Reasons to Assess
There are five generally accepted reasons to assess:
- To become masters of our craft, discovering--through course and program research--new and emerging pedagogies and methods to improve the learning process
- To determine the extent to which the curriculum is working
- To inform the decisions as to where time, energy and money should be repurposed for continuous improvement in learning
- To help our institution become a learning organization that is adaptive and nimble for the 21st century
- To help demonstrate our quality assurance pledge to the community we serve.
--Robert Pacheco, MiraCosta College
LPC Assessment Philosophy
Las Positas College is committed to its primary mission of teaching and learning to facilitate student success. One means of measuring student success is through the use of authentic assessment. Going beyond assessment of simple acquisition of knowledge, LPC assesses students’ mastery of subject matter and their ability to apply knowledge in the areas of Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity and Aesthetics, Respect and Responsibility and Technology.
The assessment of student learning outcomes serves as the basis for promoting institutional effectiveness and the continuous improvement of academic courses, programs and services. An essential ingredient in LPC’s assessment is the emphasis on faculty-led, classroom-based assessment to ensure a direct focus on learning. Effective assessment is best achieved when there is a clear definition of what student learning outcomes and the assessment cycle are:
- Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are explicit statements describing knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that a student will be able to demonstrate at the end (or as a result) of his or her engagement in a particular lesson, course, program, or collegiate experience.
- Assessment is the systematic collection of information about student learning and the use of that information to create a continuing cycle of improved teaching and learning.
- Using their expertise and experience, individual services, disciplines, programs and faculty members create specific SLOs, assessment standards, and methods for improvement.
- SLOs and assessment are used to help the institution understand how its different courses and programs affect students over time so that it can better coordinate and sequence the student's experience to produce more and deeper learning.
- LPC holds as its standards the American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) Nine Principles of Good Assessment.
Student learning outcomes are the result of a collaborative effort on the part of the entire academic community. Collaboration is best achieved through the clarification of roles and responsibilities.
It is the role of the Academic Senate, based on the tenets of academic freedom, to oversee:
- Curricular content and standards in the development of outcomes,
- Planning and implementation of the assessment process,
- Use of assessment results to help shape decisions within academic programs and respective disciplines.
It is the role of the college administration to provide the technical and operational support that:
- Aids in the development of valid and reliable assessment tools,
- Assists with the analysis and use of assessment results,
- Provides resources to implement changes suggested by the data,
- Coordinates the implementation of course, program and institutional outcomes and assessment.
The assessment of student outcomes is ultimately the assessment of the institution’s ability to provide learning opportunities consistent with its mission. Assessment data is used solely to improve teaching, learning and services, not for the evaluation of individual faculty members, staff or students.