The Flint Hills Technical College staff's motivation for assessment of 1) student learning 2) instruction 3) institutional effectiveness and 4) satisfaction is its desire to carry out the mission and philosophy of FHTC. Assessment is a continuous process of evaluation of academic achievement, instructional effectiveness, and customer (both student and external stakeholder) satisfaction.
The goals of assessment include:
FHTC has three ways of measuring student outcomes. These include:
Core abilities are the skills and attitudes that are not unique to any particular occupational field but common to all present and future learning. These characteristics are necessary to ensure success in life and the work place. At FHTC, faculty evaluate and students self-assess on the meeting of expectations for the nine core abilities. They conference once a semester to discuss the students’ current level of meeting expectations and the improvements needed for the students to become more successful.
Program Outcomes are the broad technical knowledge and skills that are unique to each occupational field and program. Programs have outcomes that are differentiated between what is learned at the technical certificate and associate of applied science degree levels. The program outcomes are listed in the FHTC catalog and are distributed to students the first day of class in the course syllabus and/or program handbook.
Course Competencies are the specific knowledge and skills that are unique to each individual course. They are listed on each course syllabus that is distributed to students the first day of class.
FHTC utilizes a wide array of assessment instruments in measuring direct learning, indirect learning and experiential satisfaction. Many of the assessment tools used at FHTC are listed below and include both internal and external instruments to measure student learning, achievement and satisfaction. These tools are used at the course, program and institutional levels.
The next step of the assessment cycle is to utilize results to make necessary improvements. The faculty and staff analyze and assess the results and then respond with a variety of feedbacks, reviews, or action plans on what specifically will be done to make improvements at the course, program and/or institutional levels.
Toward the end of each course, students complete a course assessment which includes 12 items related to course requirements, instructor effectiveness and interaction, presentation of materials and evaluation/grading. Students also have the opportunity to make specific comments about the course. At the end of each semester (after all grades are turned in), faculty analyze the course ratings and comments, filling out one comprehensive feedback form. They state specific action steps to be taken, if necessary, in their next semester’s instruction to make improvements.
Toward the end of academic year, students complete a program assessment which includes 9 items related to the program’s guiding documents, student experiences, program content and facilities/safety issues. Additionally students have the opportunity to make specific comments about the program. At the end of the academic year, program faculty review the ratings and comments together, filling out one Feedback Form for the entire program that states they have analyzed the program’s student responses. They also state specific action steps that will be taken in their next year’s instruction and/or curriculum to make improvements, if applicable.
Each program has a pretest and posttest. In the case of a few programs (general education, Power Plant Technology and Welding Technology), a pretest and posttest is given for each course. The program’s pretest is given at the beginning of the semester as students enter the program. As students complete their technical certificate and/or associate of applied science degree, they are given the same test as a posttest.
At the end of the academic year, program faculty review the results together, looking at both individual student learning gains and individual question results on the posttest. The College has set a minimum benchmark for overall student learning gains as either:
Questions not receiving at least 50% success rate from all participants are re-evaluated for curriculum, instruction or question validity through the posttest feedback form. Program faculty fill out one form for the entire program that states the specific action steps they will take (on any questions below 50%) in their next year’s instruction and/or curriculum to make improvements.
At the beginning of the academic year, all program students in Emporia will complete the inventory which includes more than 70 items related to student centeredness/climate, services available to students, instructional effectiveness/academic support, and safety/security. At the beginning of the following academic year, program faculty collectively review their program results, which have been compiled over the summer by the Director of Library Services, so that each program has a more clear analysis of the results. A response form is completed, stating at least 2 specific action steps the instructors will take in their instruction, curriculum or services to make improvements on items that were identified as “Challenges” for the program.
The assessment efforts at Flint Hills Technical College lead to both a collection and analysis of student data (viewed through a plethora of reports) and the use of the results to continuously improve student learning and satisfaction. The resulting reports are produced both internally and externally and are used to make improvements mainly at the program and institutional levels. Additionally, many of the reports are used by prospective students in gathering data to make decisions about their higher education. The Kansas Board of Regents utilizes many of the reports to advocate for higher education to the state legislature, make resource allocation decisions and to promote the work being done individually and collectively at Kansas public post-secondary institutions.
FHTC provides many assessment resources for its staff. The main campus library has a good variety of books and electronic resources on various assessment practices and tools, which are available for all staff. The Assessment Handbook provides an overview of assessment, some assessment practices and tools used at the course, program and institutional levels, as well as a glossary of common assessment terms.
Several programs have external bodies that exercise authority over their programs, curriculum and/or course deliveries. Automotive Technology, Dental Assisting, and Dental Hygiene must maintain third-party accreditation to offer their programs. Practical Nursing must retain state approval to deliver its program. Emergency Services Technology and Allied Health must receive state approval to offer a number of the individual courses within their programs.
Flint Hills Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of sex including pregnant and parenting students, sexual orientation, handicap, race, color, age, religion, marital status, or national or ethnic origin in educational programs, admissions policies, employment policies, financial aid or other College-administered programs. For questions or concerns regarding non-discrimination contact the Director of Human Resources at 620.343.4600.