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A Collaborative Approach to Writing Learning Goals 1 September 30, 2009.

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1 A Collaborative Approach to Writing Learning Goals 1 September 30, 2009

2 A brief overview of Assessment At Lehman Assessment Council Middle States Recommendations Timeline Ambassador’s Role In This Process 2

3 Assessment Council Membership Nancy Dubetz (ECCE) *Robert Farrell (Lib) Marisol Jimenez (ISSP) Carl Mazza (SWK) Vincent Prohaska (Psych) Lynn Rosenberg (SLHS) Robyn Spencer (History) Minda Tessler (Psych) Janette Tilley (Mus) Esther Wilder (Soc) *Committee Chair Administrative Advisor – Assessment Coordinator Ray Galinski - 3

4 Committee charge Develop written strategic plan for campus assessment of student learning, which will include: definitions of key terms for campus assessment practices articulation of reporting procedures articulation of responsible parties recommendations for departmental processes for assessing learning goals recommendations on incentives for faculty participation in assessment Develop and promote a culture of assessment on campus Act in an advisory capacity to Provost [Deans’ Council] for developing campus assessment goals Act in an advisory capacity to departments and individual faculty to facilitate assessment efforts Work with campus Assessment Coordinator to create cross- departmental assessment teams and partnerships. 4

5 Middle States Standards & Accreditation Standard 14: Assessment of Student Learning: Assessment of student learning demonstrates that, at graduation, or other appropriate points, the institution’s students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional and appropriate higher education goals. 5

6 Reviewers will be looking for: how each goal is being assessed (including tools), what assessment results have been collected, analysis detailing what those results say about goals, how results are being used for improvement of student learning, evidence that the institution recognizes, values and supports these efforts, and evidence that the process is systematic and part of the institution’s culture. 6

7 Timeline Fall 2009 Articulate learning goals and objectives for majors and programs Spring 2010 Create procedural outline for assessment cycle May entail alignment of curriculum to ensure student learning opportunities Programs begin assessment if ready Fall 2010 Revisiting Assessment plans First assessment cycle of student learning goals Spring 2011 Assessment results reported Middle State report submitted Ongoing assessment

8 ASSESSMENT AMBASSADORS Attend occasional assessment workshops, conferences and events Work closely with department chairs and deans to develop major/program learning goals & objectives that align with good assessment practices Submit major/program level goals & objectives to the Associate Deans for review Help coordinate assessment plans for each major/program in department Work with assessment coordinator 8

9 What do we want our students to learn? 9 What… knowledge, skills, abilities, and habits of mind …do we expect graduates of our program to have?

10 Guiding philosophy “Assessment begins not with creating or implementing tests, assignments, or other assessment tools but by first deciding on your goals: what you want your students to learn” (Suskie 2004: 73). “The identification of intended educational (student learning) outcomes is a very important first step in the assessment process. In many cases, it is abbreviated in nature so that ‘we can get on with assessment.’ To shorten this step seriously undermines the use of results from the assessment activities...” (Nichols and Nichols 2005: 83). “…When clearly defined goals are lacking, it is impossible to evaluate a course or program efficiently. And there is no sound basis for selecting appropriate materials, content or instructional methods” ( Mager, 1969). 10


12 Workshop Articulating Learning Goals & Objectives Workshop Articulating Learning Goals & Objectives Goals, Objectives, Outcomes Goal - A broad statement of desired outcomes – what we hope students will know and be able to do as a result of completing the program/course. They should highlight the primary focus and aim of the program. They are not directly measurable. Rather, They are evaluated directly or indirectly by measuring specific objectives related to the goal. Objective - Sometimes referred to as intended learning outcomes, student learning outcome (SLO) or outcome statements. They are clear, brief statements used to describe to a specific, measurable action or task that helps achieve the target (goal). Outcomes - the learning results – the end results -- the knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits of mind that students have or have not taken with them as a result of the students’ experience in the course(s) or program. 12

13 Checklist for Evaluating Written Objectives uses action verbs that specify definite, observable behaviors. uses simple language. describes student rather than teacher behaviors. describes a learning outcome rather than a learning process. focuses on end-of-instruction behavior rather than subject matter coverage. indicates a single outcome per objective. can be assessed by one or more indicators (methods). is clearly linked to a goal. is realistic and attainable. is not simple when complexity is needed. is clear to people outside the discipline. is validated by departmental colleagues. Source: Ball State University 13

14 EXERCISE To develop the students’ ability to effectively express themselves orally and in writing. What are the learning objectives? 14

15 Steps to Articulating Major/Program Goals Steps to Articulating Major/Program Goals Research Collaboration Consensus Reflection 15

16 Identify Existing Major/Program Goals & Objectives Goals/objectives created for past accreditations Goals/objectives emerging from departmental retreats Goals/objectives emerging from budget requests Goals/objectives established by a disciplinary society Goals/objectives established with the help of an industry advisory group Goals/objectives from past grant proposals Goals/objectives generated from curriculum review committees (Source: Walvoord, 2004) 16

17 Review Existing Goals/Objectives Do they still make sense? Are they still relevant today? Are they in-line with college and department goals? Are they effectively communicated? Use the statement, “When students complete our program, they should be able to …..” to help guide the discussion 17

18 Other Resources for Identifying Major/Program Goals & Objectives  Standards espoused by professional organizations and accreditation agencies  Course syllabi (ultimately, the course goals will make up the major/program goals)  Mission statements  Strategic planning discussions  Capstone experiences  Existing course assignments or assessments  Survey or interview of prospective employers  Admission criteria for academic programs your students pursue after program completion 18

19 Strategy Workshop Collaborating to Develop Program/Major Learning Goals Brainstorm and Write Throw everything on giant notepads. Group by kind. No debate. Vote with stickers. Five stickers per faculty member. Choose highest vote getters. Revise language as needed. 19

20 If you can’t get together… Faculty input ◦ Ask faculty, including part-time faculty, to anonymously submit a certain number of educational learning goals for the major/program (key strategy recommended by Nichols and Nichols 2005). ◦ In many instances the outcomes identified by faculty will be concerning their individual courses rather than the program overall. In some cases, it may be necessary to identify similar outcomes put forward (representing several courses) and to generalize to the program level based on the faculty input (Nichols and Nichols 2005). 20

21 Another Strategy for Building Consensus 1. Using the aforementioned strategies, create a list of all possible learning goals for a major/program. 2. Distribute the list to faculty members, and ask each to check off those goals that s/he thinks should be the key goals for the major/program. 3. Collect the lists, tally the checkmarks, and share the results with the faculty. 4. Strike those goals with no votes (a group may also agree to strike those goals with just one or two votes, too). 21

22 Another Strategy for Building Consensus 5. Sometimes a few goals will emerge as the top vote-getters, and the group will agree to focus on them, ending the process. 6. If consensus cannot be reached after the first round, redistribute the (possibly abbreviated) list with the initial results noted, and ask the faculty to vote again. 7.Periodically rotate and assess 3-5 key learning outcomes for which faculty consensus indicates importance. 22

23 Assessment Council Membership Nancy Dubetz (ECCE) *Robert Farrell (Lib) Marisol Jimenez (ISSP) Carl Mazza (SWK) Vincent Prohaska (Psych) Lynn Rosenberg (SLHS) Robyn Spencer (History) Minda Tessler (Psych) Janette Tilley (Mus) Esther Wilder (Soc) *Committee Chair Administrative Advisor – Assessment Coordinator Ray Galinski - 23

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