According to College assessment process and procedures, course outcomes are to be developed (or changed) when the course is initially created (or changed) through consensus of all full-time faculty in the discipline who teach the course. For disciplines with no full-time faculty, College administration assigns a part-time instructor in the discipline to help develop the outcomes. The same learning outcomes are to be measured and analyzed simultaneously for all sections of a given course identified in a common plan/schedule; therefore, GOCC uses the term Common Course Outcomes (CCOs) to describe these.
For transfer/general education courses, outcomes are developed to maximize the transferability of the course by comparing proposed CCOs to those at peer colleges (for example, other community colleges in Michiana or other parts of the region) and those at the four-year colleges and universities that Glen Oaks students typically transfer to upon completing their educational goals at GOCC.
For core courses in “occupational” programs that prepare students for employment immediately after graduating (such as welding, nursing, or business), outcomes are developed to meet program outcomes and to align with industry standards or best practices – and, whenever possible, to directly prepare students to successfully pass special certifications or board exams (such as ASE certification, Microsoft or Cisco certifications, or NCLEX).
While the Common Course Outcomes are listed on each course syllabus, the assessment of those outcomes usually is built directly into their teaching – so much so that students may not realize they are being “assessed!” Depending on the course and discipline, ways that faculty measure whether students are successfully meeting CCO requirements may include looking at several common questions on a multiple choice (or long answer) exam, a laboratory or clinical assignment showing mastery of a specific skill, components of a written assignment (or the entire paper), etc.
Course assessment also should not be confused with student grades – while your grade may reflect your overall performance in the class based on grading criteria, faculty also define the minimum level of success they want their students to have on crucial specific parts of the course. Once faculty determine how successful students are in all assessed sections, they figure out ways to improve their teaching and make specific plans for changes.
This graphic shows the steps in course assessment – a circular process because of the need for continual improvement, with assessment results giving ideas on what and how to improve:
- Determine Intended Student Learning Outcomes
- Develop measures for and targets for outcomes
- Conduct assessments and collect data
- Analyze results and develop improvement plan
- Implement improvement plan into operations