Use These Assessment Foundations to Help Your Community College

November 9, 2021 Tayler Conklin

Assessment data gives us insights into the student learning experience, including answers to age-old questions such as:

  • Did my students achieve the intended outcomes?
  • Can I improve the curriculum plan?
  • Did I reach my course or program goals?
  • Are we able to make data-driven decisions based on our current reports?

There are four foundational elements of a solid assessment strategy.

Developing Quality Outcomes and Objectives

Generating clear objectives and defining themes for outcomes is the starting point for any assessment strategy, and it’s important to differentiate between outcomes and objectives as you design them.

Curriculum Mapping

Understanding the purpose of curriculum mapping and troubleshooting common problems can often be a challenging second step in the process. However, there are ways to make it easier to develop a rich curriculum that will deepen learning in your classroom. In particular, community colleges and certification programs need to think strategically to interlace course outcomes and objectives with overall program-based outcomes.

Direct and Indirect Measures

The next step involves exploring the properties and benefits of both direct and indirect measures. Dr. Eckert has offered tips to make incorporating assessment measurements into your curriculum strategy super simple. While there are pros and cons of specific assessment measuring tools, there are some that are particularly helpful for community colleges and two-year schools that may have more “non-traditional” programs and a greater need for implementing a consistent and approachable assessment process.

Making Data-Informed Decisions

Once you’ve gathered assessment data, focus on using best practices for organizing data for impactful reporting so that stakeholders can have productive data-informed discussions. By effectively collaborating and engaging with colleagues, you can close the loop with data-informed insights.

Want to Learn More?

At a community college or technical program level, effective assessment can feel time-consuming, especially when you have limited resources. In a four-part recorded webinar series, Dr. Erica Eckert, Assistant. Dean for Assessment & Accreditation at Kent State University will aid you in making assessment part of your overall planning process to enhance the teaching and learning experience for students and faculty.

Get your assessment questions answered today by watching the series here.

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