Using Assessment Results to Make Decisions

A wide variety of evidence-based decisions have been made at Ithaca College as a result of the information gained through assessment.

Some examples of those decisions based on assessment undertaken during academic year 2014-15 are noted below.

  • Economics majors are adding a thesis preparation course and are adding quantitative literacy specific assignments in principles of microeconomics and macroeconomics courses.
  • Education graduate programs continue to see an upward trend on their candidates' performance due to more intentional infusion of technology into their coursework and the revised Educational Technology course.
  • The department of biology uses representative exam questions taken at all course levels to assess student understanding of fundamental concepts in biology. The department has noted that over the last two assessment cycles, students in lower-level courses did not succeed at the same level as students in upper-level courses. In the 15-16 assessment cycle, the department clarified the assessment standards and assessed all lower- and upper-level biology courses, and again found that in the lower-level courses, a slightly lower percentage of students are meeting the learning outcomes. This indicates that more students early in their career are less prepared and fewer are able to meet the Student Learning Outcomes even at lower levels of expectation. In contract, at the upper-level courses, students are able to meet the Student Learning Outcomes at the more advanced expectations. To address student weaknesses at the beginning of their careers, the department implemented an outreach and support program for incoming students, initiated in academic year 2016-2017. The department will analyze this program for impact upon the student's success, as well as through the metric of introductory/intermediate level assessment in future years.
  • In the Athletic Training program 100% of students did not achieve a "B" pass mark or better in one area. Additionally 18% of students failed this modulate indicating that not all of our graduating students are depend competent in this domain of entry-level practice. Based on findings, faculty realized that they need to emphasize some of the finer details as they relate to the evaluation and management of exertional hyperthermia if we hope to be confident with our students' ability to manage this potentially fatal condition. Specifically, we need to re-assert the proper facts and findings related to the presentation of exertion heat illness so that diagnostic accuracy and certainty improve (improved recognition and evaluation, which leads to better management decisions), and to further clarify the evidence informed policy regarding the management of exertion heat stroke patients. At a minimum, all of our students need to definitively know that patients suspected of succumbing to exertion heat stroke should have their vitals, core temperature, and central nervous system function assessed, be immediately immersed in full body cold water after that assessment, and should not be transported until the core temporature has reached 102 degrees. It is important to note that this group of students did not take the new Acute Care in Athletic Training class, which was part of the last curriculum edits a few years ago. Also, as the National Athletic Training Association position statement o fexertional heat illnesses was not published until 2015, the specific evidence informed details surround heath stroke policy was not part of our formal education in our "Advanced Prevention & Care" class. Our new Active Care in Athletic Training class is now covering all emergency medicine competencies as noted in relevant National Athletic Training Association statements, including heat illnesses.
  • In 2014-15, the Health Center assessed student learning as a result of participation by Athletic Traiing students in a brief internship experience in the Health Center. The assessment pointed out that Athletic Training students are accustomed to working only with the student athlete population. Another important aspects of this general medical rotation is that the Athletic Training students are interesting with a much more diverse patient population, and therefore, it is important to assess their ability to establish a respectful relationship with each patient and to reflect upon how personal preferences, cultures, or values may impact diagnosis and treatment options. Therefore, they will further refine their assessment project to include the following learning outcomes:
    • At the conclusion of 10 hours of observation, students will gain an appreciation for diverse patient populations an dhow personal preferences, cultures, or values may impact diagnosis and treatment options. Students will be able to articulate how assessment, diagnosis and treatment were influenced by patient and/or family medical and social histories.
    • During the 10 hours of observation, students will demonstrate the ability to establish respectful and open relationships with a diverse patient population. Students will demonstrate the ability to obtain a comprehensive medical history, and will have an appreciation for how recognizing individual preferences, values, and sensitivities can impact the patient/provider relationship.
  • Data in the Office of Student Engagement and Multicultural Affairs, particularly the Student Leadership and Involvement area, has been used to fine tune training programs for student leaders. For example, alternative spring break student participant-leaders undergo a significant training program that was assessed. The assessment made it apparent that many of the students could benefit from additional training and simulation in the processing of service learning trip activities. To ensure better success in upcoming years an additional meeting with the participant leaders will be held to review facilitation guidelines, learn best practices in community service facilitation and role play reflection scenarios.
  • The department of journalism modified the structure and delivery of their Fall 2016 Introduction to Journalism course into a single large lecture with breakout sections baed, in part, on their discussions around assessment in 2015-16. Early indications through 2016-17 and into 2017-18, by way of feedback to the School's assessment committee, indicate the success of this measure, and further formal assessment will occur throughout the assessment cycle to provide more conclusive data in closing the loop.
  • Within the School of Music the Keyboard Musicianship area (performance studies) has revised the improvisation and sight-reading components of the curriculum and the Student Learning Outcomes for Music History (in the Theory, history, and composition department) have been revised.

Additional examples can be found in our Middle States report [provide link here once report is public] as submitted in the Fall 2017 semester. Links to Departmental State of Assessment Reports are linked from the report.