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Coppin State University Learning Outcomes

Institutional Level Program Assessment and Accountability

 

Coppin State University’s Student Learning Outcomes Assessment process provides both formative and summative feedback relative to student learning. Each of the 53 academic programs offered by the university are evaluated on a cyclical basis and regularly reviewed. This process is driven by internal and external processes.  The Curriculum Policy and Standards Committee (undergraduate-level programs) and the Graduate Council (graduate-level programs) review all of its programs annually in conjunction with the Academic Program Review Committee (APRC) and the Office of the Provost.  As a result of the reviews, action plans are created and monitored for progress related to the program learning outcomes and their relation to the institutional learning outcomes.  Each program whether it is a degree or certificate offering is subjection to an annual review of learning outcomes data and a five-year self-study review of the program to determine its effectiveness towards meeting the institution’s stated mission and goals as well as any specialized accreditation.

 

The domains of assessment at the institutional level go beyond the traditional learning outcomes model to include but not me limited to assessment and evaluation of knowledge/skills acquired, values/beliefs transmitted, employment rates, performance on licensure and national exams, an assessment of departmental retention and graduation rates, and progression rates. Evaluation of the effectiveness of academic and support programs are also included to measure student performance along multiple and varied dimensions. For instance, student opinion and attitudinal information are gathered through various surveys and documents including faculty and course evaluations, program completer and graduation follow-up studies. Assessment is embedded in each course and in every aspect of teaching, student services and instructional support programs with a view to continuous quality improvement.

 

Faculty, staff, and administrators at Coppin are committed to a culture of planning, research, assessment and accountability. In general, all units at CSU are engaged in some form of evaluation, planning, assessment, and development so that the University remains positioned to carry out its urban mission.  CSU relies on a broad range of tools and resources to measure, evaluate, and assess educational outcomes. The University’s Office of Planning and Assessment (OPA) facilitate, guide and coordinate the institution’s strategic planning, research, and assessment efforts. 

 

The Campus’ Assessment Model

 

The goal of the University’s assessment process is to encourage institutional self-awareness, self-understanding, and genuine self-improvement. Programs within the Department of Applied Psychology have undergone this process since 2004, when assessment in a more formal sense became popular within the State and was introduced to the university community.  The University has an institutional assessment model that incorporates assessing student learning outcomes at the institution, program, and course levels. Both the institutional and program levels are informed by the strategic plan, which provides a useful blueprint for the future direction of the University. In addition, CSU began its self-study process by demonstrating the application of MSCHE Characteristics of Excellence using Standards 7 and 14 as its guide. Assessment at CSU is anchored in the strategic goals of the Coppin State University Strategic Plan 2013-2020.

 

Assessment Components and Institutional Support


The CSU assessment process includes the following data components:  a comprehensive survey research, fiscal data, student perception of teaching quality, skill acquisition, learning outcomes, technical infrastructure, technical learning support, assessment, specialized studies, program level data, and institutional learning. The Office of Planning and Assessment has responsibility for coordinating assessment efforts at CSU; and enhancing the culture of assessment in collaboration with all University constituencies. 

 

The four college deans in collaboration with department chairpersons, and the Division of Academic Affairs, lead efforts to improve student learning assessment in their respective colleges and schools based on course and program level competencies. Each college has a process for addressing course level performance which includes the development of direct and indirect measures using a conceptual framework; such as, for the Schools of Education and Nursing.

 


Institutional Level and Program Level Example Assessment Outcomes


Again, the CSU assessment process is inclusive of comprehensive survey research, fiscal data, student perception of teaching quality, skill acquisition, learning outcomes, technical infrastructure, technical learning support, assessment, specialized studies, program level data, and institutional learning. All of the departments within the four colleges have identified categories of goals, which have been aligned with a conceptual framework and strategic plan; such as, 1) the quality of instructional programs, 2) diversity of faculty and students, 3) adequacy of resources, 4) unit productivity, 5) collaborative initiatives and partnerships, and 6) student retention.


Use of Technology to Assist with Assessment Efforts

The Office of Academic Affairs commissioned the services of a consultant in 2005 to assist in developing an electronic system that supports accreditation across the campus. The School of Education utilizes TK-20 to access the campus’ student information management system known as EagleLinks and the School of Nursing and College of Business, along with the rest of the university community uses BlackBoard Learn for Assessment.  These systems collectively satisfy the reporting requirements related to the outcomes developed by the units in collaboration with accreditation requirements. Each of the systems provide a direct linkage to the institutional learning outcomes as well as help measure progress towards the university’s mission.

 

Reports and data are extracted from EagleLinks using the platforms described earlier to grab data on admissions, enrollment, academic performance, class diagnostics, risk analysis, and faculty. Drill down capability for any cell in a grid of outcomes and a decomposition tool allow the user to fine-tune the applicability of data to a specific area. All academic and non-academic units such as the residence halls, Disability Services, Student Accounts and others are measured using these systems.

 

Surveys and Other Tools to Support Assessment

 

Faculty and Course Evaluations

 

At CSU, faculty and course evaluations are assessed by institutional, program, course and instructor ratings. The results of these evaluations are included in the faculty member’s annual performance review with points awarded for overall performance with departmental feedback. At the department / program level, the evaluation information is used to improve teaching quality by the Provost, Deans, and Department Chairs.

 

National Survey of Student Engagement Results (NSSE)

 

During spring 2013, the University secured the National Study for Student Engagement to assess the level of student engagement on campus. The survey was a means of gathering more timely information about student engagement. The results have been disseminated to the four colleges.  The results have been used for informing the strategic planning and self-studies process as evidence of CSU’s involvement in student learning. Both of these initiatives have been spearheaded by the Office of Planning and Assessment.

 


Course Level Assessment

 

Systematic review of curriculum structure, content, and outcomes is managed by the APRC, Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Assessment Committee and the General Education Committee. These committees are responsible for content and assessment affecting the educational programs in the University. Ultimately, all actions and recommendations made by the committees are approved by the faculty. These committees are also responsible for reviewing course and programmatic assessment data to ensure that expected abilities and competencies are being met in each year of the specified program.

 

Since 2006, the Faculty Assessment Committee has been charged with implementation of an institutional assessment plan. This committee has responsibility for matters related to instructional assessment techniques and assessment of educational outcomes by the programs offered.

 

The General Education Committee has been charged with assessing the course and program level performance of General Education at CSU, it has been very active in providing administrative oversight for documenting and evaluating assessment outcomes. For example, the Committee conducted a course syllabus audit to assess which of the approved competencies reported to the State of Maryland in its annual Student Learning Outcomes Report.

 

In summary, CSU has an institutional assessment model that incorporates assessing student learning outcomes at the institution, program, and course levels.  Both the institutional and program levels are informed by the strategic plan which provides a useful blueprint for the future direction of the University.  In addition, CSU began its self-study process demonstrating the application of MSCHE, Characteristics of Excellence, using Standards 7, Institutional Effectiveness, and Standard 14, Assessment of Student Learning, as its guide.  The Coppin assessment process answers two critical questions:  How is institutional effectiveness assessed at CSU through the use of strategic goals and objectives?  How are assessment data and results used to improve policy formation, budget and fiscal planning, curriculum and student development, and teaching and learning?  The ongoing assessment process at CSU consists of data collected in specified categories and is anchored in the strategic goals of the institutional strategic plan, Coppin State University 2013-2020.