4.B.4 The institution’s processes and methodologies to assess student learning reflect good practice including the substantial participation of faculty and other instructional staff members.
Assessment practices at Miller College examine student learning by incorporating data from multiple qualitatively different sources: nationally-normed assessments, course-related assessments and program-specific portfolios. The ETS Proficiency Profile Measures of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP) was selected as the assessment tool of general education outcomes based on its documented usefulness by other institutions.
Course related assessments are articulated in course syllabi and the Performance Assessment Tasks (PATs) component of the WIDS template, which is informed by research-based practices in instructional design. The WIDS (Worldwide Instructional Design System) process begins with defining broad core abilities to be furthered by participation in a given course, and is followed by defining progressively narrower course competencies, learning objectives and assessment tasks that align with the College Mission and School Learning Outcomes. This process is informed by scholarship on instructional design associated with Wiggins and McTighe (2005).
Electronic portfolios are structured around and assessed in accordance with professional standards and/or program outcomes in each of the respective Schools. For example, the Binda School of Education portfolio is structured around the Professional Standards for Michigan Teachers, which were developed in a collaborative process between representatives of higher education and the Michigan State Board of Education. Portfolios were selected as a culminating assessment of student learning for all Miller College students based on scholarship on effective assessment practices.
All syllabi are developed using the Worldwide Instructional Design System (WIDS). The WIDS process aligns and links specific activities in the degree programs to the Miller College Mission and values, with the learning outcomes, core abilities, student competencies and the objectives and assessment tools for each course. The Dean of each School solicits changes to the course syllabi from faculty. All instructors including adjunct instructors are required to submit revised syllabi. The changes are made to the archive of courses.
All degree seeking students enrolled at Miller College are required to complete the General Education Requirement: ENGL 310; LBAR 300; COMM 310; SCIE 330; Core Courses. These requirements include a variety of courses that form a broad foundation for baccalaureate level work and application throughout life. They are designed to focus explicit attention on The Robert B. Miller College Mission.
The courses in the General Education Requirement cohort orient students to the Miller College Mission and learning outcomes for their program. These requirements are designed to develop the students’ professional identities as leaders in their chosen discipline.
In addition students seeking acceptance to programs in the Binda School of Education and the School of Nursing will successfully complete requirements specific to each School. These courses are designed to ensure that all students have the competencies necessary for upper division course work in accordance with the Miller College Mission.
Miller College utilizes a comprehensive assessment framework. Careful attention to the alignment of the School’s Mission, outcomes, and competencies results in each School measuring the effectiveness of their programs through the creation of an assessment plan.
The Miller College faculty assumes responsibility for developing and enhancing the College’s curriculum by meeting in Academic Affairs to communicate, discuss and coordinate proposed changes, modification and additions to programs. The Learning Community portion of the meeting is time allocated for the dissemination of information about current research and literature and trends that affect programming.
Each School within Miller College holds meetings to discuss curriculum, scheduling, advising and other important issues. The meetings may be formal and scheduled on a regular basis during each term. In other instances, meetings are less formal and are scheduled as dictated by the needs in the particular School. The meetings include discussion of topics such as curriculum, assessment and the corresponding data including survey and course evaluation data, scheduling, advising, staffing and other important issues.
To ensure fidelity of instruction to the approved syllabus, all faculty and adjuncts undergo periodic evaluation. Full time and percent time faculty participate in yearly evaluations. An adjunct evaluation will be phased in beginning fall 2013. One-third of the adjunct staff will be evaluated each year. The assessment will include the examination of longitudinal Course Evaluation data, the development of goals and objectives in consultation with the Dean of the School and observation of the instructor’s progress toward the achievement of the identified goals. The process will inform continuing employment decisions and the need for professional development for the adjunct faculty.
Additionally, the effectiveness of the Measures of Academic Proficiency and Progress (MAPP) test as an assessment tool is questioned due to students’ reluctance to take the assessment seriously. A search has begun to investigate other available assessment tools. The Assessment Committee sought assistance from Kellogg Community College’s Institutional Review Director, Doris Lewis. Ms. Lewis presented the project undertaken at KCC and explained how the General Education Assessment tool is used. She made suggestions for the development and use of a similar process at Miller College. In the future the Assessment Committee will conduct a retrospective pilot for the use of a rubric developed to evaluate Senior Seminar reflection papers for the General Education outcomes for written communication skills.
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J (2005). Understanding by design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
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