On November 16, 2012, the Assessment Network of New York (ANNY) held a regional assessment event hosted by Rockland Community College. ANNY is a professional network established to assist New York State’s colleges and universities in their efforts to assess student learning and institutional effectiveness. Colleges and universities outside of New York State can participate and have participated in ANNY events. Lehman College’s Assessment Coordinator, Raymond Galinski, has played an instrumental role in the creation of ANNY and development of ANNY’s events since its founding.
The November 16 conference led to a sharing of student learning outcomes assessments from a wide range of disciplines. The disciplines were General Education, Math & Physical Science, Business, Education, the Social Sciences, Online Education, Health Services/Nursing, Foreign Languages/Arts, and Careers. Conference participants were organized into work groups based on those disciplines. Afterward, each work group shared its findings before all the conference’s participants.
Although each work group provided information unique to its discipline, a number of themes that were relevant across the disciplines emerged. Those themes included:
- The advantages of developing and using standardized assessment instruments
- The value of mapping learning objectives to larger College/University and Program goals
- The growing importance of linking planning and budgeting activities with assessment results
- The need for students to be familiar with the content that they are expected to know at the end of a course
- The need for students to understand the rubrics that will be used to evaluate their work
- The importance of distinguishing between the assessment of creative products/outputs and creative processes
- The need for clearly-stated assessment outcomes
Particular attention was given to the linkage between planning, budgeting, and assessment. Rockland Community College shared its January 2012 outcomes assessment plan that described how it links those activities. Its plan stated:
Results of Non-Academic Assessment are used at the institutional level to move the Strategic Plan forward, modify strategic planning directions and the overall Mission, if needed. Non-Academic Assessment uses the results of Departmental Planning (assessment) reports to evaluate trends across time so as to best improve the service or function of the area.
In its Strategic Plan, Lehman College has made a commitment to more closely integrate those three activities. Language within Objective 3.1 declares that Lehman College will “Modify the budget planning and resource allocation process to better integrate them with institutional assessment and achieve greater transparency.”
More detail concerning the linkage between planning, resource allocation, and assessment will likely be discussed at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s annual conference in December. Major themes from that conference will be provided in subsequent blog entries.
Following completion of Lehman College’s Progress Report, which is due April 1, 2013, I plan to make closer integration of planning, budgeting, and assessment a focus of the next institutional effectiveness assessment cycle. Substantial progress toward that strategic objective would make a valuable contribution to Lehman College’s Periodic Review Report, which is due June 1, 2014.