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Longitudinal Student Achievement Data and Overview of Assessing Student Learning Outcomes
Longitudinal Student Achievement Data
The college collects student achievement data, including: transfer; transfer ready, degrees and certificates completed, student retention, student persistence, and graduation rates. The college has not had the resources to systematically track the success of vocational students post graduation.
The college collected its own data on its students between Fall 1991 and Spring 1997. Since 1991, the college collected data on number of units attempted vs. number of units earned, course completion, by first-time students, ethnic groups, gender, matriculation status, disability and financial aid status. In 1997, the college began receiving and using student outcome data from the Chancellor's Office including the success and persistence rates among Basic Skill Students, transfer students and vocational students.
In addition, the college has completed two specific research projects. In Spring 2000, the college prepared a report that looked at the success of the first-time students based upon data from 1997 through Spring 2000. Furthermore, in Spring 2001, the college prepared a report of student success by course and division for all academic deans based upon Fall 2000 data. The college receives and distributes data on the success of students after transfer based upon the information received from CSU and UC.
Overview of Assessing Student Learning Outcomes
The staff and the college are training itself how to develop more systematic measures of student outcomes in both instruction and student services. The college is participating in educational activities as part of our own learning process in how to effectively conduct student learning outcome research. For example, the college sent a team to one of the first training sessions (approximately two years ago) conducted by the commission with respect to the new accreditation standards. The team consisted of the President, Executive Vice President of Student Learning, several Deans, the Academic Senate President and Vice President, member of the Senate Council and the campus Enrollment Management Specialist (Classified Position). In the Fall 2003, the campus hosted Dr. Vincent Tinto on a mandatory flex day activity to address the entire campus with respect to student learning outcomes. More recently, Spring 2004, Ventura College hosted the Learning Outcomes Assessment Conference in which the college had representatives in all of the four break- out sessions. Additionally, student services representatives participated in a nation-wide audio conference focused on the integration of learning outcomes between instruction and student services.
Ventura College is eager to apply the methods of measuring student outcomes through the student learning outcome activities from 2003-2004. One example of this application was in the college wide One Book/One Campus Program described in detail in Standard II A,1.b. Based on student surveys, more than 46% of the students indicated that the "One Book" experience helped them to understand what they were learning in their classes. Research from the second year of the One Book/One Campus Program suggests that students who participated in this multi-modality learning experience had the perception of enhanced learning outcomes in their classes as well as improved understanding of the Viet Nam era (the selected book's theme).
Ventura College assesses the strength of student learning and institutional performance through an array of institutional research and traditional student outcome measures. As with most community colleges, one of the dominant means to evaluate student effectiveness and institutional efficiency is to gather tabular information on student accomplishments. Some of the standard pieces of information for review include: graduation rates, student attrition rates, course persistence, average unit load, and transfer rates, etc. In addition, the college routinely assesses student enrollment information to determine course vitality, student demand, and course level accuracy to meet student needs. Student scholastic performance is evaluated based on the enforcement of the college's academic and progress probation policies. Students who are experiencing substandard academic progress or grade deficiencies are provided with counselor intervention services and alerted to avenues to improve their academic standing.
Ventura College realizes that it has varying stages of creating and assessing student learning outcomes at many levels-course, program and degree-and is in the initial stages of establishing a campus wide research effort. However, over sixty-two institutional research studies targeted to student services alone have been gathered for accreditation display in Standard 1 of this Self Study Report.
This fall (2004), meetings of department chairs, chaired by the Executive Vice President of Student Learning, will be expanded to include broader faculty groups and will be used to apply specific student learning outcome research for the 2004-2005 academic year. The VCCCD Institutional Researcher has committed time to support this campus effort/project.
In summation, the college is in the process of collecting all institutional effectiveness data in one area as part of its college wide research efforts.