Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Philosophy
NIC is committed to student learning outcomes assessments that are organic, faculty-driven and grounded in current best practices that maximize constructive collaboration and student success.
Our Guiding Principles:
- Positive Change: Course and teaching improvement leads to an increase in Educational Excellence and Student Success, core values at North Idaho College.
- Academic freedom: Instructors choose assessment and grading scales. Student data is kept at the level of instruction.
- Meaningful Practice: Gathering data as a stand-alone activity is insufficient in and of itself; assessment data needs to be discussed and used to inform instruction.
The SLOA Committee is committed to fostering a positive culture of assessment on campus. The committee firmly believes that faculty-driven assessments are the most effective means to create a positive assessment culture.
Our assessment process allows faculty to participate and engage in the creation of the assessment instruments and to best decide what instruments will work to measure their course and program outcomes, all within a Canvas-based, systematic assessment data entry structure.
General Education Matriculation (GEM) and Program Assessment are the two primary systematic assessment processes that we use on campus to collect data on student learning outcomes across programs and the general education curriculum.
A lot of the work that SLOA helps initiate across campus is quite qualitative, descriptive and ultimately introspective: assessment discussions and practices, at their best, get faculty members, departments and divisions to look closely at the things they teach, at how well students are or are not learning and to ask (sometimes quite tough) questions about what we might need to change in our classroom or curricular practices. That is what outcomes assessment is really about.
Our discussions about our expectations for students, our course content, our pedagogy and how our teaching reflects and supports the mission of NIC are just as, if not more, important than the raw data itself. The numbers just give us a starting place for these vital conversations about teaching and learning.
SLOA is directly connected to student success and educational excellence at NIC.
Assessment of student learning outcomes at NIC provides information that shows the degree to which the educational outcomes of the college’s programs and general educational areas are being met. NIC identifies and publishes expected learning outcomes for each of its General Education Matriculation (GEM) areas and for its degree and certificate programs, as well as for many of its support services programs.
NIC’s GEM Assessment and Program Assessment processes produce disaggregated data dashboards that are then studied by faculty to reveal any equity gaps in student performance. From there, faculty and division chairs consider actions to take; they analyze the data, discuss it in detail and plan for changes or for ways to provide other resources to address (and close) these equity gaps.
SLOA also provides professional development and leadership opportunities for faculty to be engaged in the work of student learning outcomes assessment through attending speaker series and curriculum mapping workshops, as well as through invitations for faculty to lead general education assessment workshops.
The SLOA Committee maintains a five-year assessment plan to guide the assessment of NIC’s GEM courses and to provide support for Program Outcomes Assessment, which informs the program review process. The SLOA plan contains goals and a timeline for the implementation of assessment projects. The plan is updated on an annual basis in response to the discussions it fosters. SLOA activities are monitored and updated in an annual evaluation of the committee’s goals.
SLOA Committee Membership
- Laura Godfrey, Associate Professor of English (Co-Chair)
- Gail Ballard, Associate Professor of Education and Interim Associate Dean of Instruction, Academic Support and Office of Instruction (Co-Chair)
- Ashley Lockman, Associate Professor of Communication
- Dwayne Huff, Assistant Professor of Music
- John Gardunia, Idaho Consortium for Physical Therapist Assistant Education Program Director/Assistant Professor - Health Professions Division
- Dean Miles, Associate Professor - Business Management/Entrepreneurship
- Susanne Bromley, Professor, Math, Computer Science and Engineering Division
- Laurie Olson-Horswill, Professor, English and Humanities Division
- Lisa Radke, Reference and Instruction Librarian
- Julie Van Middlesworth, Associate Professor, Environmental Science and Geology
- Paul Manzardo, Division Chair and Professor of Physical Education, Dance and Resort/Recreation Management
- Nicole Willms, Assistant Professor of Sociology
- Sherry Simkins, Dean of Instruction, General Studies
- Thomas Scott, Director of eLearning
- Ken Wardinsky, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology
- Chris Brueher, Institutional Data Analyst, Planning and Effectiveness
- Steve Kurtz, Accreditation Liaison Officer, Interim Director of Planning and Effectiveness