Action Project Details
1: Briefly describe the project in less than 100 words. Be sure to identify the key organizational areas (departments, programs, divisions, units, etc.) and key organizational processes that this action project will affect, change, and/or improve :
A: This action project focuses on ensuring dual credit courses sponsored by Mineral Area College (MAC) offered on high school campuses are equivalent to courses on the main campus. MAC faculty and dual credit high school instructors will collaborate on curriculum and assessment to evaluate courses for consistency. The instructional quality, rigor, relevance, and assessment processes/procedures will be identical between MAC and its high school partners. This project also promotes increased professional development collaborative opportunities between high school and college faculty. Such a collaborative effort will improve both remediation and retention of dual credit students.
2: Describe your institution’s reasons for initiating this action project now and for how long it should take to complete it. Why are this project and its goals high among your institution’s current priorities? Also, explain how this project relates to any strategic initiatives or challenges described in the institution’s recent or soon-to-be submitted systems portfolio:
A: MAC chose this project due to the increase of dual credit and dual enrollment students each academic year and the College’s dedication to providing a quality education for all its students. The fall 2014 dual credit head count increased to 779 students from the previous fall’s 581 students. Fall 2014 also saw an increase in dual enrollment students from 85 in 2013 to 154 in 2014. High school students make up a significant portion of our student enrollment. When combined, the dual credit students from both the Arts and Sciences and Career and Technical Education divisions make up 37% of MAC’s total student population for the fall of 2014.
Currently, we provide dual credit instructors with a course syllabus, an approved textbook, and a formal evaluation completed by a MAC faculty member. However, the College believes it can do a better job of ensuring collaboration and consistency between dual credit instructors and College faculty by creating more formalized policies and procedures. The College’s primary goal is to ensure that dual credit students are prepared for further college courses upon completion of dual credit courses and graduation from high school.
The committee will begin work on this project in October of 2014; they will develop policies and procedures to become effective August of 2015.
This Action Project primarily focuses on AQIP Category One: Helping Students Learn. The goal of the project is to better align dual credit Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) and assessment practices with campus courses. This project relates to other AQIP and strategic initiatives, such as recruitment, remediation, assessment, and retention.
In addition, the project supports AQIP Category Two: Meeting Students’ and Other Stakeholders’ Needs as the scope addresses the College’s outreach service to the community at large. This project will assist in efforts to standardize assessment, as dual credit instructors will be working with main campus instructors to align Student Learning Outcomes and assessment measures. The project also supports components of AQIP Category Four: Planning and Leading, as this project capitalizes on a community need indicated by the local schools’ demands for more dual credit courses to assist with their state accreditation requirements.
Finally, this project will also benefit our recruitment efforts. Students will be prepared for on campus courses by experiencing the appropriate level of rigor, which will help with retention. MAC currently serves 28 schools and career centers. By increasing our collaboration with these secondary institutions, we enhance our outreach efforts in the surrounding communities.
3: List the project goals, milestones, and deliverables along with corresponding metrics, due dates, and other measures for assessing the progress for each goal. Be sure to include formal evaluations when the project progress will be reviewed:
A: Meeting minutes will be maintained throughout the process. The committee will conduct a detailed evaluation after professional development day is held in April 2015. The committee will use this feedback to plan future professional development events. Dual credit instructors will work with college faculty to discuss curriculum and assessment in more depth beyond current practices of submitting syllabi and being evaluated by MAC faculty in the appropriate department or division. This collaboration will ensure that curriculum alignment continues among these schools and instructors. In addition, Dual Credit students will take the same Course Eval survey as the main campus students at the conclusion of their course providing comparative data between sections of courses offered at dual credit sites and campus classes.
Here is the time line to be initiated for this action project:
- October 2014-- Create a committee led by Dual Credit Coordinator and comprised of the Associate Dean of Instruction, the Assistant Accreditation and Course Level Assessment Specialist, the Admissions Director, two instructors from the Arts and Sciences Division, and three instructors from the Career and Technical Division, to develop action steps to improve collaboration between MAC faculty and high school instructors
- October 2014-- Identify a date in April to provide professional development to dual credit high school instructors and develop a plan for a shared workshop between MAC instructors and dual credit instructors addressing curriculum alignment
- November 2014-January 2015-- Prepare for professional development workshop
- February 2015--Invite secondary instructors and administration to take part in the workshop
- March 2015--Finalize plans for the workshop and related curriculum and assessment alignment efforts
- April 2015--Hold curriculum and assessment alignment professional development day and develop an annual schedule to continue secondary and post-secondary curriculum and assessment alignment workshops and related efforts for the future
- May 2015--Distribute dual credit course evaluations to high school students
- August 2015--Review dual credit course evaluations and use results for future curriculum and assessment alignment endeavors
4: Describe how various members of the learning community will participate in this action project. Show the breadth of involvement by individuals and groups over the project’s duration:
A: The dual credit committee members and department chairs, led by the Dual Credit Coordinator, will serve as mentors and provide resources to secondary dual credit instructors. Support and resources will be provided on a continuous basis. High school administration will appoint secondary instructors to participate, educate, and conduct curriculum and assessment alignment for high schools.
MAC faculty and dual credit high school staff will target areas of improvement, such as recruitment, remediation, curriculum and assessment alignment, and retention. The College and high school administration will review the data collected on a yearly basis. This data will assist both the College and high school faculty in making adjustments to improve the quality of dual credit courses.
MAC administration will encourage and allow MAC faculty the time, resources, and support for professional development and curriculum alignment to occur.
5: Describe how the institution will monitor project progress/success during, and at the completion of this project. Be sure to specifically state the measures that will be evaluated and when:
A: MAC faculty and staff will increase the number of evaluation tools to better gauge the quality of courses offered through dual credit. The evaluation tools will examine teacher qualifications and consistency of curriculum and assessment. In addition, the committee will collect data to develop techniques to address remediation and retention of students. The following details explain how this action project will be monitored:
- April 2015 and ongoing-- Conduct an evaluation of effectiveness and value of curriculum and assessment alignment session after the April professional development day to be completed by high school and MAC faculty
- Academic Year 2014-2015 and ongoing-- Evaluate dual credit instructors’ performance with curriculum and assessment and course equivalency on an annual basis using the revised procedures
- April 2015 and ongoing-- Measure course content and instructor performance using improved course evaluations completed by dual credit students
- April 2015 and ongoing-- Review student course evaluation results by high school and MAC faculty
- October 2015 and ongoing-- Administer pre and post evaluations to high school instructors and students that measure expectations of rigor and relevance of dual credit courses and improvements based on increased faculty professional development
- January 2016 and ongoing-- Review pre and post evaluations and assessment findings to make course adjustments
6: Describe the challenges that may be encountered in successfully completing the project or for institutionalizing the learning from the project’s goals:
A: Some of the challenges we face in completing this project include the following:
- Time--Availability of MAC and high school faculty to collaborate on standards and thoroughly interpret evaluation data
- Resources--Lack of resources for the high school classrooms- i.e. making sure all institutions have the books, technology, and other related materials to ensure course equivalency
- Qualifications--Limited number high school instructors who meet HLC and Missouri Department of Higher Education standards in order to teach dual credit classes
7: Provide any additional information that the institution wishes for reviewers to understand regarding this action project:
A:While ensuring course equivalency among our on campus and dual credit classes is our main goal, the college recognizes both direct and indirect benefits of this action project. High schools could use the improved dual credit course evaluations as a model to improve their course evaluations and address issues like remediation. For example, 74% of our main campus incoming students need a remedial course in math at MAC. If we can increase communication between our MAC and high school faculty, we can assist high schools in preparing students for college level work before they enroll at MAC. A student who needs less remediation is more likely to complete a college degree. If remediation needs are identified and completed during high school, those students are more likely to complete a college degree.
In addition, by evaluating and improving courses through the input from students, and both high school and the College staff, MAC is able to ensure courses are of the highest quality at all levels. When instructors and courses are rigorous, relevant, and of high quality, students are learning, and enrollment will continue to grow enabling MAC to serve the community.
Finally, the College will strengthen its relationships with our partner schools, their faculty, and ultimately, the students.