2013 April Highlights

Once a month, we highlight departments and programs from across the college that have great things happening motivated by a desire to improve student learning.

April 2013

-- Kitty Moriwaki, faculty -- "Placement of students into California Community College English, ESL, and Math courses is a “multiple measures” process."

Students taking placement exam

CCSF Course Placement Assessment

The CCSF English and ESL Departments have reviewed many published, “off-the-shelf” placement tests for possible use in the ENGL and ESL course placement processes. But no second-party tests, as yet, possess the content to adequately  measure the full range of English and ESL skills of entering CCSF students, and the full range of content/skill areas taught in the CCSF English and ESL curricula. For this reason, both departments have developed placement tests that that more effectively measure the specific knowledge and skills expected of entering CCC students at the various course placement levels. We’ve been fortunate to have the resources to develop and manage these CCSF placement tests – the faculty expertise, Office of Research assistance, and Matriculation Office coordination and funding.

Studies of test-validity and fairness

One of the Matriculation Services Program outcomes states, “Students will be able to place into the appropriate level of English, ESL, or Math courses to maximize their success.” 

The ongoing evaluation of the validity and fairness of college course placement processes is mandated by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. (Click here to read the rest of this article.)

-- Rebeca Mauleon-Santana, faculty -- "In department meetings held twice a week, we have pushed and pulled and finally evolved the SLOs into shape."

Faculty in the Music Department (L to R): Wilma Pang, Madeline Mueller, Pamela Kamatani, Rebeca Mauleon, Brian Fergus, Charles McCarthy, and Franz Enciso

One of many highlights that we in the Music Department have experienced during the SLO update process is the inclusive nature of the process itself; we jumped at the challenge of democracy, that is, robust interaction among all faculty members. With input from our department chair and our department SLO coordinator, the music instructors have spent a great many hours over the last six months learning to apply Bloom’s active verbs to this pressing task.

In the department meetings held twice a week, we have pushed and pulled and finally evolved the SLOs into shape for school-wide and public view. We are also applying this enhanced knowledge and expanded vocabulary to the updating of our Course Outlines of Record, which we are about to submit to the Curriculum Committee for review.

Our applied music courses, such as multiple levels of voice instruction and instrumental music, underwent a dramatic reconfiguration of jury assessment, resulting in department-wide implementation of new data collection methods for such courses, and the creation of active jury teams by numerous faculty.

In summary, the SLO process has been a great deal of work, but worth the time and energy we have spent as a department and as individuals. We know ourselves and each other better. The students, of course, will benefit the most from the results.



-- Chris Shaeffer, Program Manager -- "Benefits ... include a $50 lunch card for the cafeteria... and a discount MUNI pass for the coming month."

HARTS staff (left to right): Alison Washington, William Michailoff, Chris Shaeffer, Tina Esquer.

For 20 years the Homeless at Risk Transitional Students Program (HARTS) has served an especially needy population. Students who want to be a part of our program must provide a letter confirming need from a human service agency and a completed application, including confirmation of completion of nine credit units with an overall GPA of 2.0 or higher. On enrollment,we check transcripts and recommend remedies for any outstanding problems and provide additional academic advice as necessary. Student mentoring is also available from our student staff. Benefits that can be received include a $50 lunch card for the cafeteria to last at least four weeks and a discount monthly MUNI pass.

Data for 159 students from Fall 2012 show an average age of 39: 9.6% homeless; 48% in shelters; 17% in a rehab/half-way house facility; 14% in subsidized single-room occupancy hotels. There were more men than women, 68% to 32%; and 33% were disabled. Students from six ethnic groups included: 36% AfricanAmerican; 27% White; 13% Latino; 5% Asian; 3% Native American; 9% chose not to say. Veterans made up 14% of our students, and self-identified LGBT were 3%.

Academic results for the Fall 2012 term show GPAs: 11.3% (18) at 4.0; 23.2% (37) at 3.0-3.9; 23.3% (37) at 2.0-2.9; 24.5% (39) below 2.0; 14.4% (23) withdrew.

For the Fall 2011-2012 academic year, 25 HARTS students achieved academic awards, certificates, and/or degrees.

Considering the difficult circumstances HARTS students face, a 60% over 2.0 passing rate is to be lauded.

Thanks to required meetings with the HARTS coordinator after midterm grades came out, a noticeable rise in GPA average (.1) was achieved. Some students were advised to drop classes if there was little chance for passing. Learning assistance was suggested for others. Many students have outside requirements for meetings at rehab facilities and half-way housed. All of them are in great financial stress and often have to appeal financial aid holds. They were referred to counseling, Sarah Thompson in particular, for educational planning. MUNI passes cost the Program $74, $64, and $22 for BART/MUNI, MUNI, and disabled passes respectively. The majority of funding for the 416 passes for Fall 2012 comes from an ongoing budget from the Associated Students. The rest, nearly two months worth, is paid by students ($25 or $15 for BART/MUNI and MUNI clipper cards respectively; disabled passes free)

Thanks to the District and with assistance from the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Studies Department, Cindy Hart in particular and the cafeteria staff in general, hungry students can eat on campus. We like to provide 6 card refills per year. However, we are serving nearly 170 students this Spring 2013 semester and can provide only two cards each. We are looking to increase our budget to better serve our students.

Library & Learning Resources

-- Andrea Niosi -- Librarian, faculty -- "Over the years, assessments have led to the development of additional workshops such as one on citing sources and another on basic library skills."

Rosenburg Library -- Ocean Campus

The library has conducted SLO assessment for information competency instruction for over seven years. Assessment methods used include pre- and post-testing, student feedback forms and assignment analysis with the use of rubrics. Changes to workshop content and delivery are based on the assessments to ensure continual quality improvement. Effective Fall 2006, all CCSF students completing a AA/AS or transfer degree must satisfy the Information Competency requirement by successfully completing the Area B: Written Composition requirement, specifically English 1A. The ENG 1A official course outline has been revised to include the teaching and assessment of at least six of the seven information competency skill areas and to require a minimum of 5 hours of library research skills workshops. Over the years, assessments have led to the development of additional workshops such as one on citing sources and another on basic library skills. The Library Research Skills workshops are assessed every two years. The Library’s one credit LIS 10 course runs similar assessments each year.

One gap in the Library’s assessment of information competency SLOs is in course-specific workshops. The number of course-specific  instructional sessions continues to rise: 2011-12  data show 301 sessions reaching 7,545 students, serving 60 unique credit courses in 26 different departments and programs, and 28 different noncredit courses in five programs. This semester, the Library’s Information Competency/Curriculum Development committee is working to develop a standard pre- and post-test for the subject specific workshops as well as an instructor feedback form. 

Two new assessments were developed and conducted in Fall 2012 and Spring 2013. The first one looked at visual literacy in response to the library exhibits. Visual literacy SLOs were developed and aligned to the Library’s PSLOs. The first assessment led to the following improvements being implemented this semester: 1) new exhibition assignments will include modeling of examples; 2) exhibition design will be modified to include more contextual information; increased labeling to describe images and objects on display and accompanying text will be researched and written by a librarian; 3) we are considering offering visual literacy training and embedding a workshop on it into the library’s information competency program.  Modifications to the visual literacy rubric are also underway. (First assessment report.)

The other new assessment was developed to assess library student workers and whether working in the library increased their understanding of cultural diversity and better prepared them for entering the workforce by providing career development (an ILO). A rubric was developed to assess the students, and evaluation forms were completed by supervisors as well as a self-assessment form completed by the students. A pilot was conducted and adjustments to the rubric and evaluation form were made. To improve confidence levels among library student workers, increase workforce preparedness, and demonstrate that skills learned and used at the library are, in fact, very transferable supervisors will:

  • share staff experience in the modern workforce in other industries or enterprises.
  • place more emphasis on sharing positive feedback as often as “constructive criticism” type feedback.

Student workers at all centers with libraries will be assessed Spring 2013. (Pilot assessment full report.)