Assessment is key to understanding and improving the College’s effectiveness in all areas. Gathering and analyzing data helps the college to make informed decisions that ensure ACC is meeting its intended outcomes. The faculty control the process, just as they control the curriculum taught in their courses. The Academic Planning, Development, and Evaluation office facilitates the collection of data, and faculty, department chairs, deans, the Vice-President of Instruction, and the Provost all help to ensure that meaningful assessments are conducted and documented. The TracDat system is the repository for instructional assessment data collected as part of the Discipline Assessment Cycle.
The assessment process aligns the Institution’s and the Program’s mission statements. The steps of the assessment cycle include:
- defining student learning outcomes;
- providing learning opportunities for students concerning these outcomes;
- measuring the extent to which students achieve the outcomes;
- analyzing the results of the measures;
- creating an action strategy for improvement;
- implementing this action plan; and
- “closing the loop” by assessing and evaluating the results of the action plan.
All of these stages should be aligned from the course-level to that of the institutional-level. And they should revolve around the mission of the college.
Because of the complex organizational structure of ACC, the terms “department”, “discipline” and “program” are often used interchangeably. For the sake of clarity, in this document:
- departments are administrative units that may include several disciplines (e.g., Behavioral and Social Sciences, Health Information Technology);
- disciplines are areas of study (e.g., Psychology, Health Information Technology); and
- programs are plans of coursework that lead to an Associate’s degree, Certificate, Field of Study (e.g., AA Psychology, AAS Health Information Technology, Certificate in Medical Coding, Criminal Justice Field of Study).