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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The assessment of student learning outcomes at a California community college: Insight from faculty in a single department
by Creason, Paul Joseph, Ed.D., California State University, Long Beach, 2015, 218; 3705588
Abstract (Summary)

In 2002, the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) revised its accreditation standards and mandated institutions to implement assessment of student learning outcomes (SLO) for all courses and programs. Effective assessment of SLO provides a mechanism for faculty to analyze, discuss, and use data to improve instruction. This process has been integral to meeting and maintaining standards required for accreditation. However, assessment should instead be aimed at improving teaching and learning and providing instructional consistency that results in a better experience for students.

Data from this qualitative study indicated key components to consider in implementing SLO assessment. The study examined faculty perceptions of a single department’s process and provides leaders with a road map to consider for implementation of SLO assessment. The study used a qualitative, single-site case study design to address the research questions through collection of data via in-depth interviews with 11 of 13 full-time faculty members in the target department who had participated in the full assessment cycle, observation of faculty meetings, and document review.

Key factors identified by interviewees were communication, knowledge of SLO, a clear plan, training, expertise, staff to assist faculty, and time to conduct assessment and analysis. Elements that were not evident in the literature emerged and indicated that department culture and faculty characteristics should be considered when creating an implementation plan.

The main obstacle to SLO assessment was the time required for comprehensive and high-quality assessment. There was a clear disconnect between tasks, required time, and institutional deadlines. Other campus-wide barriers cited were a lack of communication from campus leadership, inadequate training, and the perception that the college did not support necessary clerical and professional staff to assist faculty with the effort.

The resources and policies that were reported to assist faculty include a faculty-driven effort, an investment in the process to include compensation for the time spent, clerical and professional staff, technology to simplify the process and an examination of faculty workload.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Vega, William M.
Commitee: Murray, John P., Simpson, Robert
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational evaluation, Educational leadership, School administration
Keywords: Assessing student learning outcomes, Case study, Educational assessment, Student learning outcomes
Publication Number: 3705588
ISBN: 978-1-321-78777-1
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