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November 28, 2017


APRIL Project Uses Assessment to Improve Student Learning

Three Rivers College recently completed a three-year project known as Assessment and Program Review to Improve Learning (APRIL). APRIL uses a holistic approach to assessment processes that is designed to improve student learning college-wide.

The newly created assessment plan ensures broad-based faculty involvement through a redesigned student learning assessment methodology that includes the program review process for the college. APRIL was initially commissioned by the Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, Dr. Maribeth Payne. Payne said, “A key role of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness is to facilitate processes to ensure Three Rivers College remains in compliance with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), its regional accreditor.”

"One of the things we are now required to do to maintain accreditation as an institution of higher education is to produce a quality initiative every five years," Payne said. “APRIL was accepted at the HLC October Results Forum. This is all in preparation of our decennial HLC accreditation visit in April 2018."

“APRIL is allowing instructors to better ensure that what they teach is what the students need to learn,” said Dr. Justin Hoggard, Dean of Instruction and APRIL team leader. Other members of the APRIL team are Michelle Lane, Assessment Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness; and Department Chairs Dr. Staci Foster, Dr. Dan Lauder, and Nicole Sifford.

Changes resulting from the APRIL project have made the data collected on student learning outcomes more accurate, relevant, and meaningful. The Student Learning Improvement Committee (SLIC) was established to interpret that data, encourage collaboration among the faculty, and explore innovative methods to improve student learning.

In addition, the College revised its program review process to improve program alignment, relevance, and the viability of college programs. Dr. Dan Lauder said, “APRIL has allowed the instructors to better align what they teach with what the students need to learn.”

Dr. Foster said, "We've been able to roll out data assessment collection in a way that the faculty are engaged in the process, and now we're in the process of instituting meaningful change based on this data."

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