Dr. Diana Stuart
Launched March 2014
Updated November 2014
Action Project Details
1: Describe this Action Project's goal in 100 words or fewer:
A:Mineral Area College has had a long-standing practice of assessing its students, courses, and programs. However, the College is investing in a software program to attain a campus-wide format for consistently assessing its courses and is undertaking a large-scale initiative to streamline and unify its course-level assessment practices. The first phase of this project involves working with faculty to establish a common format for expressing Student Learning Outcomes, Assessment Measures, Acceptable Targets, and Connections to Missouri's Eight State Level Goals. The goal of this Action Project is to have 15 percent of courses (about 100 classes) set up in the Accountability Management System, TaskStream, by June 30, 2014 and begin inputting measurement findings for these courses during the 2014-2015 Assessment Cycle which culminates with an initial program review for courses completed in August of 2015.
2: Describe briefly your institution's reasons for taking on this Action Project now -- why the project and its goals are high among your current priorities:
A: Mineral Area College has recently undergone a Campus Quality Check-Up Visit, a Systems Appraisal, and Reaffirmation for Accreditation with no accreditation issues. However, the College acknowledges that these three HLC evaluations indicated the need for a more consistent assessment policy and an institutional paradigm shift to utilizing more data driven decisions.
After the Quality Check Up visit, the Assessment Committee began to research centralized assessment platforms that would enable the College to streamline the assessment practices already in place and document the findings in a more uniform fashion. After reviewing several products and examining a cost-benefit ratio, the committee chose the Accountability Management System, Taskstream, to utilize for these purposes.
Although the College has had a long-standing culture of placement assessment and outcomes assessment at the program and degree level, the College acknowledges that course and department level assessment has not been unified or clearly documented. While some departments are models of excellent course and program level assessment, not all areas across campus have made the same commitment to assessment, nor have all departments consistently used assessment findings to drive curricular decisions.
This phase of the project is identified as Phase One and will be the first of several action projects to follow. Phase one of MAC's Assessment Initiative include the following goals:
1. The Associate Dean of Instruction and the Assessment Director pulled together a small Assessment Task Force to design a template for course-level assessment after determining that the College wanted to work from the course level up to department and program levels sequentially. 2. Under the direction of the Associate Dean and her staff, the Assessment Task Force:
- identified all "participating areas" of the college, including individual courses, departments, and programsdetermined an individual, lead teacher, department chair, program coordinator, or dean responsible for each participating area and course deleted and archived courses no longer taught
- identified 660 active courses
3. With direction from the President's Cabinet, the Associate Dean of Instruction and her staff
- established a goal of having 15% of the 660 courses placed in Taskstream by the end of the academic year (June 30, 2014) set up parameters within the Tasksteam to establish consistent Student Learning Outcomes, define acceptable targets, and establish an assessment and review cycle began meeting with faculty to assist refining and inputting Student Learning Outcomes, assessment measures, acceptable targets, and an assessment review cycle in Taskstream
- established the first assessment cycle to collect and evaluate findings from Fall 2014 to Summer 2015
3:List the organizational areas -- institutional departments, programs, divisions, or units -- most affected by or involved in this Action Project:
A:This is a campus-wide instructional initiative that impacts both the Arts and Sciences Division and the Career and Technical Education Division. The Career and Technical Division has 8 departments and offers 36 Associate of Applied Science degrees, with multiple majors ranging from Child Development to Business Management and Agri-Business to Computer Networking. The CTE Division encompasses approximately 360 courses. The Arts and Sciences Divisions has 10 departments and offers three basic degrees, the Associate of Arts, the Associate of Arts in Teaching, and the Associate of General Studies. The Associate of Arts and the Associate of Arts in Teaching are the primary transfer degrees offered. The departments contained in the Arts and Sciences Division comprise the largest number of general education courses used across all degrees and programs and include approximately 300 classes.
This is a wide-scale initiative impacting full-time faculty, adjunct faculty, department chairs, program coordinators, and deans. The ultimate beneficiaries of this action project will be students as changes made as a result of this project will improve teaching and learning on campus.
4: Name and describe briefly the key organizational process(es) that you expect this Action Project to change or improve:A:This action project will improve course, department, program, and degree assessment practices, including the College's ability to have a more uniform assessment protocol, a standardized procedure for collecting and recording Student Learning Outcomes, a formal, periodic review for all assessment findings collected, and a required action plan for initiating changes in curriculum and instruction based upon data. The goal of all these combined steps is to improve teaching and learning on campus. Since the first phase is focused specifically on course-level assessment, this action project strongly supports Category 1, "Helping Students Learn." In addition, the project supports additional AQIP categories, such as Category 6: "Supporting Institutional Operations." This action project supports Category 6 by providing a smoother process for documenting and sharing assessment results and providing a clearer plan of action for addressing the findings and initiating institutional and curricular changes based upon the review of those findings.
In addition, the action project supports Category 7: "Measuring Effectiveness." The College is making a more concerted effort to use data to drive decisions. The data collected from the cyclical review of assessment data from Taskstream will assist the College in determining improvements and changes in curriculum and instruction and allocating human and fiscal resources.
Finally, this project supports AQIP Category 8, "Planning for Continuous Improvement." Although this is only phase one of what will be a comprehensive shift in assessment policies and practices, this is the beginning of the College's endeavor to formally "close the loop" from assessing to implementing change.
5: Explain the rationale for the length of time planned for this Action Project (from kickoff to target completion)
A: This Action Project is the first phase of what will likely be a three to five phase project geared to having 100 percent of our courses inputted into Taskstream, with Student Learning Outcomes, acceptable targets, measurements, findings, and periodic reviews with action plans. Since the first 15 percent of courses are currently being placed into Taskstream, the first assessment cycle culminates at the end of the 2014-15 academic year, so this seems a logical stopping point for this first phase of the project. The total time period will be about 18 months. Subsequent phases will each encompass 18 to 24 months, building toward the goal of having all courses inputted, reviewed, and improved based upon data derived from this process. After all courses have become a part of the formal assessment cycle, the College will begin a systematic process to unify current practices in department and program level assessment also utilizing the Taskstream.
6:Describe how you plan to monitor how successfully your efforts on this Action Project are progressing
A:The Associate Dean of Instruction and her staff are charting the number of faculty who are working in Taskstream and the number of courses being completed. The target of 15% or about 100 courses is the goal for the current academic year, ending June 30 2014. At present, 13% of courses have been placed into Taskstream, so the first goal is close to being met. The next goal is for faculty to collect data on their Student Learning Outcomes during the 2014-15 assessment cycle ending June 2015, compare their results to the acceptable targets they set, and determine what corrective actions need to be taken -- as necessary, thus closing the course-level assessment loop on campus.
7: Describe the overall "outcome" measures or indicators that will tell you whether this Action Project has been a success or failure in achieving its goals
A:MAC will consider phase one of its new assessment initiative a success if 15 percent of courses have Student Learning Outcomes embedded in Taskstream using common language, acceptable targets have been set and met, and departments and administration review the findings and begin to make curricular changes based upon the data revealed. Even if not all acceptable targets are met, the College will consider this action project a step towards success of assessing 100% of its courses, using a consistent accountability management system, utilizing a more formalized process, and making decisions based upon data obtained and reviewed throughout the assessment cycle.