Assessment of Student Learning
What is Assessment of Student Learning?
Assessment of student learning is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves setting goals and standards for student learning and then systematically gathering and analyzing evidence to determine how well student performance matches those expectations and standards. The main goals in the assessment of student learning are: 1) to document what learning is taking place and, 2) to use the results of assessment activities to improve student learning.
Anoka-Ramsey Community College is committed to having strong programs. Consequently, assessment of student learning is an important part of our strategy to maintain and improve programs at the college.
At Anoka-Ramsey students are involved in many types of assessments of their learning. Most of these are related to concepts and skills that are learned in a particular course. However, the college is interested in evaluating student learning over broader goal areas as well, which is what assessment of student learning is all about. Knowing about their own learning can also assist students in their educational and career planning.
What are the Broader Goal Areas for Student Learning at Anoka-Ramsey Community College?
The broader goal areas, which are the college-wide goals for student learning, are known as the Guiding Principles. They are:
1. Clear Thinking - Thinking through reasoning, creating and reflecting.
2. Effective Communication - Integrating information with experience and expressing insight.
3. Accepting Diversity - Understanding and respecting individuals and local, regional, national, and global communities.
4. Ethical Decision-Making - Maintaining responsibility for environmental, economic, social, and personal concerns.
All programs at Anoka-Ramsey Community College emphasize experiences that promote learning in these four areas. In addition, each program also has more specific goals that students are expected to master in the course of program completion. For example, many students attend Anoka-Ramsey to complete the AA degree, which includes 10 goals for general education. Other students may plan to complete the nursing RN program, which also has specific learning goals related to nursing that are assessed throughout the program.
Although each program has its own specific learning goals, general education is a component of all degrees and most programs at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
What are the Goal Areas for General Education?
There are ten goal areas for student learning in general education that are described by the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (MnTC). These goals areas are:
2. Critical Thinking
3. Natural Sciences
4. Mathematical/Logical Reasoning
5. History and the Social and Behavioral Sciences
6. The Humanities and Fine Arts
7. Human Diversity
8. Global Perspective
9. Ethical and Civic Responsibility
10. People and the Environment
In order to complete the general education requirement of the AA degree, students take one or more courses in each of these areas. Student learning in the MnTC goal areas is measured by various assessment methods and techniques, and the results are used to determine whether the learning goals are being met. If student learning across the student population does not reach the expected level for a particular goal area, changes to the curriculum and program can be made to facilitate student learning in this area.
What are Some Ways that Student Learning is Assessed?
Here are some examples:
• Surveys - Students may be asked to complete surveys where they are asked about the learning environment of the college or to rate their own learning engagement.
• Laboratory Reports - Students may be asked to write a lab report for a science class, which falls into the Natural Sciences goal area of the MnTC. The lab report can be evaluated in a systematic way to determine whether a student has met the desired learning goals for that area.
• Written Papers & Oral Presentations - Students may be asked to write a paper or to give an oral presentation, both of which fall into the Communication goal area of the MnTC. The paper or presentation can be evaluated to determine whether the student has achieved the desired level of competency in that goal area.
• Portfolios - Students may be required to compile a portfolio of their work across the course of a program, such as the Associates of Fine Arts degree.
This portfolio is then judged by an external advisory committee.
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