The Discipline Assessment Cycle (DAC) is the process whereby Austin Community College documents the extent to which students have attained the learning outcomes and objectives set before them. It pulls together information at the course- and program-level, with data regarding general education and, where relevant the skills associated with the Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS). The framework of the DAC is designed to promote meaningful assessment, while simultaneously providing a single repository for assessment information from across the institution.
A key part of the DAC process is to provide supportive and meaningful feedback to departments regarding their assessment plans and efforts. For the most part, this revolves around issues of documentation. Departmental faculty have always known what it is their students should learn and how to determine if they are achieving the outcomes expected of them. But for purposes of planning and accountability, this needs to be described in a way that makes it clear to those outside the discipline the good work that the faculty are doing and any resources they might need to further promote their students’ success.
The feedback is provided by the DAC Working Group, a body of 20-30 dedicated and trained faculty and staff who pore over the assessment plans, results, and action strategies described in the TracDat system using the DAC Peer Review Rubric.