Question 4

4.  Summarize overall departmental/program improvements implemented, in progress, or under consideration as a result of the assessment of learning, service, and/or administrative unit outcomes.  (Be sure to reference the data/reports that underlie these new directions.)  

Suggestions

  • Discuss changes made in your department/program based on the results of your SLO assessments and analysis
  • Address retention and equity
  • Consider using independent flex days and departmental meetings for departmental exploration of SLOs and summarize the resulting dialogue here
  • Describe how your department/ program will engage members of the department in using assessments to  make improvements to courses, programs, projects, and services during this academic year

Examples

Example:  Matriculation

Changes have occurred in the area of placement testing policies and practices. Student equity hearings held during spring 2012 were the catalyst for revising assessment policies and practices. Effective October 2010, the retest policy for placement assessment shortened the period between placement tests to two weeks with a maximum of two tests per cycle. The wait time for students who had enrolled in math, ESL, or English courses previously was reduced from six months to three months after the posting of grades.

As of spring 2010l CSU’s Early Assessment Program (EAP) Math test results have been added to the criteria for waiving the CCSF Math test. The EAP is taken by high school juniors to determine college readiness in the subjects of English and math. A result indicating “college ready” in mathematics identifies eligibility for transferable quantitative reasoning courses. At this time, the English Department has not added EAP results in English to the list of criteria for waiving the English placement test. Per federal regulations pertaining to ability to benefit testing, a new test instrument will be selected in Summer 2011. As tests are removed from the approved list, colleges are required to select a new test. Students may not proceed with the financial aid process unless the ATB test is satisfactorily passed.

To facilitate noncredit placement testing SarsGrid was installed at Mission and Downtown.
This new process for making appointments replaces the long standing process of manual paper sign up sheets. With Sars installed, the next step is to utilize the companion product SarsCall to make automated reminder phone calls to students. The web based application eSars was installed for credit placement testing. This makes the scheduling of English/ESL and math tests available to students via the internet. Prior to the use of Sars, students had to make appointments for computerized placement testing in person or by phone.

 

Example:  English

Even before the 2009-10 Program Review, the department had committed itself to addressing retention and student equity. The plans to do so were summarized in last year’s Program Review documents. Since then the Department of English has provided two additional alternative pathways through the English sequence. In a single semester, two entirely new intensive English courses (English 95X and 961A) were created, planned, outline, approved, and staffed. The classes are underway, enrollment has been robust, and more sections of these courses will be offered in Fall of 2011. The unprecedented, unexampled nature of these intensive courses also points to an urgent need for professional development and outreach to other schools doing similar work.

The department has accelerated and intensifies its assessment process in response to these courses. Reading/writing portfolio assessment of English 90/91 continues each semester, as does the assessment of newly rewritten English 92 SLOs, SLOs for English 95X, English 961A and English 1A were finalized during Fall Semester 2010, and the assessment of them is of paramount importance for Spring and Fall 2011. During the next two years, refining the assessment process and analyzing data collected on the intensive courses will be a priority. This semester will be spent running reading and writing assessments on 16 sections of English 95X and English 961A (and a smaller number of English 93 and 1A courses as control groups), designing assessment rubrics, and reading student essays during the scoring period. Finding the time to design assessments, plan rubrics, and assess student on top of regular planning and teaching duties is a challenge. Moreover, one set of reading assessment booklets must be shared among a dozen or more sections; these test instruments are not available electronically and are strictly copyrighted. If we had more reliable access to the Advanced Degrees of Reading Poser (ADRP) tests T-2, T-4, U-2, and U-4, we could assess more sections and obtain more meaningful results.

Finally, we discussed how to use the products of last semester’s work group meetings and planned our approach to designing the intensive courses at a department-run professional development session in September 2010. The department and its faculty would benefit from more professional development and networking with other colleges but this would require a commitment of financial support from the college.