College’s Student Learning Assessment

Five Towns College’s Student Learning Assessment Plan

Overview of the Educational Evaluation

The College’s Student Learning Assessment Plan (S.L.A.P.) consists of two major components: (a) one for General Education and (b) another for each Degree Program registered with the New York State Department of Education.

General Education consists of a set of courses that address the essential skills, knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes the faculty and administration deem necessary for any graduate of Five Towns to demonstrate in order to function effectively as an educated citizen in a democratic society. Among these essential General Education skills, knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes are the ability to think critically, to write well, to speak well, to understand cultural diversity, to know how to locate and evaluate the quality of information, to use computers, and to have some understanding of the Scientific Method and quantitative reasoning.

The faculty in each Degree Program offered at Five Towns have also established a set of essential skills, knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes for each of their programs. For example, the B.F.A. in Film/Video requires students wishing to graduate to demonstrate skills and knowledge in Film History, Cinematography, Film/Video Editing, Film/Video Directing, Film/Video Producing, and Script Writing. In order to be awarded a B.F.A. in Film/Video, a student must not only take the required courses in the Film/Video Division that provide instruction in these important areas but demonstrate their ability to meet the Learning Standards in each required area.

Assessment of Student Learning

Principles Underlying the College’s Student Learning Assessment Plan

Five Towns College has formulated its SLAP based upon a number of principles. These principles were designed to assist in both the development and the implementation of the SLAP. They were also intended to make clear the values and guidelines underlying the SLAP. It should be noted that the process of designing and implementing the SLAP began in 2005 and is a dynamic process, not a static one. The SLAP undergoes regular reviews and modifications so that student learning at Five Towns can be constantly improved.

Scope of Student Assessment

  1. 1. The College’s Student Learning Assessment Plan must emphasize the key values, skills, knowledge, abilities, and dispositions essential for not only the General Education Program but for each Program of Study.
  2. Every student will be informed during the semester of the courses and work required for which her/his progress on satisfying a Learning Standard for Proficiencies will be assessed.
  3. Every student enrolled at Five Towns College merits timely feedback on his/her progress in satisfying the Learning Standards for each Proficiency in the General Education Program and in her/his Program of Study.

Administration

  1. The primary role of administrators is to: (a) facilitate for students and faculty knowledge of the College’s SLAP, (b) ensure the collection, storage, and reporting of SLAP data, and (c) oversee the process of making changes based upon SLAP data.
  2. Assessment specialists will provide ongoing individualized and group instruction to faculty and students.
  3. Administrators will ensure that “a culture of assessment” is maintained at the College.

Faculty

  1. The Division faculty are responsible for the development and refinement of the Proficiencies, Learning Standards, Courses, Artifacts, and Rubrics for their particular degree programs.
  2. Changes in the SLAP are the responsibility of Division faculty.
  3. Any instructor teaching a course for which an Artifact is required must ensure that the students are aware of their responsibility to produce the required Artifact, submit the required Artifact to PASS-PORT, if reasonably possible, and apply the appropriate Rubric related to the Proficiency.
  4. The Academic Divisions must review the Student Learning Assessment data.

Student Learning Assessment

  1. Student assessment is “data-driven” and “performance-based.”
  2. Assessment data must reasonably document that a student has attained the College’s Learning Standard for Proficiency.
  3. Assessment data may range from video clips, audio files, rating sheets, and portfolios to PowerPoint presentations, photographs, worksheets, manuscripts, final examinations, etc. Data do not need to be paper-and-pencil-based, e.g., corrected tests, quizzes, and examinations.
  4. Assessment data will be collected during each semester and reported at least annually.
  5. Assessment data ought to promote interrater reliability.
  6. Assessment data should be collected, corrected, stored, and reported as electronically as is feasible.
  7. Assessment data should promote the documentation of growth in student learning.
  8. Learning outcomes are verified by the participation of faculty, who score the artifacts, review assessment reports and examine data. Reports on assessment data are used to support, along with the experience and observations of the faculty and academic leadership, the achievement of learning outcomes.
  9. Standardized tests should only be utilized as Artifacts if College-developed Artifacts are unavailable, unreliable, time-consuming to administer, and/or expensive alternatives.

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Assessment Glossary

A Dictionary of Student Learning Assessment Terms

Artifact: The type of data or information collected, stored and evaluated by faculty for a course in order to demonstrate that a student has fulfilled the Learning Standard for a Proficiency. Artifacts may consist of research papers, projects, film clips, recorded speeches, recitals, final examinations, scripts, compositions and other types of material.

Example: For the General Education Proficiency, “Oral Communication,” Speech #2 is recorded and evaluated in the course SPE 101, Fundamentals of Speech and Speech #6 in SPE 231, Public Speaking. Recently, SPE 131 was added to the list of classes which may produce a speech for Oral Communication. A speech may be used from any other SPE class, as well.

Course: The specific course title and course ID number required for successful completion of a Proficiency in order to demonstrate that an Artifact has met the Learning Standard.

Example: SPE 101, Fundamentals of Speech; MUS 511, Jazz Harmony 1

Learning Standard: The requirements specified in order to fulfill a designated Proficiency. The Learning Standard is written description of knowledge, skill, or disposition necessary to satisfy the designated Proficiency.

Example: For “Oral Communication” the Learning Standard is: “Prepare and deliver a well-organized, content-rich and articulate public presentation with a duration of several minutes.”

Portfolio Template: The PASS-PORT listing of the Mission and Goals of a Degree Program. Also included in the Portfolio Template are all the required Proficiencies, Learning Standards, Courses, and Artifacts for the Degree Program. All matriculating undergraduate students’ learning assessment is governed by the General Education Portfolio Template in addition to their applicable Degree Program Portfolio Template and Concentration Portfolio Template. Graduate students’ learning assessment is governed only by the Degree Program Portfolio Template and, when appropriate, the Concentration Portfolio Template.

Examples:

MUS.B. JAZZ/COMMERCIAL MUSIC 2018-19

  1. MISSION

Through a common core of technical studies and a foundation for courses in a major area of concentration, the Mus.B. Program in Jazz/Commercial Music develops in students the knowledge, skills and dispositions required of professional musicians, including an integral approach to the study of harmony, melody, rhythm, counterpoint, instrumentation, texture and composition, and the development of proficiencies in writing skills, aural skills, music analysis and reading facility.

  1. LEARNING GOALS & PERFORMANCE STANDARDS:

Graduates of the Mus.B. Program in Jazz/Commercial Music must demonstrate mastery in each of the Proficiencies listed below:

The Performance Standards for these Proficiencies are based upon a Rubric that assesses Artifacts submitted for Proficiencies on a three- (3-) point scale of achievement: (1) “Unacceptable,” (2) “Acceptable,” and (3) “Target.”

EAR TRAINING 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate advanced ear training in the aural recognition and notation of more complex rhythmic and harmonic material, melodic dictation of standard jazz repertoire including bass lines, upper extensions included in modern chord progressions in the major and minor modes, the ability to transcribe contemporary popular music.

 The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

MUS 224, Ear Training 4

The Artifact is:

The Final Examination (MUS 224)

HARMONY 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate the ability to analyze complex chord progressions, construct upper structure triads in six-part voicings and compose melodies in the style of the pieces studied in class with original harmonizations.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

MUS 212 Harmony 4

The Artifact is:

The Final Project (MUS 212)

KEYBOARD 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate keyboard skills through Level Four of the Five Towns College Keyboard Skills Core, including those keyboard proficiencies necessary for realizing lead sheets, performing simple improvisations and learning moderately difficult classical pieces.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

MUS 282, Keyboard Skills 4

The Artifact is:

Final Exam (MUS 282)

SIGHT SINGING 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate advanced training in the sight singing of music that includes the singing of intervals, aural and visual perception of complex rhythmical, contrapuntal and melodic material; with an emphasis on chromaticism, modulating and atonal exercises. Sight reading in additional clefs.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

MUS 222, Sight Singing 4

The Artifact is:

The Final Examination (MUS 222)

Arranging 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate the ability to arrange for woodwind, brass, string, percussion instruments, considering the technical factors relevant to the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic potentials of a performance, including the ability to transpose, and prepare score and parts.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

MUS 314, Arranging

The Artifact is:

Final Project (MUS 314)

Jazz History 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the various historical jazz styles and how they reflect the socio-political events of American culture. Demonstrate the ability to write critiques of contemporary performances utilizing historical context as a reference.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

MUH 302, Jazz History

The Artifact is:

Research Paper (MUH 302)

Form and Analysis 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate the ability to analyze large forms indicating formal divisions, key relationships, and structural cadences including the ability to express this analysis in prose with an assigned piece.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

MUS 218, Form and Analysis

The Artifact is:

The Final Examination (MUS 218)

 

 

Proficiency: A specific skill, area of knowledge, ability, value or attitude designated by the faculty as a required competence for completion of a degree program or for General Education. Proficiency is also referred to as “learning outcome.”

Examples: “Oral Communication,” “Accounting,” “Acting,” “Cinematography,” “Knowledge of the Learner”

Rubric: A classification system for evaluating a student’s performance on an Artifact; the classification consists of three ordered categories with designated numerical identities, a summary word to describe the category, and a standard written evaluation for the category. The standard Rubric used in the College’s SLAP to evaluate Artifacts is typically similar to the following Rubric employed for “Oral Communication:”

“Unacceptable” or “1:” Student has not demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to communicate orally by preparing public presentations that are organized and substantive. Student displays of oral communication skills are characterized by hesitation, either verbally or non-verbally, or the speech was not done. “Acceptable” or “2:” Student demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to communicate orally by preparing public presentations that are organized and substantive. Student displays these abilities most of the time without hesitation both verbally and non-verbally, or the speech was not done by the assigned deadline.

“Target” or “3:” Student demonstrates the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required to consistently communicate orally by preparing and delivering well-organized, content-rich, and articulate public presentations. Student displays these abilities without hesitation both verbally and non-verbally. The speech was done by the assigned deadline.

 

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Graduation Requirements

For a matriculated student to be awarded a degree from Five Towns College, s/he must fulfill a number of basic requirements. These requirements have expanded in the past several years as a result of the College’s new “Student Learning Assessment Plan.”

What follows below are the College’s current graduation requirements:

1. Establishment of matriculation for a degree

2. Completion of the minimum number and distribution of credits required for the particular degree sought

3. A minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average (C.G.P.A.) of 2.0 for undergraduate students and 3.0 for graduate students

4. Settlement of all College financial and other obligations

5. Satisfaction of all General Education Proficiency requirements

6. Satisfaction of all Program Proficiency requirements

7. Filing of an Application for Graduation with the Registrar’s Office and paying the appropriate fee.

Further information on these requirements can be found in the Undergraduate College Catalog.

Every student must realize that the failure to satisfy even one of these requirements may result in either a delay in graduation or failure to graduate. The importance of understanding and fulfilling each requirement is, therefore, paramount.

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The Framework

The Framework for Student Learning Assessment

The College’s SLAP is designed conceptually as a hierarchical structure. At the apex of the Plan is each degree program. Next, each program is categorized by a number of competency areas, termed “Proficiencies.” Each Proficiency designates an important aspect of learning for a particular degree. For the B.F.A. in Film/Video, as previously mentioned, the Proficiency might cover “Cinematography” or the ability to capture images of professional quality, and with these images reflect the mood, vision and goals of the director of the film/video project by controlling composition, lighting and exposure. Each of the Proficiencies required in a Degree Program or for General Education is deemed critical to acquire for any graduating student.

Next in the hierarchical structure is a Learning Standard established for each Proficiency. The Learning Standard indicates the types of specific behaviors or performance expected of a student in a required course in order to demonstrate that a student has been able to minimally meet the level of aptitude required for the Proficiency. Learning Standards are behavioral, objective and measurable so that they do not leave much latitude for variability in an instructor’s judgment of whether a standard has been or has not been met. An example of a “Learning Standard” is that for the Proficiency “Oral Communication.” A student must, according to this standard, “Prepare and deliver a well-organized, content-rich and articulate public presentation with a duration of several minutes.”

In each required course for a Proficiency, a student must provide a specified document, final examination, presentation, research paper, project or other type of material. This material is evaluated by the appropriate division faculty and becomes evidence to determine if the student has met the Learning Standard. The required material to document the attainment of a Learning Standard is referred to as the Artifact. Artifacts are stored electronically in the College’s assessment software for reporting.

Rubrics Uphold Student Evaluations

Rather than evaluating an Artifact with only traditional grades (e.g., “A,” “B”), faculty employ a Rubric. A Rubric is a scaled evaluation tool. It contain categories (currently called “Unacceptable,” “Acceptable,” and “Target”), and each category contains a description of the quality of work that governs the evaluation given. The faculty choose the category that best describes the Artifact. Each category has a numerical value associated, 1 for “Unacceptable,” 2 for “Acceptable,” and 3 for “Target.”

The PASS-PORT Data System

To capture data on student learning, the College utilizes the software program PASS-PORT. PASS-PORT has been specifically designed for student learning assessment and has proven quite successful at individual and program level analysis and reporting. Each newly enrolled student at the College pays a student learning assessment fee that entitles the student to have access to the software, whether or not enrolled at the College, for a specified number of years. The student may renew his or her license with PASS-PORT when notified by the software company, Innovative Learning Assessment Technologies (ILAT, www.ilat.org) that the existing license for use is expiring. Separate training and learning materials on PASS-PORT are provided to students during their years at the College.

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The Process

The Process Established for Student Learning Assessment

Although each academic division at the College may deviate somewhat from the overall student learning assessment process described here, major variations do not usually occur. Therefore, all students admitted to the College enroll in a particular degree program, e.g. Mus.B. Jazz/Commercial Music. Some also enroll in a Concentration within their degree program, e.g., “Audio Recording Technology.”

Every degree program and concentration has its own roster of learning outcomes, Proficiencies, which have a description, the Learning Standard. Each is to be demonstrated during a student’s academic journey through the degree program, generally in an Artifact which will be produced in a particular class. Because modifications to learning outcomes, etc. may be made from one academic year to another, the Portfolio Templates which house this information may be updated annually. Portfolio Templates are usually not changed, except in rare circumstances, during the course of an academic year, and then only at the discretion of the faculty and academic chair.

Once enrolled, a PASS-PORT account is set up for the student. When a student completes a required Proficiency course, the Artifact for the course should be submitted to PASS-PORT electronically by the student. A link to an outside website or electronic portfolio may also be used as the Artifact. In some relatively rare instances, faculty evaluations in the form of critiques or scorecards may be submitted to the SLA staff for processing.

Once the Artifact is uploaded to a student’s account, the Artifact should be submitted for review to the instructor. The instructor will evaluate the Artifact using the designated Rubric for the learning outcome demonstrated by the student work. The student will be able to view evaluation of the Artifact once the instructor has applied the Rubric.

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General Education Requirements

General Education Requirements

General Education requirements apply to all undergraduate students, no matter what their degree program. General Education proficiencies identified in this section are considered by Five Towns, and most other accredited colleges and universities, as skills, knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes essential for anyone awarded a college diploma and deemed “well educated.” These proficiencies concern the abilities to write well, speak well, think critically, appreciate culturally diversity, assess the quality of information, understand the scientific process of inquiry, and demonstrate a working knowledge of computer hardware and software.

General Education 2018-19

  1. MISSION:

The General Education Program is designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in the essential skills and the fundamental values that the faculty seek to inculcate in all undergraduate students. The General Education Program also incorporates the study of values, ethics and diverse perspectives, while fostering an appreciation for the musical and artistic traditions of the College.

  1. LEARNING GOALS & PERFORMANCE STANDARDS:

Graduates of the College must demonstrate mastery in each of the Proficiencies listed below:

The Performance Standards for these Proficiencies are based upon a Rubric that assesses Artifacts submitted to meet these Proficiencies on a three- (3-) point scale of achievement: (1) “Unacceptable,” (2) “Acceptable,” and (3) “Target.”

CRITICAL ANALYSIS & REASONING 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Explain, interpret, analyze and assess in writing selected prose passages to demonstrate the ability to understand successfully the theme, organization, style, evidence and strength of the written arguments presented.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

ENG 102, English Composition 2

The Artifact is:

Research Paper (ENG 102)

DIVERSITY 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Demonstrate in a paper or with a project an understanding of the concept of “Diversity,” a basic knowledge of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and other identity groups, and an appreciation and respect for diverse perspectives and cultures.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

SOC 301, Cultural Diversity or

SOC ___ Any Sociology

The Artifact is:

The Research Paper or Project (SOC 301/SOC ___)

INFORMATION LITERACY 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Identify, locate, evaluate, and utilize reputable sources to support thesis driven writing and cite such sources according to institutional standards.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

ENG 102, English Composition 2

The Artifacts are:

The Research Paper (ENG 102)

ORAL COMMUNICATION 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Prepare and deliver a well-organized, content-rich and articulate public presentation with a duration of several minutes.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

SPE 101, Fundamentals of Speech or

SPE 231, Public Speaking or

Other Speech Class (SPE ___)

The Artifacts are:

Speech #2 (SPE 101) or

Speech #6 (SPE 231) or

Speech (SPE ___)

 

QUANTITATIVE REASONING 2018-19

 

The Learning Standard:

 

In a written test or project employ mathematical methods, whether graphical, symbolic, or numerical to solve real world problems.

 

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

 

MAT ___ Any Math (not developmental)

 

The Artifacts are:

 

Written Test or Project (MAT ___)

 

SCIENTIFIC REASONING 2018-19

 

The Learning Standard:

 

Adhere in a project to a self-correcting system of inquiry, the Scientific Method, which relies upon empirical evidence and testable hypotheses to describe, understand, predict and control natural phenomena.

 

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

 

SCI ___ Any Science (Not SCI 101/103/141)

 

The Artifacts are:

 

Project (SCI ___)

 

TECHNOLOGICAL COMPETENCY 2018-19

 

The Learning Standard:

 

Demonstrate in a course and/or by experience a basic knowledge and use of information technology.

 

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

 

SCI ___, Any Science (Not SCI 101/103/141)

 

The Artifact is:

 

Project (SCI ___)

WRITTEN COMMUNICATION 2018-19

The Learning Standard:

Write clearly and concisely a thesis driven essay supported by evidence and logic with a minimum of spelling, grammar, and syntax errors.

The Learning Assessment is recorded in:

ENG 101, English Composition 1

The Artifacts are:

Essay (ENG 101)

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