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3-7-14 ASSESSING OUR EFFORTS IN STUDENT SERVICES Beth Lesen, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs California State University, Sacramento.

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Presentation on theme: "3-7-14 ASSESSING OUR EFFORTS IN STUDENT SERVICES Beth Lesen, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs California State University, Sacramento."— Presentation transcript:

1 ASSESSING OUR EFFORTS IN STUDENT SERVICES Beth Lesen, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs California State University, Sacramento

2 Today’s Outcomes  Distinguish between program objectives and student learning outcomes  Differentiate between direct and indirect assessment  Identify useful assessment tools  Practice interpreting assessment results  Plan for evidence-based program improvement

3 Why engage in assessment? Because we care about our impact on students To use our resources and energy wisely To create a transparent culture of evidence To engage in an ongoing cycle of inquiry For re-accreditation Because we care about our impact on students

4 What does good assessment look like?  Flows from the department’s strategic plan and priorities  Aligns with the strategic plans of the division and the college  Articulates measurable program objectives and student learning outcomes  Systematically gathers, analyzes, and interprets relevant evidence  Uses resulting data to improve programs and services  Shares out findings

5 What will assessment allow us to do?  Better serve our students  Identify areas where we can improve  Showcase our strengths  Advocate for additional resources  Meet re-accreditation expectations  Respond to public calls for increased accountability

6 Why do we avoid assessment? No time Intimidating No buy-in Feels forced Under resourced

7 Avoid Avoiding Assessment: Lean in Schedule time for assessment like we do for meetings Include in departmental meeting & retreat agendas Establish a timeline with several milestones Make assessment more interactive Designate an expert & get them ongoing training Hire a consultant Publish reports on departmental webpages

8 What should I assess? What do you want to know? What do you suspect is happening? What weighs heavy on your mind? What is your charge?

9 Six Step Assessment Model 1. Mission = Purpose (2-3 sentences) 2. Goals = Aspirations (3-5 top priorities) 3. Objectives = Intentions (measurable program objectives or student learning outcomes) 4.Measures = Methods (how) 5.Results = Evidence 6.Conclusion = Interpretation and Decision (now what?)

10 Step 1 – Mission Statement The mission statement should focus on one or more priorities delineated in the university’s mission, vision, or strategic plan. Excerpt from University’s Mission Statement: We are committed to providing an excellent education to all eligible applicants who aspire to expand their knowledge and prepare themselves for meaningful lives, careers, and service to their community. Student Engagement and Success Unit Mission Student Engagement and Success, as a unit within the Division of Planning, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at the California State University, Sacramento, facilitates student development and success by guiding and supporting students’ academic, professional and personal pursuits and by promoting active engagement with the campus and surrounding community. Primary Activities Primary Purpose Target Audiences Office Name

11 Step 2 – Goals G eneral planning statements. The starting point for the development of objectives. Example: Improve support toward student academic success. Goals are usually not measurable and need to be further developed into measurable objectives. Example: By July 2014, SES staff (outside the advising center) will evidence increased fluency in academic requirements for graduation.

12 Departmental Goals Align with College Goals Write down one example of a departmental goal that aligns with the college’s goals.

13 Step 3 – Objectives and Outcomes Specific statements that describe desired outcomes associated with broad goals of the unit. Objectives and outcomes are measurable. Typically one of two types:  Program objectives are about program improvements (e.g. timeliness, efficiency and participant satisfaction)  Student learning outcomes reveal changes in attitudes or behaviors that students demonstrate after utilizing a service or program

14 Program Objectives A good program objective will indicate: Target population Measurable result Timeline When formulating a program objective: Align with a specific goal Limit to one result per objective Limit target population to a discrete group Set a deadline

15 Examples of Program Objectives By November 2014, 95% of first time freshmen will have had at least one appointment with an academic advisor. At least 90% of all students served by the Financial Aid Office in the Spring 2014 semester will report being satisfied or highly satisfied with the service they received. The number of students involved with student organizations on campus will increase by at least 10% from AY to AY

16 Program Objectives Aligning to University Priorities University Priority = The University commits itself to increasing students’ retention and graduation rates and decreasing their time to degree. Departmental Goal = Intervene earlier for students who are struggling, academically. Departmental Program Objective = By March 2014, every first time freshman in the residence halls who enters second semester on academic probation will have had at least two one-hour appointments with an advisor.

17 Student Learning Outcomes Direct Student Learning Outcomes and Indirect Student Learning Outcomes With the emphasis on learning, most college campuses and their various accrediting boards are interested in seeing data related to direct student learning outcomes.

18 Direct Student Learning Outcomes After participating in a program or utilizing a service students demonstrate: Abilities Information retention Knowledge acquisition Attitudinal or behavioral change Example: At least 85% of student residents participating in a time management workshop will identify on a post-test, three new strategies they plan on implementing.

19 Methods to Assess Direct Learning Outcomes  Any type of tests including: pre- and post-tests, standardized tests, licensure examinations, workshop quizzes  Any type of portfolio including: e-portfolios, art portfolios, multi-media portfolios  Evaluated performances such as role plays  Competency observations  Common assignments  Narratives with reflection  Juried art exhibits  Work/writing samples

20 Indirect Learning Outcomes Self-report indicating perceived increase in understanding Perception is not verified No measured demonstration of knowledge acquisition No observed behavioral/attitudinal change Example: Ninety-five percent of students and parents who attend orientation will indicate on the evaluation distributed at the program’s conclusion that they “agree” or “strongly agree” that they learned what will be required to earn a degree at Sacramento State.

21 Methods to Assess Indirect Learning Outcomes  Satisfaction surveys  Program evaluation surveys  Questionnaires  Inventories  Facebook or other social-networking site responses  Informal peer-to-peer conversations (e.g. with RAs, orientation leaders)  Focus groups and interviews

22 Differentiating Direct and Indirect Learning Outcomes Direct or Indirect Learning? 1)T / F This orientation session has helped me understand the foreign language requirement at Sacramento State. 2)Which of the following examples fulfill the foreign language requirement necessary to graduate from Sacramento State? a)Demonstrated fluency in a language other than English b)Passed the AP foreign language exam with a score of 3 or higher c)Successfully completed, with C- or better, 3 years of high school foreign language d)All of the above

23 Write an example of a program objective or student learning outcome Write one example of a program objective or student learning outcome that supports the goal you wrote earlier. Is it measurable? Your objective or outcome should indicate: By when? Who? Will show what?

24 Step 4 - Measures “The process of quantifying observations [or descriptions] about a quality or attribute of a thing or person” Thorndike, R., & Hagen, E. Measurement and evaluation in psychology and education (4th ed.). New York: Wiley.

25 Step 4 – Measures (continued) The Components of Measurable Outcomes  A udience: At whom is the program aimed?  B ehavior: What do you expect the audience to know/be able to do?  C onditions: Under what conditions or circumstances will the learning occur?  D egree: How much will be accomplished, how well will the behavior need to be performed, and at what level?

26 Examples of Measurable Outcomes  All participants who complete the post-test on academic requirements and campus resources at the closing session of orientation will score 85% or better.  Orientation leaders observed in a twenty-minute structured role play exercise will earn ‘4’ or better in each area of the advising competencies rubric.  At least 95% of students and parents will indicate on the evaluation distributed at the closing session that they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with all aspects of their orientation.

27 Direct Learning Outcomes Indirect Learning Outcomes Tests Portfolios Performances Competency observations Common assignments Narratives Juried art exhibits Work/writing samples Surveys Questionnaires Inventories Facebook responses Conversations Interviews Some Tools for Useful Data Collection

28 Program Objectives Frequency Data Satisfaction Surveys Program Evaluation Surveys Social Networking stats/analytics Decreased Wait times Increased Registration/Participation Fiscal Savings Productivity Measures Some Tools for Useful Data Collection

29 Choose a Measure Specify an example of a measure or tool that could be used to collect evidence pertaining to the objective or outcome you wrote earlier.

30 Example Departmental Goal Intervene earlier for students who are struggling, academically. Departmental Program Objective By January 15, 2014, all Residence Life Coordinators (RLCs) will be appropriately trained as fully-functioning first year advisors. Measure All (RLCs) will complete the First Year Advising Training program and will be certified as prepared to advise by the Director of Academic Advising.

31 Example (cont’d) Departmental Goal Intervene earlier for students who are struggling, academically. Departmental Program Objective By March 2014, every first time freshman (FTF) in the residence halls who enters second semester on academic probation will have had at least two one-hour appointments with an RLC advisor. Measure Residence Life Coordinators will report out how many of their assigned FTF on academic probation completed the two one-hour advising appointments with them by March 2014.

32 Example (cont’d) Departmental (direct) student outcome By June 2014, 80% of the FTF in the residence halls who entered second semester on academic probation will be in good academic standing. Measure A grade report run out of CMS after second semester grades are reported will indicate that at least 80% of the identified FTF on second semester academic probation achieved good standing by the end of the academic year.

33 Example (cont’d) Departmental (direct) student learning outcome At least 90% of the FTF in the residence halls who entered second semester on academic probation will identify at least two adaptive academic strategies they learned from their RLC advising sessions. Measure Students will answer 5 questions after the advising sessions. One of the questions will ask them to identify two useful academic strategies they learned from their RLC advisor.

34 Example (cont’d) Departmental (indirect) program objective At least 90% of the FTF in the residence halls who entered second semester on academic probation will report that their RLC advisor was knowledgeable and helpful. Measure On the 5 question survey, students who see an RLC advisor will either “agree” or “strongly agree” to items asking how knowledgeable they were and how helpful they were.

35 Example (cont’d) Departmental (indirect) student learning outcome At least 90% of the FTF in the residence halls who entered second semester on academic probation will report that they learned skills and strategies they will use to perform better, academically, going forward. Measure On the 5 question survey, students who see an RLC advisor will either “agree” or “strongly agree” to an item that asks whether they learned skills and strategies they will use to perform better, academically, going forward.

36 Step 5 – Results Results should highlight all significant findings and indicate the extent to which the program/service reached its intended outcomes. Example: Freshman Orientation pre-/post-tests showed that 87% of participants evidenced understanding of college resources and graduation requirements. However, only 75% of participants evidenced understanding of general education requirements on the 3 related pre-/post-test items, falling short of the goal of 85%.

37 Triangulation Denzin (1978) identified four basic types of triangulation Data triangulation Investigator triangulation Theory triangulation Methodological triangulation: involves using more than one method to gather data, such as interviews, observations, questionnaires, etc.

38 Results: From Good to Great Integrate information from multiple sources. Investigate from multiple perspectives. Report out all results – not just positive. Go deep in analysis – cut up the data. If something’s missing, go find it. Try again or try differently.

39 Presenting Results Methods to Present Results Descriptive text Tables Graphs Charts Videos Portfolios

40 Results example 200 FTF in residence hall entered second semester on academic probation The RLCs all completed training and were certified ready by the stated deadline RLCs confirmed that 75% of the identified students (150) completed the two advising appointments 10% completed one appointment and 15% completed none 75% of 200 students (150) ended in good standing Of the students who completed appointments:  80% said the advisors were knowledgeable  85% said the advisors were helpful  92% successfully identified 2 strategies  95% said they has learned at least two strategies

41 N=20 N=30

42 Step 6 – Conclusions The conclusions should explain how the findings from data will be used to improve the program and/or increase student learning. Given the results, what would you do differently? Why? What’s the new goal? And the process begins again.

43 Step 6 – Conclusions (continued) Use of Findings When Objectives or Outcomes Were Not Achieved  Modify program or service  Modify policies or procedures  Improve collaboration  Improve communication  Institute or improve training  Modify program objective or learning outcome  Modify measurement tools  Modify methodology

44 Step 6 – Conclusions (continued) Use of Findings When Objectives or Outcomes Were Achieved  Develop new objectives or outcomes  Conduct a longitudinal study with current objectives or outcomes  Raise the criteria for achievement  Develop more stringent measures

45 Step 6 – Conclusions (continued) Did the Process Provide Information To…  Improve programs or services that are aligned with the university’s priorities?  Understand and eventually increase student learning?  Make better planning or budgeting decisions?

46 Concluding Comments Assessment is an ongoing and evolving process. Every step of the process is the process. Good assessment never ends; it’s cyclical in nature. Even when the process goes well, we should continue to examine it and contemplate next steps.

47 Questions?


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