Riverside City College believes that learning not only encompasses discrete facts and concepts but also demands that students utilize and apply those facts and concepts in areas of critical thinking, communication, problem-solving, and global thinking. The faculty, staff, and administrators of the College recognize that the College needs to look beyond measures such as retention, success, and transfer rates to measures of how well each unit contributes to the central mission of the college. Hence, each unit (instructional, student service, administrative) undergoes self-evaluation and assessment as part of its program review process. The College believes it is important to use these results within its units to identify ways to enhance student learning and better serve students.
Faculty and teaching professionals assess on a daily basis how well their students have learned concepts and their applications. They think critically about what they might do differently the next time they teach the topic. They are already participating in student learning outcomes (SLO) assessment. What SLO assessment requires the College to do is to document this process and to address specific SLOs of courses, programs and degrees.
More specifically, SLO assessment consists of a three-step process:
- Define what students should be able to do, think, or know at the end of a unit of instruction (define SLOs).
- Determine whether, and to what extent, students can perform, think, or produce these SLOs.
- Use the information to make improvements in instruction and learning (if improvements are deemed needed).
The mission of assessment at Riverside City College is to improve student success and learning, thus helping the College fulfill its educational mission. The assessment process provides the college with evidence that allows it to strengthen the content and delivery of its curriculum and services by identifying areas of strength and areas for improvement. Assessment is more meaningful and likely to lead to improvement when students are committed to learning and the faculty and staff who deliver the programs and services own the process.
- The primary purpose of assessment is improvement of student learning.
- By gathering meaningful evidence about student learning outcomes and processes we can make better decisions about pedagogy, the design of curricular and co-curricular programs and services, and how to allocate resources to enhance a student's college experience.
- Assessment of student learning depends on clear statements of expected outcomes.
- These statements describe what we expect students to know, be able to do, and value as a result of their college experience.
- These statements should be informed by the mission statements of the College, the Departments and Disciplines, and individual programs, as well as from faculty and staff intentions in program and course design.
- Effective assessment attends not only to outcomes, but also to the experiences that lead to those outcomes.
- Knowing about final outcomes is important, but in order to improve outcomes, we need to know about student experiences along the way – about teaching, the learning environment, curricula, co-curricular programs, and the kinds of student efforts that lead to particular outcomes.
- By examining these processes we can align our work more effectively with the College's mission and goals.
- Assessment works best when it recognizes that learning is complex and multidimensional, and occurs in a variety of settings.
- Assessment should involve a diverse array of methods, including those that call for objective evidence of student performance, using them over time so as to reveal change, growth, and increasing degrees of integration.
- Assessment works best when it is designed to be meaningful, manageable and sustainable.
- It is embedded into the ongoing work of educating students.
- Clear statements of expected student learning outcomes will guide the design and ongoing review of programs.
- By starting with learning outcomes, programs can intentionally plan meaningful, diverse learning experiences that will lead to student achievement of the outcomes.
- By starting with learning outcomes, programs can embed manageable assessment methods into program design and ongoing review processes.
- The College is committed to an ongoing program of assessment of student learning.
- The College will provide the necessary resources for assessment activities, including professional development for faculty and staff.
- The College supports the integration of assessment with program review, institutional research and planning, and resource allocation.