Assessment is a process of continuous improvement and is the driving force that can build a more effective course, a more meaningful degree, and a more potent educational experience for Barton’s students. By identifying and focusing in on the respective topics that students are struggling with, faculty can make strategic improvements to their courses.
How We Assess (Levels Utilized)
Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs)
The mission statement of the college suggests a commitment to putting learners and learning first in all matters concerning the operation of the college. The learning process begins in the environment in which course material is presented. If the guiding question of assessment at Barton County Community College is "As a result of their educational experiences here, to what degree have students learned what we expect them to learn?" then the assessment process should begin at the classroom level and focus on classroom assessment and its results as the foundation of the process.
Barton faculty incorporate Classroom Assessment Techniques (CATs) into their instructional delivery. Relying on the work of Assessment work of authors Thomas Angelo and Patricia Cross, the Outcomes Assessment Committee has offered numerous training opportunities for learning about CATs. Classroom assessment is conducted by the individual instructor in the classroom. The assessment activity assesses the particular topic being presented on to identify areas where further clarification is needed. The instructor may assess a classroom lecture, a reading assignment, a skill demonstration, or even an entire unit.
Information gathered from CATs are meant to effect real-time adjustments designed to improve student learning. Aside from the benefits to the individual instructor, the process of classroom assessment engenders changes within the culture of the college. When conducted regularly, CATs provide individual instructors with a wealth of meaningful information about their students’ learning. Furthermore, information gleaned from CATs may be used to effect real-time adjustments designed to improve student learning. For many faculty, CATs provide an introduction to the nature of assessment, laying the foundation for understanding assessment in the broader perspective.
Course Assessment (CA)
Course assessment is the assessment of student learning as it occurs through the duration of a course. Once faculty have implemented their assessment instrument, the results are collected, analyzed, and shared according to the pre-determined guidelines. Faculty discuss their students’ strengths and weaknesses, and develop plans to remediate a pattern of weakness perceived from analyzing their results.
That is, by knowing one’s strengths, a person can build off of them and by identifying areas of weakness one can begin to plan and implement changes to address these issues in order to improve student learning so that the next time the course it taught, the course assessment can be repeated to gauge whether or not these changes were successful or not.
Institutional Level Assessment (ILA)
Within the ENDS category of ESSENTIAL SKILLS it is stated that Students will acquire the skills needed to be successful for the program they are in. One of the three identifiers tied to this states that Students will have the essential skills to lead productive lives.
Subsequently, it is stated that Assessment of Barton’s Fundamental Outcomes will serve as an indicator of the essential skills retained by our students and their ability to lead productive lives. Barton’s Fundamental Outcomes are as follows:
1. Critical Thinking
Study a given subject critically, including processes to analyze and synthesize important parts of the subject, to ask appropriate and useful questions about the study of this subject, and to solve problems within the subject area.
2. Life-Long Learning
Relate the relevance of a given subject to the individual student’s life, to develop habits that encourage life-long, responsible and independent learning, and to apply appropriate and useful knowledge of the values, conventions, and institutions within an academic discipline.
3. Historical Perspective
Describe how history works, including how historical perspective can strengthen understanding of a given academic subject, and how the history of human endeavor has helped develop that subject.
4. Technological Perspective
Explain how technologies affect important parts of human life and how information technologies shape the study of a given subject.
5. Cultural Perspective
Explain how culture develops through various aspects of human endeavor, how culture develops understanding of a given subject, and how a given subject develops within different cultures.
*Consequently, Institutional Level Assessment serves to assess these Fundamental Outcomes as directed by our Board of Trustees.
Institutional level assessment is completed using a mix of direct and indirect measures of student learning. The direct measure of student learning at the institutional level involves embedded assessments/questions in selected courses, using Course Assessments. Building on the existing Class- and Course-Level assessment projects, faculty are engaged in institutional level assessment that is directly correlated to the fundamental outcomes set forth by the college as a measure of the BOT ENDs.
Annually, Barton’s Assessment Coordinator will report to the Board of Trustees (BOT) on the Assessment of the Fundamental Outcomes at tied to the ENDS Statements as mentioned earlier. If the ENDS are met as determined by the BOT, the current Institutional Level Assessment model will continue to be used for an additional year. If not, adjustments/revisions will be made to the satisfaction of the BOT. Regardless, comments and/or feedback from the Board of Trustees will be relayed back to the respective faculty to take under advisement for the next year.
Program Level Assessment
This is currently indirectly measured from the Graduation Survey and CSSEE data.
As part of the four-year HLC Assessment Academy project, Program Level Assessment, using Curricular Mapping, will be developed to run parallel with Program Review.
Co-Curricular Level Assessment
Barton is committed to assessing and strengthening co-curricular programs. Barton recognizes and values that student learning is most effective when students are able to make meaningful connections across their many educational experiences, both curricular and co-curricular.
The various co-curricular areas at Barton systematically assess and make improvements to benefit their respective student learning goals. These are subsequently collected and documented in support of Barton’s strategic planning framework.