Assessing student learning

Assessing student learning in technology

The departments of civil engineering technology and computer-aided drafting and design in the Technology division have approached the assessment of student learning outcomes differently. One department determined it would jump in and begin, while the other department methodically planned its course of action.

Susan Johnson, professor and chair of civil engineer technology ,and her faculty are working on assessing student learning outcome no. 7: Select and apply appropriate problem-solving techniques. Johnson attended several of the assessment sessions offered during the college’s Professional Development Days and determined to pilot one embedded question in one class to understand the issues and peculiarities with this process. A rubric was created to help with this assessment. After the pilot, the process and rubric were fine-tuned and will begin department-wide assessment in spring 2011.

Tom Hughes, professor and chair, computer-aided drafting and design, worked with his faculty to create a systematic plan of action. In fall 2009, they began to link learning outcomes to individual course competencies. They identified their key courses and then “core sub-items” from the sub-item list of the eight JCCC student learning outcomes. Next they matched these sub-items to key course competencies, at which point the course instructor linked them to existing coursework – lab activities, quizzes or major projects.

For example, faculty teaching DRAF 135, Graphics Analysis, will assess outcome no. 1, sub-item d: Access and evaluate information from credible sources/Comprehend and access the relevancy of written, visual and numeric information. This outcome was matched to one of the course competencies – Draw and measure the strike of an ore deposit – and will be assessed using an existing course project.

Angel, the college’s learning management system, has an item analysis feature that will allow faculty to more easily track and analyze the data. Their assessment will officially start in spring 2011.

Common to both departments is the ability to have serious and exciting discussions about course offerings creating their own repository for accessing and archiving their data. Hughes states that the most exciting aspect of this process was the discussions that ensued in the meetings set aside for assessment. “It involves the whole group; that’s where the work is being done,” he said. Johnson’s department reserved a table during the January 2011 World Café III to continue their planning and discussions.

An Intranet site was created for civil engineering technology where an assessment folder now resides for easy storage and access of data. Angel will serve as the data repository for computer-aided drafting and design.