Assessment Process
Data Analysis
Contact Information

The course assessment process has been described as a loop and typically takes three semesters, allowing one semester for each major step.  Below is a list of the steps and a further explanation of what appears on the Course Assessment Planning Form and the Reporting Assessment Results Form: 

Step 1.  Planning the course assessment and obtaining approval by the AOAC

Step 2.  Implementing the assessment/analyzing course assessment results

Step 3.  Using results of course assessment to improve student learning; this is the purpose of the assessment.

Also on this page: A brief summary of how assessment is used to benefit students.


Planning Assessment

After identifying the essential course outcomes, faculty develop an assessment plan that will:

A. Determine that all instructors are addressing all the outcomes on the course master syllabus

B. Conduct an overall course assessment of at least 60-70 % of the outcomes

During the planning phase, faculty develop a tool that will measure student responses to either a test or an essay prompt.  Despite the assessment tool—objective test or essay—PGCC faculty consider three elements while creating their assessment tools:

ü      Content topics that are to be assessed

ü      Types of thinking skills to be assessed (often applying Bloom’s taxonomy to questions asked and/or assignments given)

ü      Emphasis of each item (number of points or percentages attributed to each outcome)

Course assessment using a sample of courses receive required numbers of artifacts from George Perkins at X0453. 



Implementing the Assessment Plan

 A. Determine that all instructors are addressing all the outcomes on the course master syllabus

This is usually done by each instructor indicating which test items or assignments address specific outcomes and then sharing this information with a committee of other instructors in the course or with the chair. The committee, coordinator, or chair determines that everyone is addressing all the outcomes.

B. Conduct an overall course assessment of at least 60-70 % of the outcomes. Faculty use students’ responses on tests or written or oral assignments in the following ways:

 ü      Analyzing test answers for all students or for a sample 

      Using a rubric for scoring essay assignments, performances, or projects for all students or for a representative sample

Based on students’ responses, an item analysis should be conducted.  This determines the ability of the questions asked to measure the desired outcome.  





Using the Results of Assessment

The purpose of assessing course outcomes is to promote dialogue among instructors about how to improve student learning in the course and then to make improvements in the course as needed.

The first time a course is assessed faculty may uncover ways to improve the assessment process and subsequently choose to assess the same course again. Likewise, data might show some areas to revise a course, or data might show that the course is satisfactory as currently taught.





Some Departments have Used Assessment Results to:

Revise the course outcomes to include more higher-order thinking and greater intellectual rigor

Obtain more consistency in large multi-section courses

Reduce grade inflation by linking test and course grades to mastery of all outcomes

Increase contact with adjunct faculty

Explore active learning strategies and other teaching methods

Explore other ways of assessing outcomes

Explore technological enhancements (labs, equipment, CD tutorial, etc.), using the assessment evidence to support a request for increased funding

Conduct a retreat or workshop for instructors



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Last updated: 07/21/04.