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SMC|Enrollment Development|Assessment|Assessment Center Learning Outcomes

Assessment Center Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes Assessment

 

As part of the college's effort to assess student learning outcomes, the Assessment Center adopted the following goal to guide our operation:

Students will be well informed of the importance of the English, ESL, mathematics, and chemistry assessment before testing; will understand their placement levels, and educational consequences for such placements. Students will comport themselves with integrity while partaking of our services.

 

Three learning outcomes have also been adopted to help us meet our goal above. In keeping with effective practices, these student learning outcomes are reflective of institutional learning outcomes as noted below. All three learning outcomes have been assessed and results utilized to help us improve our services. The Assessment Center continues to assess these on a regular basis. The outcomes are:

  1. Students will recognize the importance and impact of assessment in language and computational skills prior to testing. [ILO 1, 2]
  1. Based on assessment results, students will demonstrate their understanding of the number and type of courses in English, ESL, mathematics, and chemistry they will need to take to accomplish their educational objective. [ILO 1, 2]
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of and adherence to the SMC Honor Code and the Assessment Center's Academic Integrity and Conduct Notice by behaving honorably and adhering to proctor instructions while in the Center. [ILO 1, 4]

Evidence is support of the assessment of student learning outcomes is provided below.

 

SLO 1 Evidence

The Assessment Center set as one of its student learning outcomes to increase students¡¯ awareness and recognition of the importance and impact of assessment in language and computational skills.

Outcomes for Math:

Based on a survey conducted in May 2008 to assess our progress in achieving our SLO for students taking the math assessment, 94% of participating students agreed or strongly agreed that they understood the purpose and impact of the math assessment. Sixty percent indicated they prepared for the test by studying/reviewing. However, only 35% indicated feeling adequately or very well prepared on the day they completed the test. This percentage dropped to 22% when asked the same question after taking the test. Only 36% reported accessing the Assessment Center¡¯s study guides and online sample tests as part of their preparation. Based on our baseline data from December 2006, our objective of students understanding the purpose of the math assessment was met. Our goal was to reach a minimum target of 75%. As seen above, we surpassed this benchmark by 19 percentage points to 94%.

Given the complexity in communicating with students on the need to prepare for the assessment, we proposed an increase of 5©\10 percentage points per year¡ªover 2006 baseline data of 27%¡ªthe number of students who would report preparing for the test. Strategies implemented to reach this target include an improved Assessment Center website, more study guides, interactive math sample tests, and ongoing communication with new students facilitated in great part by our Outreach Office. Based on our results, 60% of students reported preparing for the test. This represents an increase of 33 percentage points over our baseline; thus, exceeding our expectations. As discussed above, it is clear though that students tend to over©\estimate their level of preparation, as evidenced in their pre and post©\assessment impressions. The data do show there is still a need to continue to increase student awareness in the area of pre-assessment preparation. The faculty leader has begun discussions with the Math Department chair to possibly create a ¡°crash¡± course workshop to help students prepare for the test or for a retest. Additionally, we continue to collaborate with our Outreach Office to increase student awareness on the importance of assessment. In fact, Outreach has adopted the Assessment Center¡¯s SLOs.

Outcomes for English/ESL:

Similar to Math above, a survey was conducted between May and September 2008 to assess our progress in achieving our SLO for English and ESL. Given the nature of data collection, we were able to compare responses for ¡°regular¡± SMC students and those participating in our Fantastic Days (high school students) co-sponsored by the Outreach Office.

Based on our results, 90% of ¡°regular¡± students and 95% of the high school students agreed or strongly agreed that they understood the purpose and impact of the math assessment. Fifty-one percent of the regular and 41% of the HS students indicated they prepared for the test by studying/reviewing. However, only 49% of the regular and 24% of the HS students indicated feeling adequately or very well prepared on the day they completed the test. This percentage dropped to 38% and 24%, respectively, when asked the same question after taking the test. Only 27% of regular, but 45% of HS students reported accessing the Assessment Center¡¯s study guides and online sample tests as part of their preparation for the English or ESL assessment. Based on our baseline data from December 2006, our objective of students understanding the purpose of the math assessment was met. Our goal was to reach a minimum target of 75%. As seen above, we surpassed this benchmark by 15-20 percentage points.

In preparation for future enrollment cycles, the Assessment Center will continue to collaborate with the Outreach Office and the Admissions Office to develop a communication plan enabling us to systematically contact new SMC applicants to alert them of the various resources available to them to prepare for the English/ESL and mathematics assessment.

 

SLO 2 Evidence

The Assessment Center has utilized a variety of strategies help students understand the number and type of courses in English, ESL, mathematics, and chemistry they will need to take to accomplish their educational objective. These include:

  1. Debrief and interpret for students their assessment/placement results report.
  2. Provide students with course sequence charts indicating their proficiency and eligibility level for a specific subject and advise them on the target level of courses to receive an Associate degree or transfer to a university.
  3. Refer students to the Welcome Center and to the Transfer/Counseling Center for academic advisement and educational plan preparation.

The Counseling Department has been evaluating, among other things, students¡¯ understanding of their placement results and their impact on prerequisite sequences. The Assessment Center¡¯s faculty leader devised the rubric used by counselors to evaluate student-prepared educational plans which integrated a section on placement test outcomes and course sequencing. Based on the evaluation of 249 rubrics in Fall 2008, 251 quizzes and 250 surveys administered, it is clear that the vast majority of students taking the placement tests understand the number and type of English/ESL and mathematics courses they will need to complete to accomplish their educational goals. Specifically, these three studies showed that:

  • 67% of students demonstrated proficiency in identifying all relevant prerequisite course sequences for math, English/ESL, and other subjects based on their own placement results.
  • Using a case scenario of a recent high school graduate interested in transferring to CSU Fullerton as a sociology major, 69% correctly identified the prerequisite course sequence for the fictitious student for Math 52 starting with Math 81. Similarly, 77% correctly pointed out that English 21B is the prerequisite for English 1.
  • A separate survey administered to the same students also showed that only 8.3% of students would have liked additional counseling assistance to help them understand their course prerequisite sequence.

 

SLO 3 Evidence

The assessment of SLO 3 pertaining to students¡¯ adherence to the Honor Code and academic integrity while participating in testing took several forms. First, as part of our ongoing operation, the Assessment Center¡¯s staff apprises every student interested in taking any tests of their responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner becoming a college student¡ªthey are to adhere to our policies on academic integrity and to follow proctor instructions while testing. In order to ascertain their understanding of our academic integrity notice and their belief that various forms of dishonesty would occur in the testing room, the Assessment Center has been conducting a survey of students participating in testing since January 27, 2009. We anticipate that our data gathering effort will continue through Summer 2009. The survey is administered after the English/ESL placement test has been completed. Note should be taken that participation is strictly voluntary. Preliminary analyses of 2,615 surveys submitted from January 27 through May 13, 2009 indicate that approximately 74% of the students (3,465) have participated.

Outcomes for Students¡¯ Understanding of Academic Integrity Notice

Students were asked to summarize in their own words their understanding of the academic integrity notice (Test Authorization" form) they signed before entering the testing room.  A content analysis of 185 randomly selected responses provided significantly demonstrated student¡¯s thorough understanding of the notice. Thus, we can comfortably conclude for now that our objective of educating students on aspects of academic integrity and the Honor Code has been met. As seen in Table 1 below:

  • 79% of students characterized the notice as informing them of their responsibility to abide by the SMC Honor Code
  • 19% indicated they were conduct themselves properly;
  • 23% noted some consequences for committing acts of academic dishonesty: assessment of fees and an assessment hold;
  • 18% missed the intent of the form, but noted that it was clear and easy to understand;
  • Lastly, but importantly, only 3% noted not reading the notice, or having ¡°no clue¡± what it stated, or simply noted something irrelevant.

 

Outcomes for Likelihood of Cheating Occurring in Assessment Center

In response to a fictitious case scenario presented (¡°Jason¡±¡ªa student under pressure), students were asked to indicate how easy or difficult it might be for Jason or another student in the testing room to engage in various forms of academic dishonesty. They were also asked to consider their own experiences in coming to test, interacting with proctors, etc., to answer the questions.

Case Scenario:

Jason has just graduated high school with a 3.9 GPA. He is interested in attending SMC and will be required to complete the English and Math assessment tests. Although he completed AP English and a precalculus class while in high school, he is concerned that he may not place ¡°high enough¡± into math because his skills may not be up-to-date. He feels pressured to do well by any means necessary and wants to get out of SMC and transfer to UCLA as soon as possible. 

Table 1. Content Analysis of Student Responses Summarizing Assessment Center's Academic Integrity Notice

Category

Category name

N

Percent of
Responses*

1

Abide by Honor Code

144

78.60%

2

Conduct self properly

35

19.10%

3

Fees assessed for dishonesty (upon retesting)

23

12.50%

4

Assessment Hold

20

10.90%

5

Easy to understand form

19

10.30%

8

Clear form

14

7.60%

6

Consequences for disruptive behavior

12

6.50%

-

 Uncategorized

7

3.80%

7

 Did not read notice or ¡°No Clue¡±

6

3.20%

 

 Total Categorized Responses

176

96.10%

*percents do not add up to 100% as responses may have been coded into more than one category.

As seen in Table 2, students were significantly more likely to indicate that it would be difficult or very difficult for students to engage in any form of academic dishonesty while in the testing room. Approximately 3.8% of students noted that engaging in these same behaviors would be very easy. Note should be taken that the Assessment Center staff constantly monitor students and answer questions as they arise in order to clarify any potential misunderstandings. Items 7, 8, and 9 below, specifically asked students how bothered they would feel if they saw a student such as Jason cheating while taking a placement test. Most students noted they would most likely feel bothered (M = 3.1), but were slightly less likely to report them to a proctor (M = 2.7). On the other hand, they also noted it would be more likely that the student in question would be caught cheating by the proctor (M = 3.4).

Based on these results, it appears that students beliefs that cheating would occur while taking a placement test would be difficult given the vigilance of the assessment staff. This is not to say, however, that no such cheating takes place. In fact, since July 1, 2008 (through April 2009), eight incidents of impersonation, two cases of unauthorized internet access to look up answers, and one case of possession of unauthorized testing materials have been referred to Student Judicial Affairs for disciplinary action. Numerous other cases for unauthorized access to initiating a retesting session have been handled directly by the Assessment Center. As a result of the impersonation violations, the Assessment Center has undertaken an educational campaign alerting students of the consequences of impersonation. Since various posters were displayed immediately outside the Center, no new cases of impersonation have been found.

Table 2. Students¡¯ Perceptions of Academic Dishonesty Behaviors Occurring in Testing Room

Behavior

N

Mean

Scale for Items 1-6:
1 = Very Easy    4 = Very Difficult

  1. Copying from another student without his/her knowledge

 


2576



3.3

  1. Using a cell phone or electronic device to communicate or text someone to get an answer

2570

3.3

  1. Using crib notes

2557

2.3

  1. Using an unauthorized calculator or a prohibited electronic dictionary or translator

2563

3.4

  1. Impersonation

2557

3.6

  1. Looking for an answer using the internet on his computer station

2561

3.4

Scale for Items 7-9:
1 = Very Likely    4 = Very Unlikely

 

  1. Would you feel bothered if you saw Jason cheating?

 

 


2571

 

 


3.1

  1. Would you report to the proctor if you saw Jason cheating in some way?

2563

2.7

  1. How likely would it be for Jason to ¡°get caught cheating¡± by the proctor?

2558

3.4