- OAC Handbook
- Anthology (Campus Labs) for Authorized Faculty to View and Enter Data
- Anthology (Campus Labs) Instructions
- Courses and SLOs Mapped to the Institutional Core Competencies
- Assess Website
- Assessment Commons - Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment
- MiraCosta’s Data Dashboard (Course Success and Retention)
Designing transparent and equitable assessments
At MiraCosta College we encourage assessments that are linked to the course and program SLO(s). This can give the department and our institution actionable data which can be used to close the loop and inform program review. As you are creating assessments for your course or program, it is important to consider our minoritized student populations, such as:
- Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC),
- Latinx and Chicanx,
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual (LGBTQIA+),
- returning, and
- justice impacted.
Equitable assessments create a level playing field for opportunity in the classroom; students are given an equal opportunity to succeed through clear and transparent assessment design and instruction. Assessments that are transparent and equitable contain these features:
- Purpose of assessment is clearly defined and related to skills/ knowledge that will be relevant beyond the course
- Task-How to do the assessment; steps to take, what to avoid
- Criteria - Students are given a rubric or checklist for success
Here is the link to Example Assignments (more and less transparent) by discipline.
types of assessment
Direct (always include one of this type)-Asks students to demonstrate learning. This type of assessment is usually used in course instruction/Instructional Division.
Indirect- Students are not asked to directly demonstrate what they have learned. This type of assessment does not provide direct information about what students are able to represent, produce or demonstrate as a result of completing the course or the program. Indirect assessments, such as surveys are an option but should be used to corroborate data gathered through a direct assessment. Indirect assessment is typically used in Student Services assessment.
Always Include a Direct assessment!
Choose methods that allow the assessment of both strengths and weaknesses of course and program-it is often helpful to use a method that relates to the Bloom’s level of thinking selected for the Learning Outcome statement.
Capstone courses and portfolios are often the best method of direct assessment for CTE programs. However, when there is no capstone course, and when completers are in varying levels of their academic journey at MiraCosta, an embedded assessment that is aligned with the course learning outcome and the program outcome is an effective method to assess a course or program. Embedded assessments are tasks that are integrated into specific courses.
There are two types of assessments (timing): formative and summative.
Formative assessments provide students with feedback on their progress towards achieving a single outcome or a set of outcomes. Formative assessments can be related to specific Content areas of the Course Outline of Record (COR). These assessments may be smaller in scope as part of a scaffolded design, and are favored in research related to equitable assignments. (source)
Summative assessments provide the instructor, the program, and the college information on student achievement of SLOs, PSLOs, and/or Core Competencies for evaluation and continuous improvement of student learning. Some examples of summative assessments are:
- Investigations/Case Studies
- Open ended questions
Summative assessments, such as portfolios, can also serve as tangible documentation by students to demonstrate evidence of achievement of student learning outcomes to transfer institutions and/or prospective employers. As most community college programs do not have capstone courses and/or exit exams, portfolios are a great way to measure outcomes at all levels.
Embedded assessments are tasks that are integrated into specific courses. They usually involve classroom assessment techniques but are designed to collect specific information on course and program learning outcomes. These assessments are typically graded by course instructors and then pooled across sections to evaluate student learning at the program level. Embedded assessments are highly recommended. They are easy to develop and to administer and can be directly linked to the program’s curriculum and learning outcomes.
score the assessment
Disciplines are encouraged to develop and use rubrics to ensure transparent assessment. OAC suggests that a scoring rubric be developed for an assignment that links to a CSLO to provide transparency for students.
When should assessments be performed?
A dynamic SLO assessment process is necessary in order to promote student learning
and success. It is good professional practice to assess more frequently than once
during the 6‐year calendar schedule that was originally established by the Academic
Senate of MiraCosta College when the process began. This means that for all courses
there would be an initial assessment (open the loop), an action plan to improve performance
(if needed), and a follow‐up assessment (closing the loop) within the cycle to determine
the success of the plan.
Course: Required Minimum—6-year cycle
Program: Required Minimum—6-year cycle
As you consider when to assess within the required time frames, keep in mind:
- Level of course-introductory, major, capstone
- Frequency of course being offered
- Opportunities to collect and analyze data as a faculty group
Evaluate the Data
Data is evaluated within departments, and with key faculty and student services professionals involved with developing and teaching the CSLO. Disaggregation of the assessment data, when possible, allows for evaluation of potential gaps in student learning based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, and other available data points. MiraCosta’s Course Success and Retention Data Dashboard is a great way to view disaggregated data. Below are four charts from Spring 2017 from the dashboard.
- MiraCosta's overall success rate
- MiraCosta's overall success rate in all math courses
- MiraCosta's overall success rate in MATH 155
- MiraCosta's overall success rate in MATH 155 with data disaggregated by ethnicity. Please note that data can be disaggregated by gener, age, etc. as well.
You can see that though the overall success rate in MATH 155 during the spring of
2017 was 65%, our Hispanic students rate of success was quite a bit lower at 57%.
This tool allows faculty to disaggregate by several factors to look at equity trends
in the classroom. Note: when using the actual dashboard, the number of students shows
up when you hover the cursor over each bar.
Try to identify causes for the successes or failures of each CSLO:
- How many students met the desired achievement levels?
- Achievement levels are set by discipline
- Were the students aware of the CSLO?
- Were the students able to practice a similar assessment?
- When was it given in the semester?
- Was there a rubric used to grade the assessment?
- Was this rubric provided to the students?
- Did results follow expected patterns?
- When examining disaggregated data, did you observe any disproportionately impacted
groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status,
age, and other available data points?
- Did results indicate that groups of students succeeded at different levels?
- Did the results for some groups of students indicate an opportunity gap?
reflect and revise
Develop an Action Plan!
Even if minimum achievement levels are met, unless 100% of the students attain proficiency, there is room for improvement. An action plan designed in collaboration with all faculty involved in the specific SLO(s), can be developed to target areas in which students were not successful.
Action plans may include:
- providing additional learning experiences (practice) for the students
- refining the curriculum
- revising the SLO and/or semantics of the SLO prompts in an assessment
They may also require additional resources, such as personnel, equipment, time and additional/different facilities. If budgetary resources are required to implement the action plan, then it may be necessary to request funding through the Program Review process.
reassess and close the loop
After all stages in the assessment cycle have been conducted by the department or student services unit, including a reassessment of the learning outcome-you have Closed The Loop.
The Assessment Cycle will begin again so that Continuous Improvement is always in process for courses, programs and support services.