Putting the “Student” in Student Learning Outcomes

The grant focused on student engagement with the assessment process and students’ progress toward meeting the program and course level learning outcomes. Research into the level of student engagement represents a viable addition to assessment activities already being conducted at the program level. Assessment tools were developed (initial and final survey instruments) and a pilot study was conducted to determine the level of student engagement and understanding of the assessment process.

Two faculty researchers surveyed students in three classes to determine student familiarity with the connection between program level student learning outcomes and the course goals for the BS Computer Science degree. The preliminary results of this project are promising so the researchers believe that:

  1. Students can, and should be, engaged in assessing their own progress toward achieving the program level learning outcomes.
  2. Faculty can and must ensure that they view the role of each course in helping students progress toward the program level student learning outcomes. 

Additional steps are needed before long term conclusions can be made from these preliminary results.  The survey instruments will be updated and used in AY 2013-14. Results will be shared with Computer Science (the faculty researchers' academic department) and the Departmental Assessment Committee will be encouraged to adopt this approach to its overall plan for program level assessment.  The survey instruments will also be shared with faculty at other institutions to compile additional data. Click here to see sample survey instruments and a table of the survey results. For additional information, please contact Henry A. Etlinger @ hae@cs.rit.edu.