Outcomes Assessment at Springfield College
Assessment of Student Learning
In support of the NECHE standards of accreditation, faculty members are responsible for the assessment of student learning at the course, program, and institutional level. These assessment activities are a critical component of successful teaching and assist our faculty in improving the learning opportunities and experiences available to our students. The assessment process at the College requires that in each course, and for each program, faculty members will identify the student learning outcomes that are appropriate for that learning experience. Based on these outcomes, faculty members will then develop direct and indirect measures to determine if these outcomes are being achieved, and they will utilize the information collected during the assessment process to improve the curriculum of the college.
In preparing their assigned courses, each faculty member should consult the department’s outcomes assessment plan, and the previous data that has been collected for the undergraduate and graduate programs offered by the department. Individual course outcomes and assessments should be designed to ensure that students completing the course will achieve the outcomes needed to meet the general education and/or program outcomes identified by the department.
Course Based Assessment Guidelines
- All course syllabi must include 5-6 statements of the student learning outcomes anticipated for the course;
- These outcome statements should reflect the content approved for the course and the outcomes needed to satisfy program and/or general education requirements;
- These outcomes should be both direct and indirect measures of student learning;
- The outcomes should be stated in terms that are measurable by the faculty through a variety of assessment techniques;
- For each outcome, the syllabus should describe an assessment strategies that will be used to determine if the outcome has been achieved by the student;
- The assessments identified in the course syllabus should be used to evaluate the student’s work and to determine their course grade.
A sample course based outcomes and assessment section of the syllabi might look like this:
Students who successfully complete this course will:
- Students will be able to understand and apply the steps involved in descriptive, correlational, and experimental research;
- Assessment via Mid-Term Examination; Analysis of Case Statements; Final Research Project;
- Students will be able to develop a research hypothesis and identify a appropriate research design to test the hypothesis;
- Assessment via Mid-Term Examination; Review of Primary Literature; Final Research Project;
- Students will correctly identify and apply the statistical tools needed to analyze the data collected for a research problem:
- Assessment via Final Examination; Data analysis work; Written review of Primary Literature; Final Research Project.
Program Based Assessment Guidelines
All Departments will create program assessment plans for their undergraduate and graduate programs that will be utilized to guide program enhancement and improvement; Each plan will include:
- 4-6 statements of program goals
- 4-6 statements of the desired student learning outcomes for each program goal
- 4-6 statements of the direct and indirect assessments that the department will use to determine if students have achieved these outcomes;
- A plan to assesses at least 1-3 program goals each year
- And, via annual reports to the School Dean, a description of the ways in which the data/information collected from these assessment has been and will be used to improve the program.
Institutional Assessment of Student Learning
At the institutional level, an Institutional Outcomes Assessment Task Force (IOATF) was reinstated in Fall of 2019. This group is co-chaired by the Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Director of Institutional Research, other Cabinet members (division heads, deans, key office leaders) recommended staff and faculty members to constitute the task force. The IOATF is charged with reviewing the College's data and evidence of institutional effectiveness.
Evidence reviewed by the task force includes results from Springfield College's participation in national and institutional surveys (e.g., National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), CIRP Freshman Survey, Noel Levitz, Senior Survey, Graduate Student Survey, Post-Graduation Outcomes); results and reports from the college's programmatic offerings (e.g., academic program review, NSO or student leadership evaluations), as well as administrative data on institutional effectiveness (e.g., admissions data, graduation and retention rates of various student cohorts). The task force makes an annual report with recommendations based upon data and evidence reviewed.
A sample of some of the themes and recommendations that came about from the 2019-2020 IOATF include:
- Discuss potential changes to the existing Senior Survey, Graduate Student Survey, and ROCE survey for implementation in Spring 2021
- Create a small working group that can focus on the standardization of outcomes assessment for the Regional and Online student population
- Develop and Implement a central repository of annual reports, which document student academic success as well as co-curricular assessment activities for all student populations
- Enhance promotion of data literacy across campus
- Create a communication plan to share and distribute institutional assessment outcomes and research to the campus community