2014 Nov Highlights

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

November 2014

English Department

Description to replace

Accelerated Courses

In the accelerated courses, the English Department has seen tremendous success in not only getting the students through our English sequence faster, but also better preparing students to take on high-level academic tasks. From Spring 2011 through Fall 2013, 4,388 students enrolled in English Department Accelerated Program classes. 2,087 students enrolled in English 95X/9293, the Developmental accelerated course. 2,301 students enrolled in English 961A, the Transfer-level accelerated course. Looking at the cumulative statistics for student success and using completion of English 1A as the success metric, the success of English 95X/9293 is powerful: 

·         2.3 times as many students who enroll in English 95X/9293 complete English 1A compared to students who take the traditional two semester English 92-English 93 sequence.

English 961A reveals similar results using completion of English 1A as the success metric:

·         In 961A, the transfer-level accelerated course, 1.8 times as many students who enroll in English 961A complete English 1A when compared to students who take the traditional two semester sequence.

To try to better understand how and why our accelerated course curriculum empowers students in this way, a team of accelerated faculty is developing a survey for current and former accelerated students. The survey will ask students to try to identify the different components of the pedagogy that allowed them to be successful and feel more confident in the reading, writing, and thinking skills. The survey will go out to students next semester. The data gathered from this survey will help to inform the expansion of our accelerated program.

In light of the most current data on the success rates of students in our accelerated program as well the completion rate of basic skills and ESL students through the English sequence, the English Department has begun a department-wide discussion about how we can better serve our students. As part of that discussion, the department is thoroughly examining how our courses articulate, where we lose the most students, and how we can revise our sequence to help close some of the achievement gaps. Level coordinators are working closely together to ensure that the exit skills for one level match to the entry skills for the next level up. We are also considering ways to further shorten and clarify our sequence given the considerable success of accelerated courses both to retain students and to help them persist through the sequence. This will be one of the major department-wide conversations we have this semester. It is very exciting, leading to creativity and innovation all with the goal of better serving our students!

The English Department has been busy ensuring that all of our courses are being assessed regularly and that the assessment results are informing our teaching and curriculum. For every course in the English sequence, we have assigned level coordinators. These generous faculty not only organize and facilitate meetings, they lead the development and analysis of our assessments, sometimes while also revising our course outlines and SLOs!

Our current course level coordinators are working on various stages of the assessment cycle—all levels have incorporated SLO assessment into the regular meeting discussion. Some of the highlights for Fall 2014 are summarized here:

English 91

In English 91, we are once again tracking how many students leave or fail the class (Fs, FWs and Ws) for reasons beyond what happens in the classroom. As the course is evolving to meet the needs of our changing student body, we are hoping to identify not only how to support them in the classroom with the cognitive, metacognitive, affective skills, but also how to direct them to student support services that will help support them with life issues outside the boundaries of the learning environment.

We are also "closing the loop" by implementing a 3 essay unit structure (down from 4) as a result of the more challenging essay units we have been teaching for the past few semesters and the continued need to make enough time for reading, college success skills, and community building/affective activities. We are monitoring the success of teaching three essay units.

We are also closing the loop after last semester's norming of essay grading among 91 teachers. We are creating a trajectory of the cognitive tasks that should be taught in each of the three essay units, as a guide for teachers. This semester, we plan to help teachers create grading rubrics that reflect these objectives and share teaching methods that accomplish these tasks. Next semester, we plan to hold another norming of essay grading based on this semester's work.

English 93

In the spring of 2014, the 93 level conducted a pilot assessment in which the level evaluated five sample essays from all 93 teachers for whether those essays demonstrated competence in SLO A.  The purpose of the pilot was to determine what worked and didn’t work with the assessment (assessment includes both procedure and rubric). For this fall 2014, we will run the formal assessment with a revised rubric and a slightly revised procedure. Finally, during spring 2015, we will discuss the assessment results and use that discussion to inform our 93 course outline revision, which will also happen during spring 2015.

English 96

During the academic year 2013-14, based on the data gathered in previous assessments and the benchmark skills outlined in the newly revised ENGL 1A outline, the ENGL 96 level group worked on revising the course outline and SLOs.  The group made significant progress, but has currently shifted focus in Fall 2014 due to potential changes in the course sequencing that would require more revision to the current draft of the ENGL96 outline.  In the meantime, the ENGL96 group is currently developing a survey for all ENGL 96 instructors to administer to their students.  This assessment survey will help us determine students’ entry and exit skills in order to better understand our current ENGL96 students. Our plan is to administer the survey this semester and use the data gathered to make more informed decisions about that course revision, which is now projected to be completed by the end of Spring 2015.

English 1A

The English 1A course outline was updated and approved through the Campus Curriculum committee in October of 2013. This new course outline has improved the course's Major Learning Outcomes and details of the course significantly.

The English 1A level committee completed one round of critical thinking assessment in Fall 2013. We designed and implemented a rubric, which was then used to grade a random sampling of English 1A student papers from 15 English 1A classes. The committee first normed essays in a three-hour session to establish the scoring standards, and English 1A instructors evaluated their student essays based on these standards.

The committee then reviewed the data in Spring semester 2014, and we discovered through assessment of these 100 English 1A student papers that over 60% were weakest in areas of “Organization and Development” in their academic research essays. Now, in our current Fall 2014 semester, one of our 1A committee goals is to discuss and develop more teaching tools and activities for the classroom that target this area of student writing.

The highlights from our past year’s assessment were the energy and empowerment that comes from teachers gathering together to talk about the impact of language--both in student writing and in the writing of faculty! Taking the time to gather together and talk about writing, and our values as teachers, our values as graders within our department's standards, allows us to learn about and contribute to our community which takes what, at times, is a very solitary job and makes it exciting. We are also proud to share that our assessments of the past year have given us concrete information about our student’s success and what we can do to continue to improve it.

English 1B

The English 1B group wrapped up an assessment last semester and revised the 1B outline accordingly. This semester we are starting over again. In our first meeting we decided to assess MLO D: "Distinguish among conventions of various genres and understand the impact of these conventions on both form and content." We will be developing a student survey to conduct the latter half of the semester.

English 1C

In Fall of 2014, English 1C students will be assessed on SLO E: Evaluate and incorporate primary and secondary sources using MLA style. This will be a reassessment of this SLO following the Fall 2013 assessment of the same SLO. In Fall 2013, 125 students took the survey at the beginning of the semester, and 87 students took it at the end. The class mean for the first administration was 5.392. For the second administration, the class mean was 5.632. Although the numbers went up very slightly, this was not much of a change.

After reviewing this data and analyzing our survey, we found that a few of the questions in the survey had flaws that may have confused the students.

Our plans for this semester (Fall 2014) include the following:

A.      Refining and reassessing how we teach MLA guidelines.

B.      In the first two months of the semester, instructors will teach the literacy survey and the “What’s new in MLA Style?” handout in addition to their individual instruction of MLA style.

C.      After Thanksgiving, the students will take the MLA literacy survey as a test, using scantrons to record their answers.


Evans Center

Description to replace

 The Evans Center offers credit and noncredit courses across the spectrum of day, night, and Saturday schedules, and makes a continuous conscious effort to reach out to the immediate community to improve the quality of life. The student population demographic for this Center, with slight crossover between credit and noncredit, is a population of 1,792 credit and 2,166 noncredit, for a total of close to 4,000 students. This number does not include the many additional students that use this campus as part of other programs, services, and/or community-based organizations, such as Fashion, Welding, Fire Science, continuing education, and apprenticeship. One strong community Program Review Summary – Education Centers connection is our CityBuild construction program, which collaborates between community-based organizations, the City and County of San Francisco Mayor’s office, large construction employers and contractors, and trade unions to provide intensive, all-day training toward employment of disadvantaged student populations.

The Evans Center is a nexus of job preparation training (CTE) for the City of San Francisco and surrounding areas. The Evans Center connects the general education outlined in the College’s mission statement to quality technical education in the above-mentioned areas. As a demonstration of student success, this Center consistently puts out one of the highest numbers of completion certificates in all these areas, and is among the highest producers of technical education certificates in San Francisco overall. Over the past two decades, the K-12 education system has lost sight of the need for continuing technical education in preparing students for transition to the workplace. Hence, this Center is a powerful beacon to the community in this important endeavor. Most Center faculty are highly-respected representatives of their respective industries, and have their fingers on the pulse of day-to-day needs in training. Based on this strong faculty skill and knowledge level, all of our course learning outcomes are constantly monitored and revised to ensure success in the workplace.

Within our stable of programs, Automotive is nationally-certified and submits to a five-year cycle of rigorous evaluation by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). This certification requires compliance with continuously upgraded standards that keep us at the forefront of changing technology. We strongly welcome and encourage people from our local community and the broader San Francisco area to partake of our very successful training programs. 

Due to the immediacy of information transfer in technical training, we are constantly evaluating our training in relation to industry standards and needs. Parallel to this process, we also keep current in the highest standard of CCSF’s academic learning outcomes to match the technical training. We conduct ongoing surveys of current students, alumni, and local employers to ensure that our programs remain authentic, which also serves to keep the lines of communication open within the local community. Automotive certification requires the active participation of an Advisory Committee made up of local employers and industry representatives, which provides input and advice on the program and its outcomes. We are working on putting together Advisory Committees for both Motorcycle and Construction programs to the same end. We are also developing a collaboration with the City and County of San Francisco to build an internship program which will serve as a bridge between their Central Repair Shops and our Automotive Training Program for both training and student employment.