As part of the Instruction Team, the Research and Institutional Effectiveness (RIE) Office supports the mission of the college by providing accurate, timely, and reliable information to respond to the research needs of the various institutional constituencies. It engages in and supports processes for determining and documenting the effectiveness of programs and services and the institution as a whole in order to foster continuous quality improvement. RIE encourages a collaborative inquiry approach to research projects.
Office: Bldg. 4 Room 2435
Phone: (909) 274-4109
Recent Research Projects (last updated December 1, 2014)
The following is a brief sampling of some research and planning projects that our team completed. While our listing of projects each year is already filled with mandatory projects (e.g., IPEDS) we are also fortunate to have time to spend with faculty and administrators to answer their questions on their programs and services in order to improve student success and time to degree/transfer.
Barbara McNeice-Stallard, Director
The past six months were devoted to student equity, accreditation, planning, and basic skills research. This past summer and into the fall, I worked closely with the Student Equity Committee and the RIE department to ensure that both our time-on-task and our vision for equity aligned with the Committee Members' needs. This work required that all of RIE contributed to one or more pieces of the Student Equity Plan. It required a lot of research capacity as well as planning. Turning to accreditation, I am a pivotal team member of a work group that aligns its work with the Accreditation Steering Committee. We provided our first training for the more than 100 people on the Writing Teams for the fall 2016 ACCJC self-evaluation report. Using a collaborative model of inclusion, we created our framework based on our 2010 Accreditation Lessons Learned findings from numerous forums and focus group type meetings. Moving to planning, I was part of two teams that re-reviewed the College's Strategic Plan and improved upon its breadth and depth. Taking on a research-directive focus, my basic skills work allowed the Basic Skills Coordinating Committee to replicate the RP Group's work from Peter Bahr on categorizing both colleges and students. Collaborating with Citrus and Pasadena Colleges, our Team determined that the Bahr work did not align well with noncredit students' enrollment patterns. We presented on this topic at an national conference and wrote a chapter for a book on Latino students that we hope will be accepted for publication. W e continue to work with Mt. SAC's Continuing Education Division to help them, as needed, in their exceptional work improving academic achievements for their students (e.g., database review).
Maria Tsai, Senior Research Analyst
One important project that I have worked on this year was the Pathways to Transfer program. Funded by the Basic Skills Initiative Committee and a private donor, this program helps participating students who placed in remedial levels in English writing and math complete the sequences to college level courses in less time within a learning community environment. Findings from our first year report of this program show very positive impact on student progression in comparison to a non-pathways group. When surveyed, participating students were highly satisfied with the program. Other main projects that I had accomplished for the past six months include: (1) two Disproportionate Impact studies on California Chemistry Diagnostic Test (CCDT) and Mt. SAC MATH Placement Test (Level 1) as part of college’s effort to seek approval from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office for chemistry and basic math placement; (2) data preparation for ACCJC Annual Report and Mt. SAC data from prior four years to assist college on setting institutional set standards; (3) data preparation for the National Science Foundation -Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (NSF-STEP) project final annual data collection; (4) Assessment of Written English (AWE) Pilot Study that shows preliminary results of the impact of rubric revision on placed course success; and (5) Student Equity research projects that the Research Office worked as a team to supply data from various sources and served on writing teams.
Starting September 2014, I have been reassigned to focus on Student Services projects. Currently I am working on projects with High School Outreach and Achieving in College, ensuring Success program (ACES), a federal TRIO Student Support Services program. I provided multiple reports to High School Outreach for them to share with the local high school districts about their students at Mt. SAC.
Annel Medina, Educational Research Assessment Analyst
Since joining Mt. SAC, I have focused on outcomes assessment, research requests (course and success data), survey projects for institution wide and program improvement, as well as data requests from external audiences. My completed projects include designing, conducting, and analyzing a variety of surveys (for example, future employment and/or educational plans of Mt. SAC graduates and a follow up alumni survey conducted annually after students have finalized degree completion). The results of these surveys are also used for accreditation purposes. I recently completed a research request that looked at course success data for a rewards program for language learning lab students. In addition, I collaborate with the Outcomes Committee regularly to assess its courses and provide them with feedback. This includes the revision of Institutional Learning Outcomes currently being revamped to include a connection across course and program outcomes.
Lisa DiDonato, Educational Research Assessment Analyst (AANAPISI and Title V Grants)
Two objectives of the new Title V grant at Mt. SAC are to decrease the rate at which students place into developmental Math and English. Implementing math and English refresher workshops for students before they take their placement tests are activities outlined in the grant to address these objectives. During the summer 2014 term a small math refresher pilot project of Arise students was held. This project not only allowed the Math Department as well as the Title V grant the opportunity to give this type of project a trial run, but it also benefitted the AANAPISI grant objective of improving the rate at which their students pass sequential basic skills courses. The results of this first trial refresher boot camp are encouraging. I just completed an analysis of this project and found that although 79% of the students who participated in the boot camp had previously taken the math placement test, only 18% had taken a math class. After the boot camp, 39% of these students enrolled in a math class. Additionally, among the students who took valid pre and post placement tests, 57% placed into a higher math class on the post-test than they did on the pre-test. Another interesting outcome of this project was accurate test selection. Fewer students took a math placement test that was above their math level after the boot camp than did before. This suggests that students were more aware of either the math placement testing system or they better understood their level as a result of the boot camp. In either case, the boot camp resulted in a smaller percentage of students taking the wrong math placement test. The results of this project are promising and efforts are underway to expand the boot camp to serve all students.
John Barkman, Educational Research Assessment Analyst (Student Equity)
Student Equity planning is receiving renewed attention in California Community Colleges. As a part of Mt. SAC’s efforts to produce its 2014 Student Equity Plan I produced a reporting system with flexible templates which allowed for the rapid production of reports showing the relative success of variously defined groups of students on a range of measures of student success. This system provided the basic empirical data for consideration by those working on the Student Equity Plan. The flexible nature of the system proved valuable for addressing requests for increasing specificity of combining demographic categories, for instance, looking at ethnicity by gender. This flexibility was also valuable when, part way through the process, the State Budget trailer bill SB860 added three additional categories of students to be analyzed.
Minerva Avila, Professional Expert
My responsibilities in the RIE Office include coordinating external surveys and providing support for the Institutional Review Board (IRB), the Federal Perkins Grant, and other projects as needed. During the 2014 spring semester, I coordinated the administration of both the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) to a sample of students and the aligned Community College Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (CCFSSE) to their professors. I reviewed and analyzed the results of these two national surveys and presented the findings to Mt. SAC administrators. During the summer of 2014, I coordinated the administration of The Freshman Survey, also a national survey aimed at collecting critical information from entering first year college students. The findings from these external surveys provide data that are used for reflection and discussion, planning purposes, and accreditation. Supporting the IRB so that Mt. SAC is in compliance with federal regulations and local policies included a variety of tasks such as filing Mt. SAC's federalwide assurance (FWA), verifying completion of the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) human research subjects ethics training from those conducting research on campus, making the IRB application readily available to interested parties, assisting to ensure that the IRB member composition meets federal requirements, acting as a liaison between principal investigators and the IRB, tracking IRB-approved projects on campus, coordinating changes to the Administrative Policy, updating IRB Committee listing, completing the IRB Committee goals, and preparing the IRB's GAP Analysis. Discussed with the Perkins Grant staff their data needs, provided a counselor report, disaggregated data by degree type, and investigated discrepancies between the Chancellor's Office and Mt. SAC with regard to completed degrees. As needed, provided disaggregated data to the Student Equity Committee. I also work for the VTEA/Perkins group conducting research projects based on their needs.
P. Marcell Gilmore, Professional Expert
I am responsible for providing support on several RIE projects. My work has centered on survey coordination, development (electronic and paper) and analysis of Pathways to Transfer Learning Community, Alumni and Current Students, Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), Summer Bridge, Arise, WIN Program and New Student Orientation. My survey analysis has been both qualitative and quantitative in nature. I have also been tasked with doing foundational work in the development of a new Fact Sheet for the college. Lastly, I support other projects on an as needed basis.
Daniel Lamoree, Educational Research Assessment Analyst (Temporarily re-assigned to the Information Technology Department to create a Decision-Support System)
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