SHERIDAN — At its regular monthly board meeting Thursday night the board was updated on the Student Learning Assessment by Jon Connolly, vice president for academic affairs. One highlight of the data was the significant difference in learning between men and women.
Connolly said while grades have traditionally been viewed as a measure of student learning, it is often inadequate to identify what students really learn and understand in the classroom.
“The problem with that tradition (grades) is that it has no detail,” Connolly explained. “We really do have to ask the question, ‘How do I know as an instructor or institution that students are learning what I think they are learning?’ There are a lot of models that can give that information.”
Connolly gave results to the board on the past two semesters of data, fall 2012 and spring 2012, and explained how the assessment works. Using a rubric, that faculty members can grade a student’s work against, the model provides data on whether a student is adequately learning, as well as giving information on performance of full-time versus adjunct faculty, impact of class size on learning, learning rates between men and women and more.
“Women are learning more, 83 percent to 77 percent (for men),” Connolly said. “It is consistent every semester. This comports with the national data as well. We really do need to have a conversation at this institution about that.”
Connolly added that the results are statistically significant.
“It isn’t by chance, it isn’t by luck,” he said.
Connolly said all the information collected is shared with faculty and that changes and improvements to the rubric model will continue in future years. However, data already collected can be used by faculty now.
“It is being shared with them so they can make changes,” he said. “That is continuous quality improvement and that is what we are trying to do here.”
In other business, the NWCCD board gave approval for nominating Trustee Walter Wragge to a committee position on the national Association of Community College Trustees. The letter, along with Wragge’s application, will request that he be considered for an appointment to one of three national committees within the organization.
“I am a person that likes to become fully engaged in whatever I do,” said Wragge. “I feel with my prior service on WACC (Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees) it seems the next logical step would be to seek a position on a national committee, to keep our local board informed and also our state board informed on what is happening on the national level.”
Wragge also agreed at the meeting to take over a position on the Advocacy Committee of the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees. NWCCD Chair Kati Sherwood is resigning from her position on the committee due to time constraints.