Assessment Success in the Mathematics Department

Written by Dr. Ashley Nicoloff and Dr. Krysten Pampel

As the department assessment coordinator (DAC), I have the opportunity to help my entire department assess each of their sections in the fall semester and analyze the assessment results in the spring semester. I would like to use this opportunity to share the yearly assessment process that our department goes through.

In the Fall we assess every section taught in the math department using google forms. This means that our 300+ sections of MAT and CSC courses are assessed. The course level assessments that we give are built by the course coordinators and the team of instructors that teach that course. Each assessment is roughly 7 questions in length and is projected to take no more than 15 minutes of class time.

As the faculty are giving the course level assessment through the fall, I as the DAC, record which sections have taken the assessment. I then send out reminder emails about the course level assessment with the number of completed sections so far. Many of the instructors like to use the course level assessment as a quick review near the final which makes me nervous since it always feels like there is less time near the end of the semester. During finals week, I send out the results of the number of sections that took the course level assessment.

In the Spring, I meet with all the course coordinators during the week of accountability to clean and review the data. We also take the opportunity to report the findings of the data if time allows. During the spring semester, the course coordinators meet in person or virtually to discuss the results with their instructional teams and how they want to proceed for next year. Sometimes there are rewrites to an entire course-level assessment, sometimes we change the placement of answer choices, and occasionally we leave everything alone in order to collect more data. I take all the changes that are requested and I update all the course level assessments in digital and google form format.

Before the fall semester, I meet with the course coordinators to have them verify the changes to the course level assessments and ensure that the assessments are ready for responses. This meeting also allows me the opportunity to update them on any changes in assessment for the academic year. This could be anything that I learn from the DAC meetings or something that comes down from the district.

I am very proud of the math department sticking with this assessment cycle and being willing to give up some class time to assess their sections of students. This information has helped us guide instructional moves and department-wide strategies to provide our students at GCC with the best MAT and CSC instruction across all sections we teach. The data we collect also assist the college in keeping the accreditation status with the higher learning commission.


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