staff, and a student. In its initial meetings, the group learned about ASAA and how Moraine Valley Community College will incorporate ASAA into the work of the college's Institutional Effectiveness Task Force.

The Institutional Effectiveness Task Force was formed in 1992 to conduct a review of the college's effectiveness and to develop a plan for future collegewide measurement of effectiveness. A three-year institutional effectiveness plan, incorporates ASAA as the first year's activity. Academic departments, the General Education Committee, the Learning Resources Center (LRC), and Student Development areas directly involved in student achievement (all of which are subsequently referred to as departments) developed plans for assessing student academic achievement during this first year. The latter two areas (LRC and Student Development) were intentionally included in our assessment plan because the college recognizes that learning occurs both in the traditional classroom and in the programs and services provided by these areas. The institutional effectiveness plan's second- and third-year activities designate additional college organizational units to develop plans for measuring effectiveness. A chart describing the implementation of ASAA as a component of the college's institutional effectiveness plan is included.

The self-study group became knowledgeable about assessing student academic achievement by collecting resources, meeting with the director of Institutional Research and Planning, attending several off-campus conferences on the topic, and reviewing the relationship between developing the college's plan for ASAA and responding to the effectiveness issues NCA report.

Following the institutional effectiveness plan, the process to assess student academic achievement was designed so the faculty and staff in each department were responsible for creating and implementing their own assessment plan.  The reporting of plan development, implementation and impact on future activities will occur through existing lines of communication.  Therefore, the self-study group's next step was to share the ASAA process with the key participants:  department chairs and faculty, deans, assistant deans and associate deans.  Following the time line, initial meetings were held in the fall 1994 semester. 

In an effort to share the institutional effectiveness plan and ASAA process with additional key decision makers, presentations were also made to the Moraine Advisory Council, Moraine Valley's North Central Association Steering Committee, and the college's Board of Trustees.

To reinforce the information shared during the fall semester, the January 1995 faculty in-service program was dedicated to this topic. Dr. Ellen O'Connell, chair of the mathematics department and co-chair of Triton College's Assessment Committee, spoke of Triton's experience with developing and implementing an ASAA plan. The speaker was followed by a panel of four Moraine Valley faculty who described their departments' planning efforts to date. During the afternoon program, all departments met with an ASAA self-study group member to discuss the department's ASAA plan development.

In March 1995, while a subcommittee of the full self-study group worked on the overall plan narrative, departmental plans were submitted to each divisional dean. The deans then summarized all of their division's departmental plans and forwarded them to the ASAA self-study group. Using the Department ASAA Plan Review form in Attachment E, the self-study group reviewed all of the plans for necessary elements. The final departmental plans, included in the collegewide assessment plan, are faculty-driven as evidenced by the varying formats the departments used.

Plan Implementation   
Moraine Valley Community College's Assessment of Student Academic Achievement (ASAA) plan is the first- year's component of the college's institutional effectiveness plan. Instructional departments have developed a cycle (typically five years) to examine all facets of their operations, thereby incorporating assessment as a continuous process in institutional efforts to plan, implement, evaluate, and refine courses, programs and activities. The processes initiated as part of the assessment plan identify what is working well and areas in need of improvement, thereby influencing operational and strategic planning initiatives.

Annually, each department will conduct the assessment activities planned for that year and then analyze the data collected. Department chairs, in collaboration with their faculty, will prepare an annual report summarizing the conclusions of assessment. The report will include four components:

  1. a description of the classroom activities, studies, reports, surveys, and other processes used during the current year to assess student academic achievement;

  2. conclusions, derived from faculty and staff analysis of the data, which identify positive outcomes, as well as areas where revision is needed;

  3. revisions in operational plans, as well as identification of possible new initiatives, to improve instructional delivery, academic curricula, or service to students; and

  4. an evaluation of and recommendations for amending assessment activities and the assessment schedule.

Department chairs will submit their annual report to the appropriate dean who, after review, will forward it to the respective vice president.

The value in assessing student academic achievement is directly related to the extent that the process affects operational and strategic planning. Departments will use the conclusions drawn from assessment activities to revise future operational plans. In addition, department chairs will present new initiatives to the appropriate dean and vice president. Since it is anticipated that new initiatives will require additional or reallocated funds, they must undergo collegewide review and input prior to examination and prioritization by the college president and vice presidents (Executive Leadership Team/ELT). The ELT will inform the college community of the new initiatives that will be incorporated into the college planning process.

To support the college's ongoing assessment efforts, in-service training and support activities will be provided to faculty and staff, including new and part-time faculty and staff. This implementation plan, as outlined in steps 2-8, will be repeated annually.

In the same way that departments will review and revise their plans as indicated by previous years' conclusions, this collegewide implementation plan will be reviewed and revised annually, as needed.

Five Evaluative Questions  

  • To what extent has the institution demonstrated that the plan is linked to the mission, goals and objectives of the institution for student learning and academic achievement, including learning in general education and in the major?
    The college's stated mission and purpose is to educate the whole person according to a philosophy which values the physical, social, intellectual, emotional, and ethical dimensions. It does so by providing programs of general education, university preparation, career education, continuing education, developmental education, and student and community development. The elements of this plan, originating at the departmental level, include every academic program, the general education component, and those areas of student development where instruction and learning are taking place. Therefore, the plan is compatible with the college mission, goals and objectives and Academic Achievement of all students is addressed and assessed by this plan.

  • What is the institution's evidence that faculty has participated in the development of the institution's plan and that the plan is institutionwide in conceptualization and scope?
    The first step in implementing the plan to assess student academic achievement was for all academic departments to establish a cycle of assessment activities. Assessment plans were developed by the faculty in each department based upon their course objectives and under the leadership of the departmental chair, also a faculty member. Faculty awareness of the assessment plan and their readiness to participate in assessment activities was assured through their involvement at in-service training. A required day-long in-service was conducted with full-time faculty, an abbreviated evening session was offered to part-time faculty, and college deans received supplemental information at a separate meeting. Prior to training, department chairs met with the Assessment of Student Academic Achievement (ASAA) Committee and, following the training, committee members attended department meetings to discuss the concept and answer questions. The ASAA Committee membership included representatives from full- and part-time faculty, department chairs, support staff, Student Development, Academic Affairs, and the student body. Finally, the ASAA Committee's activities were published in the staff newsletter.

  • How does the plan demonstrate the likelihood that the assessment program will lead to institutional improvement when it is implemented?
    The plan is being used by academic units of the college to achieve several objectives. In the first instance, departments are using the plan to document the assessment activities that are already taking place. Both full- and part-time faculty members are sharing information on strategies and techniques they use in their classrooms. Academic departments have committed to investigating and implementing new assessment strategies to expand existing efforts. Faculty will annually review and revise assessment activities throughout a predetermined cycle (typically five years). Every departmental plan provides a feedback loop, enabling faculty to utilize the outcome and effectiveness of assessment strategies to bring about change in the department's courses, curriculum and methods. The process encourages innovation and experimentation in assessment measures. Since all of the previously noted processes will be included in the department's annual report, the information garnered will provide an important element of orientation for new faculty members.

  • Is the time line for the assessment program appropriate? Realistic?
    The timeline for the assessment plan is compatible with other established timetables within the college structure. As a significant part of the college's institutional effectiveness project, ASAA is the initial element of a three-year, collegewide institutional effectiveness plan. Two timelines exist for implementing assessment of student academic achievement. First, each departmental plan includes an annual feedback loop which faculty will use to assess that year's outcomes, prepare a report, and initiate operational changes for the next year. If the department recommends new initiatives, requiring additional financial resources, the recommended initiative will receive collegewide review and consideration for adoption through the college planning process. Second, the ASAA plan is integrated with the State of Illinois Priorities, Quality and Productivity (PQP) program review. The cycle of assessment activities corresponds to the five-year program review schedule of the Illinois Community College Board. Therefore, elements of documentation for both plans can be collected at one time, minimizing the amount of time and duplication of effort that would result from lack of coordination. In conclusion, the timeline for the assessment program appears to be effective, efficient and practical.

  • What is the evidence that the plan provides for appropriate administration of the assessment program?
    The development, implementation and evaluation of the assessment plan will be conducted by faculty at the departmental level. Each department's annual report will be prepared by the department chair, submitted to the appropriate dean who, after review, will forward it to the respective vice president. Operational changes will be made by departments in consultation with their dean and vice president. Recommendations for new initiatives resulting from implementation of the assessment plan will be subject to collegewide review and input prior to being forwarded to the Executive Leadership Team for possible incorporation into the college planning process. Approved new initiatives will be clearly communicated throughout the college to ensure that faculty are aware of the status of their recommendations. Administration of the assessment program, therefore, will be primarily at the departmental level for implementation and operational revision with new initiatives requiring additional resources receiving institutional review and comment prior to being incorporated into the college planning process.

Assessment of Student Academic Achievement 
NCA Self-Study Group Members

Suzanne Hammersberg

Dean--Health and Human Services  
Chair

Sharon Katterman

Director--Job Placement 
Co-Chair   

Faith Booth  

Faculty--Business and Industrial Technology/
Information Management Systems

David Burns

Part-time Faculty
Liberal Arts and Sciences/History

Michelle Cimaroli

Student

Virginia Kaiser

Faculty--Developmental Education/Math

Joanna Kirvaitis

Faculty--Liberal Arts and Sciences/Chemistry

Margaret Lehner

Faculty--Liberal Arts and Sciences/Communications

Tom Mikos

Faculty--Health and Human Services/
Respiratory Therapy

Ed Mulcahy
(1-95 to present)

Department Chair/Faculty
Business and Industrial Technology/
Business Programs  

Karyn Rohder

Research Assistant
Office of Institutional Research

Shirley Sobol 

Secretary--Student Development

John Sullivan

Department Chair/Faculty
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Communications, Literature and Languages  

Deborah Utz 
(5-94 to 12-94)

Faculty--Health and Human Services/
Radiologic Technology  

Ed Vasiliauskas

Faculty--Liberal Arts and Sciences/Chemistry

Barbara Yurachek

Part-time Faculty--Alternative Learning/
Communications


Assessment of institutional effectiveness will be phased in over a three-year period. Once initiated, activities will be ongoing.  

Institutional Effectiveness Implementation Schedule

Academic Year

Area

Task

Responsibility

1994-95

Assessment of Student Academic Achievement:
* All academic departments, LRC*
The General Education core of classes  
*Areas of Student Development directly involved in student achievement

Assess Learning Outcomes

VP-Student
Development

NCA 
Self-Study Groups

Review Effectiveness

"

1995-96

Business and Industrial Technology Institute

Assess  Learning  Outcomes

VP-Academic Affairs

Student Development areas involved in service operations

Determine Effectiveness

VP-Student Development

Campus Operations

"

VP-Business & Finance/Treas.

Controller

Public Relations

"

VP-Information Services/Planning  

Publications and Production Services

"

"

Institutional Research

"

"

1996-97

Information Systems

"

"

Public Safety

"

VP-Business & Finance/Treas.

Human Resources

"

"

Auxiliary Services

"

"

Continuing Education/
Alternative Learning

"

VP-Academic Affairs

Fine and Performing Arts Center

"

"

Foundation

"

President

Resource Development

"

"

Governance/Standing Committee Structure

"

"


Implementing Assessment of Student Academic Achievement as a Component of the College's Institutional Effectiveness Plan

Steps for Department Review:  
1.  Develop a Five-Year Assessment Cycle for All Departmental Programs  

  • Identify goals and objectives

  • Identify anticipated outcomes and assessment methods  

  • Determine the logistics of assessment for each program within the cycle  

Yearly, Each Department Will:  
2.  Implement an Assessment Plan

  • Review and revise its five-year cycle as needed  

  • Initiate assessment activities for the current year  

  • Analyze data of the assessment activities  

3.  Prepare an Annual Report  

  • Describe the assessment activities

  • Develop conclusions, including positive outcomes and areas needing revision  

  • Revise operational plans for the following year (e.g., change a prerequisite)

  • Suggest a new initiative, if appropriate (e.g., create a new degree program)

  • Evaluate and amend assessment activities for future years

4.  Submit the Annual Report for Review and Discussion

  • Department chairs will submit their annual reports to their dean who, after appropriate review, will forward to the respective vice president

5.  Integrate Assessment Initiatives into Operational Planning

  • Departments will use conclusions from assessment to revise their operational plans

6.  Implement Changes resulting from Assessment Activities

  • Operational changes will be made by departments with the support of the appropriate dean and the approval of the respective vice president

  • Recommendations for new initiatives will be forwarded to the respective vice president for further review

Yearly, Under the Direction of the President, the College Will:

7.  Review Recommendations for New Initiatives resulting from Implementation of the Assessment Plan.  The Review will Include:  

  • an opportunity for the college community to review all recommendations for new initiatives

  • an opportunity for the college community to provide input on the same

  • a study of available feedback by the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) prior to the determination of new initiatives the college will support  

8.  Implement New Initiatives

  • ELT will inform the college community of the supported new initiatives  

  • New initiatives will be incorporated into the college planning process