Assessment is critical to understanding and improving the College’s effectiveness in all areas. Gathering and analyzing data helps instructional departments to make informed decisions about the extent to which students are achieving the learning outcomes. The faculty control the process, just as they control the curriculum taught in their courses. The Institutional 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 steps of the assessment cycle include:
• identifying Program-Level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs) and General Education Competencies;
• mapping these outcomes to the courses in which they are taught;
• measuring these outcomes;
• analyzing the results of the measures;
• creating an action plan for improvement;
• implementing this action plan; and
"closing the loop" by assessing and evaluating the results of the action plan.
The revision of PSLOs and their mapping to the courses in which they are taught is done as needed, and the outcomes and courses may remain unchanged for several years. The other steps of the process, however, follow an annual timeline.
All of a discipline’s PSLOs should be assessed over a three-year period and which outcomes are assessed every year is up to the departmental faculty. The assessment of general education competencies follows a schedule apportioned by the Component Areas of the Core Curriculum so as to minimize the burden on any given discipline in a particular year.
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).