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Developing and Implementing Student Learning Outcomes Plans The Alabama A

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Title: Developing and Implementing Student Learning Outcomes Plans The Alabama A


1
Developing and Implementing Student Learning
Outcomes Plans The Alabama AM University
Experience
  • Virginia Caples
  • University Professor/Extension Administrator
  • Alabama AM University

Southern University System SACS Reaffirmation
Workshop June 22 23, 2006
2
  • THE MOUSE STORY
  • WHY?
  • WHY?
  • WHY?

3
  • A Mouse looked through the crack in the wall to
    see the farmer and his wife opening a package.
    "What food might this contain?" He was devastated
    to discover it was a mousetrap.  Retreating to
    the farmyard, the mouse proclaimed the warning.
    "There is a mousetrap in the house! there is a
    mousetrap in the house!" The chicken clucked and
    scratched, raised her head and said "Mr. Mouse, I
    can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it
    is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered
    by it."  The mouse turned to the pig and told
    him, "There is a mousetrap in the house." The pig
    sympathized but said, "I am so very sorry Mr.
    Mouse, But there is nothing I can do about it but
    pray. Be assured that you are in my prayers."
     The mouse turned to the cow. She said, "Wow,
    Mr. Mouse. I'm sorry for you. But it's no skin
    off my nose." So the mouse returned to the house,
    head down and dejected, to face the farmer's
    mousetrap alone. That very night a sound was
    heard throughout the house like the sound of a
    mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife
    rushed to see what was caught.  
  • In the darkness she did not see that it was a
    venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught.
    The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer
    rushed her to the hospital and she returned home
    with a fever.  Now everyone knows you treat a
    fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took
    his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main
    ingredient.  But his wife's sickness continued,
    so friends and neighbors came to sit with her
    around the clock. To feed them, the farmer
    butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get
    well.  She died And so many people came for
    her funeral the farmer had the cow slaughtered to
    provide enough meat for all of them.  So next
    time you hear that someone is facing a problem
    and think that it doesn't concern you, remember
    that when one of us is threatened, we are all at
    risk.  We are all involved in disaster
    preparation and in this journey called life.
     We must keep an eye out for one another and be
    willing to make that extra effort to encourage
    one another.  

4
Step One Understanding the Learning Environment
  • The primary mission of the University is to
    produce graduates that function effectively in a
    dynamic, global, and pluralistic world with a
    sound ethical foundation. This mission can be
    best achieved through strong integrated teaching,
    research and public service components
    undergrided by effective and efficient student
    and administrative support services

5
Governance Board
Executive Administration
Agricultural Environmental Sciences
Admission
Testing
Arts Sciences
Cooperative Extension
Engineering Technology
Business
International Programs
Education
Title III
Learning Resources
University College
Registrar
Graduate School
Comptroller
Academic Affairs
Computer Services
Public Relations
Human Resources
Grants Contracts
Purchasing
Executive Administration
Executive Administration
Business Finance
Governance Board
Governance Board
Research Development
Physical Facilities
Alumni Affairs
Property Management
Auxiliary Enterprises
Student Affairs
Tele-communications
Public Safety
Instramural Sports
Student Health
Residential Life
Chaplain
Financial Aid
Student Activities
Counseling Development
Career Development
Executive Administration
Governance Board
It takes a whole university to graduate a
student!
6
Step Two Institutional Quality Enhancement
Principles
  • Continuous quality improvement is an
    institution-wide ongoing process involving
    central and decentralized units and activities.

7
QE Principle
  • Participation in continuous quality improvement
    is not optional for any unit or activity.

8
QE Principle
  • Continuous quality improvement must be
    representative, responsive, and appropriately
    structured for each units involvement.

9
QE Principle
  • Continuous quality improvement requires
    institutional commitment at all levels

Governance
Administration
Faculty
Students
Staff
Community at-large
10
QE Principle
  • Continuous quality
  • improvement is
  • based upon ongoing self-compliance assessment
    (audits).

11
QE Plans
  • Every unit must develop a quality enhancement
    plan
  • based upon ongoing self-compliance assessment
    that is tied to the institutional planning and
    budgeting process.

12
Focusing on Student Learning Outcomes- There has
been a paradigm shift in the way that we view
educational effectiveness
Learning Outcomes in terms of the learning
students are able to demonstrate
Rather than inputs such as number of credit hours
or curricular content
13
Student Learning Outcomes
  • Individual efforts
  • The scattered approach
  • No formalized or integrated institutional process
  • Assessment and feedback for student and program
    improvement and enhancement
  • Documentation of efforts

14
What students learn
What teachers teach
15
What students learn
Drivers Impacting Learning
16
How we view the faculty member is even changing
  • From a provider of instruction

To a facilitator of learning
A guide-on-the-side versus sage-on-a-stage
17
There is a difference between what is designed,
taught, and learned
Learned curriculum What have they learnedWhat
can they doWhat do they care about
Designed curriculum Degree Requirements Course
catalog
Curriculum Content Found in syllabi
18
Learning Outcomes Philosophy Versus SACS
Requirement
  • All of a universitys programs and instructional
    efforts should be focused around a set of clearly
    defined outcomes that students are expected to be
    able to demonstrate when before they graduate.

19
Criticisms of the use of student learning outcomes
  • Forcing Conformity
  • Teaching Becomes too Structured
  • Shift from Actual Learning to Satisfying the
    Learning Outcomes
  • Only Tied to Accreditation Efforts
  • Externally Imposed
  • Short-Term Commitment
  • Expediency

20
Selling the need for assessing and documenting
student learning to faculty
  • Why arent grades enough?
  • Grades evaluate a limited set of objectives which
    may or may not be related to the program
    objectives
  • They tend to be too inconsistent from
    section-to-section and from term-to-term to be a
    valid overall program assessment tool
  • There is a conflict of interest when the
    instructor is the only evaluator of whether
    students have met program objectives
  • Grades do not reflect long term learning and
    accomplishments
  • Most of the time they do little to capture
    perceptions, attitudes, and skills

21
Argument in favor of learning outcomes
  • They help students learn more effectively
  • Students know what to expect from a particular
    course or program
  • Learning outcomes help instructors
  • Design their materials more effectively
  • Select the appropriate teaching strategy and
    technology
  • Design examinations which reflect what was taught
  • Ensure that appropriate assessment strategies are
    used
  • Accountability documentation

22
Learning Outcomes can be defined at three levels
  • Within each course

At the program level
At the institutional level
23
Learning Outcomes System
University mission and goals Program
mission/educational goals Specific learning
outcomes Assessment methods Desired or expected
results Actual results Use of results to improve
the program
24
Learning Outcomes..
  • Behaviors that demonstrate
  • desired knowledge
  • acquired skills
  • attitudes or dispositions

Fundamentally, the key iswhat will students be
able to do as a result of the instruction
25
Do not assume that just because professors can
teach, they can develop learning outcomes
  • Not all professors have had formal education in
    how to educate
  • Workshops and seminars on learning outcomes were
    important
  • Still required one-on-one contact
  • It is an ongoing process

26
Learning Outcomes reflect various cognitive
skills..
Application
Knowledge
Comprehension
Blooms Classification
Analysis
Evaluation
Synthesis
27
Who should be part of the process of developing
learning outcomes?
Engage all stakeholders in the process
28
The next stepHow do you assess whether the
outcomes have been reached?
  • What is assessment?
  • Ongoing and systematic process of collecting
    evidence of learning
  • Analyzing what that evidence means
  • Using the information to improve student learning

29
Assessment methods can be direct or indirect
Indirect Measures Grades Success rates Retention
rates Enrollment patterns Degrees
awarded Placement outcomes Student equity
Direct Measures Competencies Attainment
levels Skills Abilities Knowledge
30
Various assessment methods can be used
31
Capstoneexperiences
  • Ideally should have broad-based participation
  • Should be the culmination of earlier course work
  • Broadening
  • Deepening
  • Integrating the total experience of the major
  • Should allow for collaborative efforts among the
    undergraduates if possible
  • Should prepare the undergraduates for the
    expectations and standards of the workplace or
    graduate school

32
Collectiveportfolios
  • Can be used to illustrate a collection of
    students graded work
  • Works well for literary areas, highly visual
    areas but not so well in some fields
  • May be done completely electronically
  • Highly portable
  • Can be updated easily
  • Shows authentic work not just copies
  • Requires time and commitment on the part of the
    student to develop and the instructor to assess
    thoroughly

33
Do not forget assessment beyond graduation
  • Are your students obtaining jobs in their
    discipline area?
  • How many are going on to graduate school?
  • Are their employers happy with their skills and
    expertise?
  • How are they performing on
  • State licensure exams
  • Certification exams
  • GRE examinations

34
The Alabama AM University Experience
  • Document, Document, Document
  • If it is not written down, it does not exist
  • If others cannot view it, then it has limited
    value
  • If it is hard to document the learning outcomes
    or make changes, faculty will not want to do it.
  • Peer pressure is a wonderful thing

35
Our first attempts at documenting learning
outcomes were done using word tables which were
uploaded to the OIPRE web site
Problems Lack of expertise in word tables,
alteration of forms, massive alteration of forms,
editing was difficult, if changes had to be made,
the tables had to be reloaded
36
Another problem was lack of compliance
37
Alabama AM University decided to implement an
on-line interactive method of capturing learning
outcomes which would enable public access and
viewing
The system was developed by MindGate
Technologies1-800-648-6840 ext
800www.mindgate.com
38
Version 1.0
39
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42
It is not enough to merely collect the assessment
data
What do the results of assessment mean? How are
we going to use the results to improve student
learning?
43
Until the results of assessment of student
learning are used, they have no value
  • This may take the form of revision of course
    content of individual courses, revision of
    curricula, changes in methods of teaching,
    inclusion of experiential approaches
  • The changes must in turn be assessedfor
    effectiveness themselves
  • Documentation is the key!

44
Assessing the institutions focus on student
learning
  • Surveys
  • Student, faculty and staff satisfaction
  • Alumni
  • Employers
  • Retention and completions rates
  • Transfer rates and patterns
  • Critical review of counseling and advisement
  • Critical review of orientation and first year
    college experiences
  • Exit interviews with students
  • Job placement rates

45
Institutional Commitment
  • An attitude of assessment must permeate the
    institution
  • A structure must exist to allow timefor faculty
    and administrators toresearch and assess student
    learningand interpret the results
  • It must encourage innovations inteaching and
    learning

46
Teaching
Learning
Learning Outcomes
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