Helping Our Students Through Assessments

In every team and department at Northwest Vista College, there are always great stories to tell that show faculty and staff going above and beyond.

While it’s hard to capture every story, we hope to periodically share in this space some of the major accomplishments or projects that are taking place. Members of the executive team will write about important topics that they feel NVC employees should be made aware of.

Let us know about the positive things your area is doing to help students or improve processes by contacting myself or NVC Public Relations.

– Dr. Ric Baser, NVC President

La reVistaAmy Whitworth
NVC Vice President for Academic Success

Since last spring, NVC Program (AA, AS, AAT, AAS) and Core Objectives Coordinators (formerly Across-the-Curriculum Coordinators) have been discussing ways to streamline and improve our assessment processes. Our new Coordinator of Measurement and Assessment, Lydia Beaver, has been working with discipline faculty to collect and compile information on the status of our course learning outcomes processes.

One of the goals in this work is to map and align the course learning outcomes to core objectives, which support program level outcomes. Currently, the AA program assessment is distinct from the core assessment only in terms of the number of hours that students have completed. However, the assessment team is working on a more robust process for the AA program, especially now that the AA is defined as 42 hours of core, 18 hours of electives.

The goal is to develop an assessment process that shows the level of mastery of skills that students attain in completing the degree. We assess the AS program through capstone courses.  Assessment is one of the means by which NVC knows it is meeting its mission of “creating opportunities for success” and also supports our strategic plan objective of “Learning Quality and Effectiveness”.  Through our assessment processes, we can clearly see how well our students are learning and gaining the skills they need to achieve their educational goals.

February is an important month for our Academic assessment processes. Earlier this month, all full-time faculty participated in the first of two assessment days as part of the Program and Core Objectives assessment teams. The teams participated in a norming process, reviewing and recommending changes in the rubrics that will be used by the teams on February 24 when the teams will review student work to evaluate student levels of achievement. The rubrics provide a coherent set of criteria for student work that includes descriptions of levels of performance quality on the criteria. By using these faculty developed and normed rubrics, we are able to measure student achievement across disciplines.

Results of the assessment work on February 24 will be used to determine how well NVC is meeting the THECB defined Core Objectives (Communication, Critical Thinking, Empirical and Quantitative, Personal Responsibility, Social Responsibility, and Teamwork) and our program objectives for the AA, AS, AAT and workforce programs. This will allow us to create action plans for improvements to be put into place next fall.

In addition to those faculty working on the Program and Core Objectives teams, over 30 faculty members, serving as the QEP liaisons, also met on February 10 to review and revise their discipline specific QEP rubrics. This meeting was the culmination of a yearlong process of training focused on rubric development led by our NVC librarians as well as outside consultants from Trinity University. The liaisons will use their rubrics on February 24 to begin to assess how our students are learning the fundamentals of the NVC Information Literacy QEP: Find, Use, Synthesize and Evaluate.

Students trust us to help them to achieve their goals. Through our assessment processes, we have the opportunity to learn how well we are doing and modify our practices and structures to improve where needed.

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