HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHY-STUDENT SERVICES LEARNING ASSESSMENT

Student learning assessment is a priority in the Division of Student Services. Influencing and assessing student learning demonstrates the influence Student Services can have on student development. Program assessment's intention is quite simple. Assessment attempts to answer questions about a program's intended outcomes such as:

  • What are we trying to do and why are we doing it?
  • What do we expect the student to know or to do as a result of our programs or services?
  • How well are we achieving the learning goals?
  • How do we know whether we are achieving the learning goals?
  • How do we use the assessment information to improve?

Conversations regarding student learning assessment in Student Services began in 2006 with the establishment of the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment and Program Evaluation (SLOPE) Team.

The team was charged to: (1) develop and implement strategies to assess student learning outcomes (SLOs) from programs and services across the division, and (2) provide recommendations for the continued development and implementation of the division's assessment and program evaluation initiatives. Some of the committee tasks were:

  • Review and approve each unit's SLOs
  • Assist managers in developing their assessment strategies
  • Develop an assessment and program evaluation timeline
  • Develop a program evaluation plan

While the team provided initial oversight and input and developed a division plan that pulled together the work that was done by each unit, the ongoing responsibility for developing SLOs and selecting and implementing program evaluation plans rested with unit managers. Currently, the managers work, in concert with their supervisors, to accomplish these tasks. By 2008, the SLOPE Team disbanded and the ongoing oversight of outcome assessment has rested on the unit managers and their direct supervisors.

At a Student Services managers retreat in early 2006, the unit managers identified division-level learning domains sufficiently broad to encompass the learning opportunities available to the students through the co-curriculum. They reviewed the College's and the Division's mission, goals, strategies, etc. They also reviewed learning outcomes models developed by professional associations and best practices from colleges across the nation. A student learning outcomes model consisting of three division-level learning domains was developed and approved in late 2006. This model guides assessment efforts across the division.