NWCCU Mid-Cycle Evaluation Report
Following is a text version of the Mid-Cycle Evaluation Report for the NWCCU Accreditation of October 2021. Please direct any questions to the Office of the Provost by email at [email protected] or call (208) 792-2213.
Informed and guided by Standards 1 and 3-5, Part I of the Mid-Cycle Evaluation will be a narrative shaped by the questions below describing the institution’s plan for linking/aligning mission (Standard One) with mission fulfillment and sustainability (Standard 5). As you analyze your assessment plan please respond to the following questions:
1. Describe/ explain your process of assessing mission fulfillment. Who is involved in assessment? Is the Board of Trustees involved?
Lewis-Clark State College assesses mission fulfillment through several mechanisms. First, Idaho state code (Title 67, Chapter 19) establishes the annual process through which all state agencies, including institutions of higher education, report on the outcomes of program delivery to demonstrate that budgeted resources are being used effectively and efficiently to achieve agency goals. In accordance with state statute, LCSC submits an annual performance report to the legislature via the State Board of Education and the Governor’s Division of Financial Management. Part I of the report focuses on revenues, expenditures, and a profile of the number and types of “cases managed and key services provided”, such as enrollment and credit hour production. Part 2 consists of a performance measure report containing key performance indicators and associated benchmarks. The performance measures, chosen by the institution and approved by the State Board of Education, include parameters which demonstrate fulfillment of LCSC’s assigned mission, such as first-time, full-time degree-seeking freshman retention rates; graduation rates using Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), cohorts certificates/ degrees awarded each year, first-time licensing/certification examination pass rates (nurses, teachers), scholarship dollars provided per student FTE, and employment rates for LCSC’s previous year’s graduates. Annually LCSC reports to the SBOE on progress toward meeting the goals in the college’s Strategic Plan, which align directly with LCSC’s mission and core themes.
Secondly, underlying this state-level accountability process is a year-long, detailed institutional assessment, planning, and budgeting process which engages all areas of the college. All LCSC functions—whether instructional delivery or support activities—are organized into “programs”. As an example, Instructional programs include Secondary Education teacher preparation, Workforce Training, Collision Repair, Business, and Chemistry. Examples of non-instructional support programs include Financial Aid, Security, and College Advancement. Each program, organized under a designated Program Assessment Monitor, has developed program-level objectives and assessment metrics. These tie directly to institutional objectives, which, in turn, support the goals articulated in the SBOE’s strategic plan. The objectives form the program level assessment plan for the academic year. Throughout the academic year, programs gather and review data. In the following fall semester, they analyze findings, determine what needs to be done as a result of the data analysis, and craft a work plan for the current year. Results of program assessment serve as the foundation for institutional level planning and budgeting.
Key steps in the institutional assessment process are noted here:
- Assessment and Review teams are formed at the program and the institutional levels
- Program Assessment teams create the assessment plan by developing program-level objectives and setting benchmarks; data sources are also determined
- Programs gather relevant data, compare data to established benchmarks, and analyze the overall results. The results inform changes to the objectives, benchmarks, and measurement tools. Findings also serve as the basis for the Work Plan, which specifies programmatic changes resulting from data analysis. Examples of Work Plan elements include revisions to curriculum, re-sequencing of courses, etc.
- Programs present assessment findings at the division level for input and discussion
- The Assessment monitor completes institutional documents which are reviewed and approved by the next level supervisor.
- The next level supervisor (Deans or relevant Vice Presidents) review and approve the documents. All reports are posted to the Institutional Planning, Research and Assessment (IPRA) intranet web page for review by campus stakeholders.
- Functional Area Assessment Committees (FAAC) are convened where supervisors present assessment findings to Deans or Vice Presidents. As per the College Assessment Plan, each FAAC presentation is observed by one individual external to the presenting units, and one observer from each of the campus constituent groups (Classified staff, Professional staff, and Faculty Association).
- FAAC Chairs and the observers provide a written report of the FAAC process. Reports are also posted for campus review on the IPRA web page.
- FAAC Chairs and observers present to President’s Cabinet.
Beginning in 2014, changes in timelines and processes are strengthening linkages between the assessment process and budgeting and planning decisions. For example, as programs analyze data and craft work plans, they are also identifying needed resources or infrastructure. The FAAC also serves as the Functional Area Review Group (FARG), which is charged with reviewing resource requests. In this new model, the Functional Review Committees will also ensure resource requests align with assessment results.
Finally, at the college level, a College Assessment Rubric (CAR) was developed in spring 2014. The CAR is organized around the three core themes and associated objectives and indicators. Both viability indictors (enrollment, degrees/ certificates awarded) and student learning indictors are contained in the CAR. Many elements in the CAR parallel those found in program-level assessment plans (e.g., licensure exam pass rates). Several additional college level metrics are reflected here as well, such as student engagement measures and graduate placement/ employment rates. In this manner, program assessment informs college level assessment, and achievement of goals and indicators for the core themes is validated which demonstrates mission fulfillment.
The process for developing the College Assessment Rubric (CAR) mirrors the institutional program assessment procedure delineated above. The Provost’s Office, in collaboration with the Director of Institutional Planning, Research and Assessment, engaged in discussion about the preamble to each theme, Connecting Learning to Life. Key elements of Connecting Learning to Life were determined to be access, quality, proficiency, responsiveness, and lifelong learning. These constructs were embedded into the objectives and served as the foundation for the indicators under each core theme. Data sources were determined, with benchmark (2010 results served as the benchmark or starting point) and capstone targets set. Responsibility for each indicator was assigned to a particular campus unit or office. When analysis of the data revealed lack of or little progress toward the capstone target, contextual discussion/ explanation and action steps were crafted. As such, an institutional work plan has been crafted.
The CAR and the data contained within, has been shared with the President’s Cabinet, Deans, Division Chairs, and the Faculty Budget, Planning and Assessment committee. Through discussion with these constituent groups, alterations were made in data presentation and to wording of indicators. Ongoing refinement and updates to the CAR are anticipated.
As noted above, every employee at LCSC is in some way involved in the assessment process, whether through program, division, or college level participation. The Faculty Senate’s Budget, Planning and Assessment committee is a venue for discussing both programmatic and institutional level assessment processes.
The Idaho State Board of Education (LCSC’s Board of Trustees), recognizes “the importance of measuring student and program outcomes” and considers assessment to be an “integral part of existing program review procedures” as it enhances “the quality and excellent of programs, learning and teaching” (SBOE Policy III.X, 2). Each institution is required to develop an assessment plan consistent with its role and mission. The Board identifies possible assessment strategies and uses of the data. Annually the Board reviews the performance measure and strategic plan progress reports and makes recommendations to the institution.
2. Are your core themes and objectives still valid?
The State Board assigned role and mission statement for LCSC is the foundation for all institutional operations, planning, assessment, and budgeting. LCSC’s three core themes—connecting learning to life through academic, professional-technical, and community programs, have been part of the fabric of the institution for more than a decade. The themes also have been useful tools in LCSC’s campaign to educate external constituencies while strengthening mutual support among students, faculty, staff, and administrators. The model’s sharp focus on the primary state-assigned emphasis areas—liberal arts, business, justice studies, nursing, professional-technical education, social work, and teacher education— has helped the institution align its programs and budget priorities with its mission.
3. Is the institution satisfied that the core themes and indicators selected are providing sufficient evidence to assess mission fulfillment and sustainability? If not, what changes are being contemplated?
While the themes map directly to the state-assigned mission areas and the institution’s organizational model, the themes are broad. We have continued to identify meaningful and discrete objectives and indicators under each theme to demonstrate mission fulfillment. The indicators are tightly linked under each objective, and when taken together, do demonstrate achievement of that objective.
Upon completion of the Mid-Cycle report and visit, a series of Campus Conversations will be held with various constituency groups to revisit the existing core themes. The desired outcome of the meetings will be either validation of the existing themes with additional and clarifying definition, objectives/ expected outcomes, and benchmarks, or development of new core themes with associated objectives and indicators. Our current College Assessment Rubric contains a mix of indicators focused on viability of the institution (application numbers, numbers of courses offered, etc.) and on quality or student learning. As we progress toward the Year Seven (7) report, a sharpened focus on indicators which reflect student learning and achievement is of utmost importance.
The institution will provide representative examples of how it has operationalized its mission and core themes progressing from objectives to indicators to outcomes to mission fulfillment. These examples should be from your core theme focused on student learning. As you provide these examples please include analysis in regard to the following questions:
- Are your indicators proving to be meaningful? Do you have too many indicators or too few?
- What has the institution learned so far and what changes are contemplated? What has been your progress to date? Do the data tell you what you are looking for?
- How are data being collected, analyzed and utilized and the findings communicated to constituents?
Core Theme I: Connecting Learning to Life through Academic Programs
The first segment of the three part mission of Lewis-Clark State College is fulfilled under the aegis of Academic Programs. This theme guides the offering of undergraduate instruction in the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs tailored to the educational needs of Idaho.
There are three objectives under Core Theme I. Each objective is measured by a series of indicators. The College Assessment Rubric (CAR) delineates the relationship of the core themes, objectives and indicators.
Objective I-A: Develop literate, well-informed graduates who are competent life-long learners.
This objective has two broad components: student access and student success. Access, which encompasses access to the College as well as its support services, is essential for the development of educated graduates. Student success is measured by student learning and engagement with their college experience. Achievement of this objective will be measured by a number of indicators. Example 1 focuses on a student success indicator.
Indicator: performance of seniors on relevant sections of the ETS Proficiency Profile and select College Basic Academic Subjects Exam tests.
The focus of LCSC’s General Education program is to actively nurture lifelong learners through the development of literate, creative, and critical thinkers who connect learning to life. Students leave LCSC with the skills, knowledge, and outlook on life to continue learning, thinking critically, and communicating clearly about their natural and social worlds (Lewis-Clark State College Catalog, 2014). The expected learning outcomes of the general education core include proficient writing and oral communication skills, proficient critical thinking skills, proficient mathematical reasoning, ability to identify ways in which science has advanced the understanding of important natural processes, the ability to articulate the forms and influence of diversity, the ability to articulate the historical and cultural contexts of modern society and globalization, and an ability to articulate aesthetic and cultural roles of literature and the arts.
In 2012, the Idaho State Board of Education joined the Complete College American movement by adopting Complete College Idaho: A Plan for Growing Talent to Fuel Innovation and Economic Growth in the Gem State. Commonly referred to as ‘Complete College Idaho (CCI)’, the plan contained five strategies. General Education reform falls under Strategy three (3), Structure for Success. The goal is to re-map the delivery of general education statewide by creating an outcomes-based rather than a discipline-based core. Not only does this address the state’s increased focus on demonstrable learning outcomes, it also provides a framework for transfer between Idaho’s institutions of higher learning (Idaho State Board of Education, 2014).
The updated statewide model for general education aims to prepare students as adaptive, lifelong learners who explore, critically analyze, and creatively address real-world issues and challenges. Upon completion of the general education core, students graduating from any Idaho college or university will have a foundation for understanding themselves, the physical world, how society develops and functions, and the methodologies, values systems and thought processes employed in human inquiries (Idaho State Board of Education Policy III.N).
Though there are many parallels between Lewis-Clark’s general education goals and those now in policy at the state level, there is much work to be done for a full alignment of the two. At present, many LCSC general education courses are being reconstructed to include the state competencies. A major focus of the reform is development of shared rubrics to guide general education course and program assessment. With a deadline of January 1, 2015, the primary push is on integration of competencies. Incorporation of the rubrics and a fuller development of general education assessment is forthcoming.
While assessment of the general education program at LCSC is a shared endeavor, primary responsibility is assigned to the Dean for Academic Programs. Goals, objectives, and outcomes related to general education are detailed in the Annual Assessment Report: General Education. Specific objectives are categorized under the broad goals (Elements) of Infrastructure and Learning Outcomes. Infrastructure includes access to needed courses, student success in general education coursework as evidenced by course completion rates, ensuring consistency of program outcomes by assuring full-time faculty teach at least 40% of general education courses in any area and requiring an orientation for adjunct faculty members, and ensuring adequate resources to support general education programming.
Learning outcomes include competence in the general education skill areas of critical thinking, reading, writing, mathematics, humanities, and social and natural sciences, integration of general education skills within one’s major program (measured through program capstone courses), and achievement of general education learning outcomes/ knowledge competencies in each component of the (new state-approved) general education program. The three outcomes tie closely with Objective 1-A of the College Assessment Rubric (CAR), develop literate, well-informed graduates who are competent life-long learners.
At present, the primary mechanisms for assessment the general education program at LCSC is through the Educational Testing Service Proficiency Profile (PP) and the College Basic Academic Subjects Exam (BASE) tests. The ETS-PP is given to seniors enrolled in capstone courses; the College BASE is given in select upper division courses.
The ETS-PPtests the constructs that are generally agreed to be legitimate outcomes of general education programs (reading, writing, critical thinking and mathematics). The College Basic Academic Subjects Exam, a criterion-referenced achievement test, also serves as a measure of general academic knowledge and skills in the subject areas of math, science, social studies, and English (University of Missouri, Assessment Resource Center). The various individual constructs of the ETS-PP and the College BASE tests in mathematics and science serve as indicators within the CAR (Appendix).
The percentile score reported in the CAR reflects LCSC’s performance in a major construct compared with other baccalaureate institutions, both public and private. Trends across the disciplines are mixed, with slight reductions in some areas, while remaining stable in others.
In the area of reading, scores held steady from 2011 results, or showed a slight increase. In writing, there were declines at all three ETS-PP proficiency levels. In addition to general education reform, the State of Idaho is also engaged in the restructuring of developmental coursework. As a result of work in the area of English, LCSC is in its second year of placing students in need of developmental reading and writing into our beginning English course (ENGL 101) accompanied by a writing workshop (ENGL 192). We anticipate this strategy, combined with new state-mandated competencies and assessment rubrics for general education English courses, will lead to improvement in ETS scores in both the reading and writing areas with the 2017 testing cohort. A newly instituted Student Success Seminar, required of students with low ACT/SAT/COMPASS scores, incorporates critical reading strategies into its curriculum. A multi-disciplinary Professional Writing minor is being proposed this year to provide students in various majors an opportunity to focus on effective writing strategies in the disciplines and professions.
The College BASE math scores show a slight decline in most areas between 2012 and 2013 testing cycles. The ETS-PP scores indicate modest gains in proficiency levels one and two, and essentially stable scores in level three. State developmental math reform is nearly complete and will result in changes to existing remedial coursework. Internally, Math faculty have created a new developmental math course (MATH 023) allowing students to be placed in remedial coursework which better aligns with the general education level course required of their major. This strategy, combined with new state-mandated competencies and assessment rubrics for general education Math courses, is expected to lead to improvement in proficiency scores with the 2017 testing cohort. The Math faculty are evaluating this data for trends that will inform an improvement plan. Additionally, Idaho has adopted the Common Core Curriculum and associated testing for secondary students, which may yield students better prepared in mathematics upon entering college.
ETS scores in Humanities and Social held steady over the last testing cycle. Courses in these areas will also be impacted by the state-wide general education initiative, with review and revision of course curricula and strengthened assessment of learning outcomes in these areas. These data points will be followed closely for impacts.
The College BASE Science data show reasonably steady numbers when compared with the 2010 results and slight declines in most areas from the 2012 numbers, whereas the ETS-PP data show stable scores across testing cycles. Multiple programs such as biology, chemistry, and earth sciences teach core science courses. As a result, to date there has not been a broad discussion of how to use the results from the College BASE Science test across multiple disciplines. Additionally, the test is administered to students enrolled in the Introduction to Natural Science (NS 150) course, which at present is required of all students, regardless of major. NS 150 is generally taken in the freshman year. These students may or may not have completed a lab science class at the time of exam administration. During AY2014-2015, in conjunction with reform of the general education core, a committee will determine a test administration plan targeted at a broader range of science courses, including a core lab science course. Baseline scores will be compared once a new test administration plan has been implemented. Changes in state-level general education competencies will likely have a positive impact beginning with the 2017 testing cohort.
Along with indicators focused on access (applicant numbers, numbers of students receiving scholarships and federal financial aid, and use of campus tutoring centers such as the math and writing labs), the ETS-PP and College BASE data are combined with select constructs from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) to measure Objective 1-A and assure core theme one is met. The ETS and College BASE scores as well as the NSSE results provide meaningful information at both institution and program levels. It is anticipated that the common statewide assessment rubrics required for all general education courses will become an important indicator under the ‘well informed graduates’ objective.
The ETS-PP are given every three years while the College BASE math and sciences tests generally are administered annually. The math and science instructors work with the Academic Dean and Institutional Research to determine courses in which the College BASE will be administered. The ETS-PP is coordinated by the Academic Dean. All seniors complete the test as part of their capstone course.
To date, the results of these two standardized measures have been reviewed by administration but analyzed primarily by the specific programs or departments (English, Math and Science) and used to inform improvement at the program level. With a new Academic Dean, Ms. Flores, in place, data from the 2014 ETS-PP and the 2013 College BASE, along with prior data points, were reviewed and discussed with college administration, all division chairs, and the Budget, Planning and Assessment committee of the Faculty Senate. Ms. Flores organized a workshop on assessment of the general education core, attended by members of the college General Education committee and those who teach general education courses. As statewide general education reform continues, it is anticipated that the indicators will be revisited and likely refined. Because the reform initiative has involved engagement of the entire faculty, LC is postured for ongoing campus-wide dialogue about the indicators, data, and uses of the data.
As the College Assessment Rubric (CAR) develops, the access measures should be organized under a distinct objective, separate from those focused on general education assessment. While the access indicators are not a reflection of student learning, they are important and relevant to assessment of mission fulfillment in that LC is charged to “…..meet the (educational) needs of Idahoans.”
Core Theme I: Connecting Learning to Life through Academic Programs
The first segment of the three part mission of Lewis-Clark State College is fulfilled under the aegis of Academic Programs. This theme guides the offering of undergraduate instruction in the liberal arts and sciences and professional programs tailored to the educational needs of Idaho.
Objective I-B: provide programs of study that prepare students to enter their chosen profession or continue their education in advanced degree programs.
This objective has two components: student success on national or state licensing/certification examinations and placement in advanced degree programs. Achievement of this objective will be measured by a number of indicators, two of which are included here in Example 2.
Indicator: student success on licensure/ certification examination pass rates
Indicator: LCSC graduates who receive degrees/ certificates in graduate/ professional programs
Key to the success of LC graduates is competence and employment in their chosen field. A standard measurement of competence or proficiency is the licensing, certification, or technical skills examination. At LC, graduates from both academic and professional technical programs complete external proficiency testing during or following program completion.
Academic professional programs which prepare students to complete national licensing or certification examinations include BSN Nursing (NCLEX-RN), Practical Nursing (NCLEX-PN), Radiographic Science (AART), Social Work (ASWB), and Education (PRAXIS). These exams provide a measure of success established by external certification organizations. Pass rates can be considered an indication of the quality of instruction received. Other programs such as Business require a major field test (MFT).
LCSC’s academic professional programs continually monitor national trends in licensing / certification test content and format. All programs utilize periodic in-program assessments to gauge student readiness for the licensing or certification exam. Each program has well-developed strategies for student success delineated in accreditation or program assessment documents. As the CAR indicates, the trends in pass rates for the NCLEX-RN, the ARRT Exam and the ASWB exceed the national average. Those for the NCLEX-PN and the Teacher Education Certification exam (PRAXIS II) declined in the last annual testing cycle.
The NCLEX-PN pass rates dipped in 2014. Recognizing negative trends in early standardized assessment testing, new strategies were introduced for Fall 2014. Faculty added NCLEX-style student case-studies in several PN courses and an NCLEX strategy test book to the first semester. Additionally, students are now required to complete an NCLEX-PN preparation course. It is anticipated that pass rates will increase significantly with these new strategies. Other parameters being monitored include admission cumulative GPA, pre-requisite science course GPA, PN course grades, and NCLEX assessment testing scores throughout the PN program.
PRAXIS II is a state-of-Idaho Teacher Certification examination with benchmarks that vary by exam. Students must take and pass the PRAXIS II exam(s) before beginning their student teaching experience. First time pass rates for the 2011-2012 grads decreased, with 15 students not meeting the state’s qualifying score for first time takers. Seven (7) of the 15 were Elementary Education candidates who did not meet the qualifying score in their second teaching area; four (4) of the seven (7) were Pathways for Accelerated Certification and Endorsement (PACE) program students. The remaining eight (8) students did not meeting the qualifying score in their major teaching area. The PRAXIS II Elementary Multiple Subjects Exam has been regenerated and changed into sub-tests. Assessment of the exam has also changed. As a result, a further drop in first time pass rates is anticipated for 2012-2013 data.
The Teacher Education program has responded to the drop in first time PRAXIS II pass rates in several ways, including providing student access to preparation materials on the program website and in the division office, and to faculty who will examine individual PRAXIS II scores and develop a focused improvement plan prior to the next testing cycle. Program faculty are in discussion on the creation of a PRAXIS II preparation “boot camp” for first time test takers, and an evaluation of the curriculum sequence to determine its impact on PRAXIS II success.
Placement of graduates into graduate and professional programs also constitutes an indirect, independent, external assessment of LCSC programs. LC boasts very high placement rates into medical, dental, and other graduate health related programs. However, the overall placement rate of LC graduates has decreased over the past four (4) years. To improve our understanding of this metric, additional data is needed, such as one and three year graduate surveys which will begin this academic year. Additionally, introducing students to graduate education and programs is critical. Within two years we plan to reinstate a graduate school visitation program piloted a few years ago, and establish a mechanism whereby students can readily attend career / employment fairs at the larger academic institutions in our region.
Core Theme II: Connecting Learning to Life through Professional-Technical Programs
The second segment of the three part mission of Lewis-Clark State College is fulfilled under the umbrella of Professional-Technical Programs. Under this theme, LC offers an array of credit and non-credit educational experiences to prepare skilled workers in established and emerging occupations that serve the region’s employers. To ensure that programs are meeting the needs of regional employers, each program has an advisory committee that provides continual input on the curriculum and specific needs of employers. Through conversations with these employers, program faculty remain connected with the evolving skills, knowledge, attitudes, and soft skills that are required by Region II employers, enabling them to ensure LCSC graduates meet these expectations. Competency and skill levels have also been established by professional bodies. Three objectives focused on preparing well trained employees for business and industry, lifelong learning of graduates, and transition from high school to professional-technical post-secondary programs are used to as measures of achievement. One objective from this core theme is presented here in Example 2.
Objective II-B: prepare students for life-long learning relevant to their chosen occupation
Indicator: Percentage of LCSC program concentrators who take and pass a Carl Perkins Technical Skill Assessment
As with academic programs, the proficiency and placement of LC’s professional-technical graduates is of paramount importance to future employment and meeting the economic needs of the state. In Idaho, the Technical Skill Assessment (TSA) is a method for documenting the technical knowledge and skills of a professional-technical student, and is one of five Carl Perkins Performance Measures. The State Division of Professional-Technical Education has developed a state-approved list of TSA’s for most technical programs. Examples include national or state licensure examinations, industry recognized certification exams, and other nationally validated exams. These Technical Skill Assessments are based on nationally validated, industry-based skill standards, providing valuable benchmarks for individual programs. State-wide efforts to consistently document achievement through standardized assessment provide LCSC with longitudinal comparisons to similar programs across the state. State of Idaho registration and licensure processes also provide an external, post-training measure of program quality.
LCSC’s performance level on the TSAs over the past five years has been a mixed bag. LC does not have consistent access to student scores for content analysis and curriculum revision. To provide formative data, most programs have internal end of program assessments. The state Professional-Technical Deans are engaged in dialogue with the new Administrator about updating the state-approved inventory to better reflect program needs. Having a standardized measure of student and institutional performance is critical to making curriculum decisions and informing advising and program admission processes.
Certification and licensure examination pass rates are gathered and analyzed with each graduating class or annually. Pass rates of all first time NCLEX test takers are available for purchase twice annually through a third party vendor; the results of Idaho-only testers is provided free of charge on an annual basis by the Idaho Board of Nursing. The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists sends periodic updates throughout the year, whereas PRAXIS II pass rates are distribute by the Idaho State Department of Education nearly a year after students have tested. The various programs and divisions report results to Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment for use in state reports and tracking on the College Assessment Rubric (CAR).
When combined with employment rates, these data provide meaningful information at both institution and program levels, and help assure core themes I and II are met. These examinations provide reliable data for individual (when available) and group measurement by evaluating the core knowledge and understanding gained in the specific undergraduate curriculum. Scores that meet or exceed the national average reflect favorably on the instruction received.
To date, the results of licensure / certification/ technical skills examinations have been reviewed by administration when they are reported to the Idaho State Board of Education on the annual Performance Measures Report. They have been analyzed primarily by the specific programs or departments and used to inform improvement at the program level. In some cases, as with the NCLEX-RN results (purchased from a third party vendor), detailed analysis comparing LC graduates’ results with national and regional averages and to the test blue print provide invaluable data for curriculum review and revision. In other cases, the lag between testing and receipt of the results delays critical revisions, though internal end-of-program predictor assessments and individual student scores somewhat fill this gap.
As the College Assessment Rubric (CAR) is expanded, integrating major field tests as additional indicators seems prudent. This will more broadly tell the story of student success at LCSC, and allow programs to benefit from assessment linked with their specific undergraduate curriculum, providing objective, standardized data upon which to make instructional and resource decisions.
In light of your analysis in Part I of your overall assessment plan and in light of your analysis of the representative examples you provided in Part II please respond to the following question: Moving forward to the Year Seven report, what will you need to do?
After receiving the NWCCU response to the First Year report, LCSC recognized that many of the metrics presented at that time were unsatisfactory and needed major refinement and reconsideration. While we have clarified and further delineated the metrics as demonstrated in the CAR, a number of initiatives are necessary moving forward.
First, the three core themes of Connecting Learning to Life through Academic Programs, Professional-Technical Programs, and Community Programs will be revisited in conversation with the campus community and stakeholders. While the three themes collectively encompass and clearly explicate LCSC’s mission, they are broad. As a result of campus dialogue, it is possible that refined themes will be proposed or that the Connecting Learning to Life piece of the themes will be more fully explicated. Along with clarification of the themes, further illumination and detailing of specific objectives, indicators, and benchmarks will follow.
Included in this process will be an appraisal of the specific assessment tools selected as indicators or to demonstrate achievement of an indicator. For example, statewide general education reform will be complete and the required rubrics will be incorporated into courses. Determining how the rubrics mesh with other indicators (ETS-PP and College BASE) to tell the story of general education success will be compulsory. Additionally, the role and value of major field tests needs to be assessed. As this takes place, clearer delineation in the College Assessment Rubric of viability measures versus those metrics that reflect student learning will follow.
Another area for attention is refinement of the existing programmatic and institutional assessment processes to ensure measurable objectives have been established, and data are being used for program improvement with changes documented and followed up on. For AY 2014-2015, the required assessment documents have been collapsed from four to one, the instructions streamlined, and the forms crafted to better reflect all stages of the assessment process. To facilitate the assessment process, enhancement of the campus common data set, creation of an institutional assessment calendar, and establishment of forums for campus-wide dialogue about assessment processes and results are needed. And finally, creation and follow-through with substantive improvement or work plans is essential to have a meaningful impact on the indicators and achievement of outcomes.
As this report shows, Lewis-Clark State College has an assessment plan and process in place which links mission with mission fulfillment, involves key campus stakeholders, and provides meaningful data for decision-making. In the examples provided, indicators are examined, data collection, analysis, and utilization are explicated, and points of learning are noted.
In preparation for the Year Seven report, continued integration and refinement of the assessment process, reexamination of the Core Themes, and enhancement of the common data set are among the planned actions.
Lewis-Clark State College looks forward to the Mid-Cycle Evaluation site visit and to productive discussions with the team members.