Des Moines Area Community College
ACT Collegiate Assessment of Academic Progress (CAAP)
Assessment of student learning at DMACC has always been and will always be focused at the course level. Course assessment data in the hands of faculty is the single most powerful tool instructors have in crafting their teaching to affect student learning.
Course level assessment data is also being used to help determine how well DMACC students overall are learning our core curriculum competencies. CAAP is being used to supplement our overall assessment of student learning of these core competencies.
In fall 2008, a sample of courses most likely to be taken just prior to graduation was selected for the reading and critical thinking CAAP assessments. Instructors volunteered one period of class time to administer the tests. Results were tabulated by ACT with data and summative reports returned to DMACC.
The chart below shows how DMACC faired when compared to a national sample of similar CAAP assessed students. Two types of results were returned to DMACC, scaled scores and percent below. Percent below is the percent of national sophomore test takers scoring at or below the matching scaled score. Though scaled scores give the appearance of little difference between comparative groups, the percent below score shows what small differences in scaled score have in relative peer performance.
In short, DMACC Sophomores scored at or above the 53rd percentile for both tests. As expected, DMACC Freshmen scored well below the 50th percentile. Freshmen were identified as having zero credits prior to the term of the test. Students with between 30 and 60 credits were identified at Sophomores. In addition to being above the 50th percentile nationally, we are able to see healthy gains in percentile rank as students progress from Freshman to Sophomores at DMACC.
Students, on average, begin their DMACC careers reading at about the 44th percentile for community college sophomores nationally, but by the time they are Sophomores, they have ascended to the the 53rd percentile. Students average a 9 percentile point increase during their DMACC careers. Similarly for critical thinking, students begin at the 44th percentile and ascend to the 55th percentile with a percentile rank increase of 9.
Assessment of student learning is designed as a web of evidence to prove to ourselves and our stakeholders that our students are learning both the information and skills necessary to be successful in future academic and work endeavors. If you have questions about the CAAP Assessment or would like more information, please contact:
Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Assistant to the President