Assessment of Student Learning
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.
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. The state does not set these achievement benchmarks. Instead, each department sets them internally. Therefore, standards vary and fall between 70% and 100% depending on the program. When specialized bodies, such as HVAC, accredit programs, 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.).Each accrediting body sets their own achievement standards, which typically range from 85% to 100%.
Non Externally Mandated Assessment Standards
Evidence from programs without externally mandated assessment standards is data on student achievement of course level learning outcomes. The Missouri Department of Higher Education and other organization, such as the APA Guidelines for Undergraduate Psychology, establish state-level curricular goals. These standards tie the course learning outcomes, when applicable, to state-level curricular goals. Instructors gather the data using a variety of locally-developed instruments. These tools may consist of observation checklists to essay responses graded using rubrics. Instructors design them to be an appropriate measure for the skill described by each course objective. Academic departments use the data for curricular and instructional revision. Each department sets achievement standards for the course objectives. The benchmarks they set, which vary between 70% and 100%, measure achievement for every course objective.
Institutional Learning Outcomes
After several years of review and revision, updated Institutional Learning Outcomes were adopted in 2022. One of the revisions included the adoption of Professional Preparedness, which is a combination of two previous ILOs: Employability and Professionalism. Additionally, we clarified the expected student learning outcomes and drafted sample performance indicators. Faculty, staff, students, and community members all provided input into the revision of the ILOs.
Program and departments develop a three year assessment of student learning plan, including when they will assess course objectives and program learning outcomes. The ILOs are assessed on a schedule based on year in the program review cycle.
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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Assessment of Student Learning Reports
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.