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Title: STUDENT AFFAIRS ASSESSMENT A comprehensive, centralized approach


1
STUDENT AFFAIRS ASSESSMENT A comprehensive,
centralized approach
Lori Varlotta, Vice President for Student
Affairs Sacramento State WASC Conference on
Assessment Irvine, CA October 16-18, 2008
2
Learning Outcomes for Todays Participants
  • This session will help participants
  • Differentiate outcome based assessment from
    satisfaction based assessment
  • Articulate the potential benefits of assessment
    in student affairs
  • Write direct learning outcomes that measure
    learning goals
  • Identify useful types of assessment and
    evidence-gathering tools

3
What is Assessment?
  • Sacramento States Division of Student Affairs
    sees assessment as an ongoing process primarily
    aimed at one of two things 1) improving
    programs or services, and 2) understanding and
    eventually increasing student learning.
  • To reach those goals, the Division must
  • Make program objectives and student learning
    outcomes explicit and public
  • Set appropriate criteria and high expectations
    systematically gather, analyze, and interpret
    evidence to determine how well programs and
    services matches those expectations and standards
  • Use the resulting data to document, explain, and
    improve programs, services, and student learning
    outcomes

4
Expanding the Definition of Student Learning
  • At Sacramento State University, the Division of
    Student Affairs defines student learning as a
    comprehensive, holistic, transformative activity
    that integrates academic learning and student
    development, processes that have often been
    considered separate, and even independent of each
    other.
  • When we say learning, then, we do not mean
    exclusively or primarily academic instruction,
    the acquisition of disciplinary content, or
    classroom learning.

(quoted directly from Learning Reconsidered A
Campus-wide Focus on the Student Experience)
5
Why Do It?
  • Assessment will allow us to
  • Demonstrate how Student Affairs contributes to
    student learning and student success
  • Showcase our strengths
  • Identify areas where we can improve
  • Strategically align ourselves with
  • Chancellors Office Graduation Initiative
  • CSU Access to Excellence
  • University planning Destination 2010
  • WASC requirements to demonstrate the impact of
    Student Affairs on student learning
  • Respond to public calls for increased
    accountability
  • (e.g. VSA College Portrait)

6
Other Good Reasons to do Assessment
  • The Vice President of Student Affairs holds each
    director responsible for conceptualizing and
    implementing an assessment plan
  • The directors annual evaluation includes
    commentary on assessment
  • Assessment data has supported requests for
    additional staff and/or funding

7
Role of Institutional Research
Utilizing On Campus Expertise
  • To support the vision of the Vice President of
    Student Affairs and assist Student Affairs
    Directors (via on-going consultations, one-on-one
    meetings, survey development and data analyses)
    in developing departmental assessment plans that
    are aligned with Destination 2010 and the WASC
    re-accreditation.

Role of other Campus Experts
8
Why this Particular Assessment Approach is So
Exciting
  • A true collaboration with departments within and
    outside the Division of Student Affairs
    (Institutional Research, ASI, program units,
    Provost, academic departments)
  • Comprehensive and centralized a level of
    consistency throughout the Division and uniquely
    designed for each department
  • Directly tied to the Chancellors Office
    Graduation Initiative, WASC requirements,
    Strategic Plan, etc.
  • Access to Excellence
  • Moves beyond student satisfaction to student
    learning

9
Six Step Assessment Model
  • Mission 2-3 sentences that articulate office
    name, primary purpose, primary activities,
    audience.
  • Goals top 3-5 planning-type statements.
  • Program Objectives and Learning Outcomes 3-5
    specific (i.e. measurable) statements.
  • 4. MeasuresDirect measures can verify learning
    outcomes, attitudinal change or behavior
    modification. Indirect measures typically
    reflect student satisfaction and/or self-reported
    understandings.
  • 5. Results Include a brief narrative of
    findings and/or essential tables or graphs. The
    results and subsequent analysis should indicate
    the extent to which the program objective or
    student learning outcome was met.
  • 6. Conclusion Summarizes the collection and
    analyses of data and then "closes the loop" by
    identifying what decisions or program
    modifications are or will be made on the basis of
    these analyses.

10
Step 1 Mission Statement
  • The departmental or program mission should be an
    expanded statement of either the institutional or
    divisional purpose.

Extract from University Mission Statement
California State University, Sacramento is
dedicated to the life-altering potential of
learning that balances a liberal arts education
with depth of knowledge in a discipline. We are
committed to providing an excellent education to
all eligible applicants who aspire to expand
their knowledge and prepare themselves for
meaningful lives, careers, and service to their
community..
Academic Advising Center Mission The Academic
Advising Center offers new student orientation,
mandatory freshman advising, and advising on
General Education and graduation requirements for
all students. The Center engages students in a
developmental process that helps clarify and
implement individual educational plans consistent
with their skills, interests, and values. Through
individual appointments, group advising sessions,
and presentations the professional staff, faculty
advisors, and student interns help students
understand the universitys academic requirements
as well as its policies and procedures. As a
result, students are better prepared to take
responsibility for their education and persist
towards a timely graduation.
Office Name
Primary Purpose
Primary Activities
Target Audiences
11
Step 2 Goals
Goals Are broad statements that describe the
overarching long-range intended outcomes of an
administrative unit. Example Help students
clarify and implement individual educational
plans which are consistent with their skills,
interests, and values. Are usually not
measurable and need to be further developed as
separate distinguishable outcomes. Example
Prepare students to take responsibility for their
education and persist towards a timely
graduation.
12
Step 2 Goals (contd)
  • Goals
  • Are primarily used for general planning and are
  • used as the starting point to the development and
  • refinement of outcomes.
  • Example Help students gain an understanding of
    the universitys academic requirements as well as
    its policies and procedures.

13
Step 3 Objectives
  • Objectives
  • Are specific statements that describe desired
    outcomes derived from the goal statements of the
    unit.
  • Are typically one of two types program
    objectives or student learning outcomes.
  • Example Program Objective All freshmen will
    participate in a three-phase comprehensive,
    proactive advising and major/career exploration
    program by Spring 2008.
  • Example Student Learning Outcome 70 of
    selected students will be able to demonstrate
    knowledge of their college preparatory
    requirements and the resources available to
    assist them.

14
Step 3 Objectives (contd)
  • Objectives
  • Program objectives help staff identify how a
  • program, workshop, or activity can be modified or
    improved while student learning outcomes reveal
    the changes in attitudes or behaviors that a
    student user can describe or demonstrate after
    utilizing a service or program.

15
Components of Learning Outcomes
  • Audience For whom is the program aimed?
  • Behavior What do you expect the audience to
    know/be able to do?
  • Conditions Under what conditions or
    circumstances will the learning occur?
  • Degree How much will be accomplished, how well
    will the behavior need to be performed, and at
    what level?

16
Indirect Learning Outcomes
  • Indirect Learning Outcomes - self-reported
    statements/ comments that reveal a perceived
    increase in understanding or appreciation. The
    perception is not verified through any
    demonstration of knowledge acquisition or
    observed behavioral / attitudinal change.

17
Methods to Assess IndirectLearning Outcomes
  • Satisfaction surveys
  • Program / evaluation surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Inventories
  • Face-book responses
  • Informal peer-to-peer conversations (e.g. with
    RAs, orientation leaders)

18
Direct Student Learning Outcomes
  • Direct Student Learning Outcomes The
    abilities, information retention, knowledge
    acquisition, attitudinal or behavioral changes
    that students can demonstrate after participating
    in a program or utilizing a service

19
Methods to Assess DirectLearning Outcomes
  • Portfolios
  • Capstones
  • Performances
  • Common assignments
  • Narratives with reflection
  • Tests
  • Competency observations
  • Observations of employee or student behaviors
  • Juried art exhibits
  • National licensure examinations
  • Standardized tests
  • Work samples

20
Differentiating Direct and Indirect Learning
Outcomes
  • Direct or Indirect?
  • T / F This orientation session has helped me
    understand the foreign language requirement at
    Sacramento State.
  • Which of the following examples fulfill the
    foreign language requirement necessary to
    graduate from Sacramento State?
  • A) Demonstrated fluency in a language other than
    English
  • B) Passed the AP foreign language exam with a
    score of 3 or higher
  • C) Successfully completed, with C- or better, 3
    years of high school foreign language
  • D) All of the above

21
Changing Indirect Learning Outcomes to Direct
Learning Outcomes
  • Distribute Orientation Survey Handout
  • Initiate group activity

22
Direct Student Learning Instrument
  • Distribute Post-Test Orientation
  • Assessment Handout

23
Step 4 Measures
  • SLO Orientation Participants Students who
    complete the orientation post test that measures
    their short term retention of information related
    to GE Advising, Academic requirements and campus
    resources will score 85 or better. The post
    test will be administered at the end of the 2-day
    orientation program.
  • SLO Orientation Leader Orientation leaders
    observed in a twenty-minute structured role play
    exercise will earn 4 or better in each of
    competency areas described on the rubric
    developed for this training.
  • Program Objective Orientation 95 or students
    and parents will indicate on their program
    evaluation that they were satisfied or very
    satisfied with all aspects of the orientation.

24
Step 5 Results
  • The results should highlight all significant
    findings and indicate the extent to which the
    program/service reached its intended outcomes.
  • Example Freshman Orientation pre/post tests
    showed that out of the 11 questions asked, 6 of
    the questions fell short of the 85 percent goal
    of knowledge acquisition. However, of those 6
    questions not meeting the goal, there still was
    significant improvement between the pre-test and
    post-test responses.

Step 6 Conclusions
The conclusions should explain how the findings
from data will be used to improve the program
and/or increase student learning. Example The
Orientation Coordinator will use the data
collected to identify the areas that need to be
emphasized in the student training sessions
offered to orientation assistants.
25
Suggested Reading
  1. The National Association of Student Personnel
    Administrators The American College Personnel
    Association. (2004). Learning Reconsidered A
    campus-wide focus on the student experience.
  2. American College Personnel Association (1994).
    The student learning imperative Implications for
    student affairs. Washington, DC.
  3. American College Personnel Association. (1996)
    The student learning imperative Implications for
    student affairs on-line. Available
    www.acpa.nche.edu/sli/sli.htm
  4. American College Personnel Association and
    National Association of Student Personnel
    Administrators (1997). Principles of good
    practice for student affairs on-line.
    Available www.acpa.nche.edu/pgp/principle.htm
  5. Joint task Force on Student Learning. (1998)
    Powerful partnerships A shared responsibility
    for learning on-line. Available
    www.aahe.org/teaching/tsk_frce.htm
  6. National Association of Student Personnel
    Administrators (1987). A perspective on student
    affairs. Washington DC.

26
Other Resources
  • WASC website http//www.wascweb.org
  • CAS Standards http//www.cas.edu/gags.html
  • Kansas Study Website http//Kansasstudy.org
  • National CC Benchmark Project http//www.NCCBP.org
  • Powerful Partnerships A Shared Responsibility
    for Learning http//www.aahe.org/assessment/joint.
    htm
  • Student Learning Imperative http//www.acpa.nche.e
    du/sli/sli.htm
  • Association of Theological Schools
    http//www.ats.edu
  • Sacramento States VSA http//www.csus.edu/checkus
    out/
  • Sacramento States Student Affairs Assessment
    http//www.csus.edu/wascaccreditation/Assessment.s
    tm
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