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Instructional Outcomes Assessment

What students learn at the College of Southern Idaho is central to subsequent educational, career, and personal success. It’s key to life satisfaction, to economic competitiveness and productivity, and to building healthy and civically engaged communities. We take this responsibility very seriously and believe that the stakes have never been higher in terms of making sure CSI graduates acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success in all they do.

Our system of instructional outcomes assessment exists to measure learning in our courses and programs. It is our intent to operate in a continuous improvement model where our assessments inform innovative and creative ways to improve teaching and learning to meet the needs of all students at the College of Southern Idaho.

About Assessments

Assessment Definition
Assessment is a purposeful, systematic, and collaborative process for documenting what students have learned and how their knowledge and skills have grown. It is a deliberate course of action that defines expected student achievement in terms of learning outcomes and measures actual student achievement using predetermined internal standards and external benchmarks. Our goal for assessment is a continuous cycle of instructional improvement.  
Assessment Philosophy
While assessment is a natural and ongoing component of the instructional process, and evaluating the effectiveness of instruction is a faculty responsibility that is necessary for the improvement and verification of learning, ALL members of the institution share responsibility for student learning during their tenure at the College.

Continuous improvement of instruction is a collective enterprise where the success of instructional units depends upon the organized support and cooperation of others. The College is dedicated to providing faculty with assistance in the development of instructional outcomes, assessment processes, and in the revision of instructional practices that may follow from outcomes assessment.

The process of assessing instructional outcomes is a means to an end, that end being improved instruction. As part of assuming the professional responsibility that goes with teaching, faculty identify, design, and implement specific instructional outcomes assessments. The results, once analyzed, form the base for instructional improvements that positively influence student learning.

Instructional outcomes assessment is neither precise nor perfect, and its data are interpreted with that in mind. It is a way of thinking about the quality that comes from our willingness to continually examine, question, and, as necessary, alter what we do as an educational institution.

In no instance are the results of instructional outcomes assessment used in a punitive manner, either in reference to students or to personnel. A climate of cooperation and focused effort to improve should permeate the assessment process. Such an atmosphere relieves anxiety and allows everyone to approach both instructional and program assessment with open and creative minds.

Instructional outcomes assessment provides feedback that allows people to strengthen and improve the educational process in ways that promote more appropriate, more extensive, and/or higher-level learning.
Assessment Activities

Course Level Assessment 

Course level assessment is coordinated within individual departments by department chairs who work with faculty to develop appropriate student learning outcomes, conduct annual assessments, and implement continuous improvements to courses. The Center for Instructional Excellence assists departments in continuous improvements at the course level by working with department chairs to take the results of the assessment and provide support to close instructional gaps. 

Program Level Assessment 

Program level assessment occurs annually via a program review process that is mandated by the state. Assessment within instructional programs is coordinated by the department chair or program manager in charge of the particular program. The specific tools used for program-level student learning assessment vary by department. In some cases, outcomes align with industry certification exams and/or national technical skills assessments, allowing those tools to be used to measure student learning. Results are stored in Canvas and used to communicate with deans to influence budgetary decisions, personnel hiring, and program improvement. 

State level Assessment 

State level assessment, which on our campus is known as "Way of Knowing" Assessment, also occurs annually during assessment week. The seven “Ways of Knowing,” more commonly thought of as general education disciplines, are categories defined by the Idaho State Board of Education. General education faculty representatives from each of Idaho’s public colleges and universities created and are responsible for maintaining Way of Knowing student learning outcomes and associated rubrics. Way of Knowing assessment teams at CSI review assignments and artifacts from courses taught in a Way of Knowing area to ensure that outcomes are met and thereby that curricula are consistent throughout the state.

General Education Assessment 

General education assessment takes place yearly and is coordinated by the Chair of General and Liberal Studies. All faculty who teach a general education course are expected to participate, including high school dual credit instructors. Under guidelines provided by the General Education Program Assistant, faculty submit assignments and student artifacts that support our larger general education goals of Think, Communicate, Connect, and Be Well. These submissions are collected in portfolios and assessed by teams of readers. Assessment results are used to reflect on the value and relevance of our General Education program and goals and to encourage continuous improvement of instruction to meet those goals. 

Assessment Committees

Instructional Assessment Committee

The Instructional Assessment Committee oversees college-wide assessment and provides feedback on the entire process. This group plans and implements Assessment Week under the direction of appropriate instructional administration.

For questions about the Instructional Assessment Committee please contact Tiffany Seeley-Case at tseeley@csi.edu or 208-732-6779.

General Education Review Committee

The General Education Review Committee oversees the approval of general education courses, reviews the general education course curriculum, and guides the general education assessment process. 

For questions about the General Education Review Committee please contact Whitney Smith-Schuler at wsmith@csi.edu or 208-732-6844.

Way of Knowing Assessment Groups

The Way of Knowing Assessment Groups meet annually to review the state-developed discipline area objectives.

For questions about the Way of Knowing Assessment Groups please contact Tiffany Seeley-Case at tseeley@csi.edu or 208-732-6779.