OTC implemented a one-size-fits-all assessment plan for academic programs in 2008. However, as an institution, we now better understand that the value of assessment lies in the utility of the process and data for the end user. In 2013, we shifted to an approach that embraces a variety of assessment methods. For the purposes of collecting absolute evidence regarding student learning, programs now fall into two categories: 1) programs with externally mandated assessment standards and 2) programs without externally mandated assessment standards.
Evidence from programs with externally mandated assessment standards is collected from instruments specified by external agencies or accrediting bodies. If a program is part of the career and technical education field or teacher preparation field, as defined by the state of Missouri, the program must choose from a state approved list of assessment tools for all students completing the program. The majority of these tools are standardized examinations, such as technical skills assessments, but may also include portfolios of student work. These achievement benchmarks are not mandated by the state but set internally by each department and vary between 70% and 100% depending on the program. If a program is accredited by a specialized body, such as HVAC, assessment standards, instruments and outcome goals are set by that body. Typically, these assessments involve multiple measures including both summative (standardized licensure or board exams) and formative data (course pass rates, credentialing exams specific to content of one course, etc.). Achievement is set by each accrediting body, typically ranging between 85% and 100%.
Evidence from programs without externally mandated assessment standards is data on student achievement of course level learning outcomes. Course learning outcomes are tied, when applicable, to state-level curricular goals established by the Missouri Department of Higher Education or curricular goals established by professional organizations, such as the APA Guidelines for Undergraduate Psychology. These data are gathered using a variety of locally-developed instruments, which vary from instructor observation checklists to essay responses graded using rubrics, but are purposively designed to be an appropriate measure for the skill described by each course objective. These data are used by academic departments for curricular and instructional revision. Achievement for each course objective is measured against a benchmark for success set, as appropriate, by each department. The benchmarks vary between 70% and 100%.
Until 2013, data on the improvement of student learning were collected by standardized pre- and post-test design. The COMPASS was given prior to enrollment and the CAAP was given upon graduation. However, usefulness of data collected, when weighed against the barriers to enrollment and graduation these assessments presented, led to removal of the CAAP in 2013 and the COMPASS in 2015. This left OTC with a significant gap in this type of data, which we are addressing through the creation of an institutional student learning assessment process. This process began in 2015 with the gathering of input from all full-time employees. In summer 2016, a group of faculty and staff will use these data in the creation of new Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs). Assessment measures for new ILOs will then be developed by faculty and are anticipated to be in use by 2017. Data from these measures will be used by academic leadership in order to shape curriculum in each degree program.
SPOL (Strategic Planning Online) is the application OTC uses to enter and store all strategic planning information (which includes assessment of student learning data). If you are an OTC employee with an existing SPOL account, you can access SPOL here.
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The following reports contain the assessment results for the assessment of student learning within the institution, division, program/department and course levels. They also contain faculty-proposed action plans for course level assessment data that fell below target thresholds.