Case Study

Curriculum Maps — Planning for Future Assessment Practices

Aultman College of Nursing and Health Sciences is a health-system affiliated institution of higher learning with a goal of preparing exceptional health care professionals who positively impact society.  Aultman College is located in Canton, Ohio, approximately one hour from Cleveland and Youngstown.

The College is affiliated with Aultman Hospital, Stark County’s largest hospital and winner of numerous quality and value awards, including Magnet designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center.  Aultman Hospital serves a five-county area with Centers of Excellence in heart, cancer, neurosurgery, maternity, orthopedics and emergency and trauma care. Fall 2016 college enrollment is projected to be close to 400.

The Challenge

Initially, assessment practices for general learning outcomes at Aultman College were very basic. Each instructor simply needed to reflect on one course each semester and how one of their course-level student learning outcomes aligned with at least one of the college’s core abilities (aka, general learning outcomes). Previously this was accomplished with an internally created report form; at the end of each fall and spring semester faculty submitted the forms to the Institutional Research and Assessment Coordinator, Shannon Helfinstine, Ph.D.  Over time, it was apparent that Shannon needed a way to centralize this data, determine course outcome alignment with the core abilities, and conduct a thorough assessment at the institutional level.

The Solution

Tk20 curriculum maps, which are most often used for planning outcome alignment with courses and to identify gaps in the curriculum, met Shannon’s needs. The curriculum map also has faculty feedback functionality. This feature allows faculty members to provide narratives related to program outcomes aligned to a curriculum map. After creating the map to identify the level and priority of assessment (emphasis) in each course, Shannon then attached a customized Tk20 feedback form to collect information on the core abilities within the course sections from her faculty. In May 2015, Shannon held several Tk20 feedback form training sessions – first with academic assessment committee members, and then with all full-time faculty members (20 personnel trained in total).

Shannon was able to utilize the Curriculum Map Faculty Feedback custom report to aggregate program results at the push of a button. Using Tk20 dramatically cut her work time by centralizing the data and results. Since last year, Aultman College also implemented juried assessments, which added a much needed extra dimension for institution-level core ability assessment. Using the program curriculum maps as a guide, courses with a level of emphasis are identified as good candidates for core ability juried assessments. The levels noted in the curriculum maps provide built-in goals against which the juried assessments are scored.

The Win

After the May 2015 training session, faculty successfully entered course-level core ability assessment data for both fall 2014 and spring 2015; they continued doing so with little to no re-training during the 2015-16 year. Tk20 Planning Reports allow Shannon to observe the centralized data with minimal work. She can easily observe which core abilities are being assessed most commonly, determine if the courses are meeting the desired core ability achievement levels, and disseminate data quickly and easily to programs upon request. Based on these results, Shannon continues to use the data extracted from Tk20 for ongoing and future assessment planning.

Aultman College will continue using the Tk20 curriculum map feedback forms for course-level assessment, and now juried assessments for college-level assessment of the core abilities. Curriculum maps extended the ability to demonstrate how and where outcomes are emphasized and measured across the college. The Tk20 Planning Reports will provide evidence supporting the College’s 2016 HLC Standard Pathway Year Four Assurance Argument.