Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

The Collaborative

Oregon joined with eight other states in 2014-2015 to pilot a method for assessing essential student learning outcomes in the context of regular instruction, using work faculty and students are already doing to determine whether students nearing graduation have achieved competency in these areas. PCC was accepted as one of the pilot two-year institutions for this project.

The Project

  • Work was collected from students who were 75% of the way through their intended degree (associate's or bachelor's) as of fall 2014, across a wide variety of programs and disciplines (both LDC-transfer and Career/Technical Education), and evaluated by a multi-state panel using the rubrics developed by faculty via the AAC&U LEAP project.
  • A key feature was that the assignments used, and the work collected from students, were not “extra,” but embedded in the normal flow of teaching and learning.
  • Written Communication and Quantitative Literacy were the essential learning outcomes selected as the focus for the pilot. A third, Critical Thinking, was optional. There was an expectation that student achievement of these core competencies is cumulative, developed over time as students progress toward their degrees, and not exclusive to their courses in, say, writing and mathematics. By focusing on students closer to graduation, we hoped to determine how their learning was shaped by the whole collection of courses they have taken.

Who was eligible to participate?

Any faculty member who had an assignment that addressed Written Communication, Quantitative Literacy, or Critical Thinking that could be evaluated via its corresponding rubric.

LEAP VALUE Rubrics for:

What were the benefits of participating?

  • Inclusion in professional development workshops on assessment; specifically, effective use of rubrics (assignment development, norms, scoring, and analysis).
  • Opportunity to participate in scoring student work at PCC, as well as possibly being selected (and funded to attend) the multi-state scoring event. 
  • First-hand access to results pertaining to PCC (not available to other institutions)--for comparison with the Oregon and multi-state results. Are we interpreting these rubrics and competency levels the same way as others across the country?

What were the responsibilities of participants?

  • Develop or revise an existing assignment to increase the likelihood that student work would reflect multiple elements of the chosen outcome as expressed in the LEAP rubrics.
  • Use the assignment fall term 2014, for all students in one or more assigned courses, as part of the regular curriculum (i.e., this was not supposed to be an “extra credit” assignment). By the end of fall term, participants were asked to submit the work of students who met the selection criteria. The individual assignments collected were called "student artifacts."
  • Send a sample of their assignment, an Assignment Cover Sheet, an answer/convention key if applicable, and assessment artifacts (Word documents, PDFs, or hard copies) to the Office of Academic Affairs on or before Friday, December 12. Early submissions were encouraged and appreciated. All identifying information was removed before the artifacts were submitted to the national MSC project. The redaction process was necessarily time consuming to ensure anonymity of all students, instructors, courses, and institutions.


If you have questions or would like to learn more about the pilot and PCC's involvement, please contact Kendra Cawley: kcawley@pcc.edu

To learn more about the Multi-State Collaborative, please visit: http://www.sheeo.org/projects/multi-state-collaborative-msc-advance-learning-outcomes-assessment