At Glen Oaks Community College, the assessment of student learning is a critical component of ensuring college effectiveness. GOCC’s assessment efforts measure and document student learning outcomes, a process that ensures continuous improvement. Indeed, assessment can be understood as achieving several things at once. It is about reporting on students’ achievements and about teaching them more effectively by showing the goals of our academic programs and courses more clearly. It is about measuring student learning and finding misunderstandings in order to help students to learn more effectively. It concerns the quality of the teaching as well as the quality of the learning.
The quality of student learning can be examined at the level of an individual learner or all individuals together – like the whole class, an institution or specific program. Formative assessment will get a sense of how well students are learning during early stages and gives the opportunity to improve one’s teaching. Summative assessment is done once students have had a chance to master a certain skill set, so the instructor can see the outcome of the whole instruction.
Glen Oaks has defined learning outcomes assessment as the systematic process of documenting and using empirical
data on the knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs. The College relies on assessment processes to assure and maintain rigorous academic standards and the high quality of teaching and learning. Assessment is also linked to the College’s strategic planning processes and can be conceptualized using the diagram provided.
The College has developed a robust program of co-curricular assessment that is currently fully implemented in the Student Services Co-Curricular areas (Admissions, Financial Aid, Advising, etc.) and is being phased in in Academic Co-Curricular areas (Library, Testing & Tutoring Center, etc.).
The annual assessment cycle for co-curricular areas is built around identifying larger “objectives” linking to a single goal that can be operationalized using more specific/measurable outcomes. A visual representation of the goal and its linked objectives from Student Services is shown here.
- A guide to student learning, directing students’ attention to what is important.
- Feedback to students on their progress towards achieving desired learning outcomes.
- Feedback for teachers so that they can identify where it will be most productive to direct their teaching efforts.
- A tool to determine, report and certify student-learning outcome achievement.
Of course, assessment also is a requirement for the College’s continued accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, so students can know their courses will transfer to other colleges and universities – and so they can receive federal financial aid, which is only available for classes offered by accredited institutions.