What is Assessment? And How is it Different From What I Already Do? 

What is Assessment? 

Assessment in a Course: 

Assessment in a course includes the many ways that faculty regularly check for student understanding and mastery of material. Major (summative) assessments like research essays, exams, demonstrations, group projects, performances, speeches, and more and smaller (formative) assessments like weekly quizzes, in-class writings, and practice exercises are regularly used to test whether students are succeeding at the course outcomes and learning objectives of the class. Faculty use these course elements to gauge how well students are learning the material, provide learning opportunities for students to demonstrate and problem solve, and also to provide targeted feedback to students. 

Assessing a Course or Program for Its Effectiveness:  

When assessing a course or program's effectiveness for opportunities to improve learning, as part of ECC's course assessment process, faculty teaching look at how well student are meeting the intended learning outcomes of a particular assignment or assignments across all of the sections of a course. This is done to get a bigger picture of how well students are doing with particular course skills and concepts. 

For example, knowing that in Statistics 100, on the final project 60% of students typically earn a B, 25% of students earn an A, and 15% of student earn a D doesn't provide a lot of useful data to consider what students did well with and not. However, knowing that on the Stats 100 final project, that 90% of students exceeded expectations on identifying appropriate sampling techniques and experiment design but only 50% of student met expectations on performing statistic inferences on population parameters can help faculty teaching the course to explore ways to further support students in particular topics or remove unintentional barriers on an assignment that may be causing students to struggle. 

How is Course Assessment Different From What I Already Do? 

By having course assignments and potentially using rubrics or other scoring tools, you already have many of the pieces for course and program in place. Assignments and scoring tools are simply part of routine and effective teaching. Assessing a course or program's impact involves taking a bird's eye view of students' performance as a whole or within different student group to look for trends and discussing with other faculty. For instance, is there one learning outcome or one part of a learning outcome that students consistently struggle with much more than others but that you think shouldn't be as a difficult as its seeming? Or, do you think that students in online sections struggle far more on a particular assignment than students in the face-to-face sections? 

Looking at trends; strengths, struggles, or something else entirely; is intended to confirm what you already believe about a course (where students are succeeding and what topics they regularly struggle with) to think about ways to improve student learning in the trouble spots. 

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment Transparency Framework

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) encourages colleges to adopt their Transparency Framework. This framework seeks to communicate what each element of a course assessment process involves. ECC's course assessment process aims to folow this process within a timeframe that supports faculty inquiry and conversation. 

For the course assessment process, ECC follows NILOA's Transparency Framework, which includes