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Middle States Commission on Higher Education

3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104; Phone: 215-662-5606; Fax: 215-662-5501

Best Practices in Outcomes Assessment

[Updated November 2000]

Commission staff and consultants selected several exemplary comprehensive outcomes assessment plans or components of plans from institutions that recently completed their decennial evaluations, as well as from periodic review reports that are submitted during the intervening fifth year of the accreditation cycle or other special reports that the Commission may require.

The institutions listed below are included in this section, which is updated at least three times each year to coincide with the Commission =s review of institutions (February/March, June, and November). Following each institution =s name is the Commission= s designation of institutional type: [2YR (two-year); LA (liberal arts); COM (comprehensive); DOC (doctorate-granting); RES (research); or SPE (specialized).]

Comprehensive Plans:

Carlos Albizu University [SPE]

Middlesex County College [2YR]

SUNY Empire State College [COM]

SUNY at Fredonia [COM]

SUNY University at Albany [RES]

Towson University [COM]

Academic Assessment:

Cecil Community College [2YR]

Elizabethtown College [LA]

King=s College [LA]

Nassau Community College [2YR]

St. John=s College of Maryland [LA]

SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome [COM]

General Education:

Mercy College [COM]

Student Affairs:

Cecil Community College [2YR]

For each institution, there is: an institutional description, taken from the Commission =s official AStatement of Accreditation Status@ ; an outcomes assessment description; and a contact person at the institution.

The criteria for assessment plans are published in Outcomes Assessment Plans, the Commission =s guidelines for institutions and evaluators, available on the Web at www.msache.org/pubord.html. These criteria for plans include having a foundation in the institution= s mission, goals, and objectives; the support and collaboration of faculty and administration; a systematic and thorough use of quantitative and qualitative measures; assessment and evaluative approaches that lead to improvement; realistic goals and a timetable, supported by appropriate investment; and an evaluation of the assessment program.

The Commission staff contact person for this section is mailto:gsantiago@msache.org .

Comprehensive Plans


Institutional Description:

Private (non-profit) specialized university level institution offering upper division Bachelor of Science Degree/Psychology; Master of Science Degree/Psychology with concentrations in mental health counseling, school counseling, marriage and family therapy; Master of Science Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology; and Doctor of Psychology Degree in Clinical Psychology with concentrations in general practice, neuropsychology and forensic psychology. Campuses at San Juan, Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Institute of Psychology), and Miami, Florida (Miami Institute of Psychology).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

Institutional Effectiveness . Every four years, the administration, faculty, staff, and students conduct a comprehensive self-study at both the San Juan and Miami campuses. The self-study process serves to improve institutional planning and development. Through the self-study process, resources are directed to support program objectives and to respond to evaluations of program effectiveness and efficiencies. It is also an opportunity for the institution to review processes, staffing patterns, and eliminate excess or duplication.

The self-study takes into account the following internal variables:

  • enrollment figures and future projections by program
  • evidence of congruence between programs and institutional mission
  • quantitative and qualitative needs analyses of programs
  • staffing patterns and future staffing projections (based on enrollments)
  • cost-benefit analyses of programs
  • program evaluation (annual program assessments, student and alumni surveys)
  • marketing and recruitment analyses
  • student retention/attrition
  • student performance measures
  • class size
  • faculty/student ratios
  • facilities and resources

The self-study takes into account the following external variables:

  • local, state, and national economic trends
  • demographic trends
  • employment and career opportunities
  • social priorities
  • physical constraints
  • state or federal support of student aid programs

Program . Every program at the University has developed a matrix which outlines the goals and objectives for the program, how each goal and objective will be met operationally and in what course or courses, how each goal and objective will be assessed (i.e., written/oral examinations, portfolios, clinical experiences, class presentation), and the desired outcome.

Contact person:

Dr. Lourdes Garcia, Chancellor; (787)725-6500; mailto:lgarcia@prip.ccas.edu .


Institutional Description:

Public (local/state) two-year community college offering associate degrees and certificates. Off-campus programs offered at Perth Amboy, and New Brunswick. Continuing Education available. Study abroad programs are available in England and Chile. Professional accreditation in nurse education (A, NLN); dental hygiene (A, ADA); medical laboratory technician (A, CAAHEP, NAACLS); radiography education (A, CAAHEP); civil/ construction, electrical, and mechanical engineering technology (A, ABET); dietetic technology (A, ADA), paralegal studies (A, ABA); and respiratory care (A, CAAHEP).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

Middlesex County College understands the need for congruence betweeen its goals and objectives and its educational programs, and realizes that this agreement is likely to produce instructional effectiveness. To ascertain that the institution is effective and to demonstrate accountability to both the College community and the community at large, the Institutional Assessment Plan describes how the effectiveness of the College =s programs and services is assessed. Outcomes assessment inititaitives are varied and include both quantitative and qualitative measures. It is expected that the implementation of the Institutional Assessment Plan will result in continuous improvement in the College= s programs and services.

The MCC Institutional Assessment Plan covers student services, instructional activities, and other activities needed to accomplish the College = s goals. The plan is divided into institutional and program segments. At the institutional level, the assessment plan includes the review of:

1. Mission, Goals, and Objectives

2. Governance

3. Administrative Organization

4. Evaluation of Administrative & Support Staff

5. Evaluation of Instructional Faculty

6. Student Services

7. Enrollment Management

8. Financial and Enrollment Audits

9. Planning

The program and student segments include the review of:

1. Entry Level Assessment

2. Student Background and Plans

3. ESL/Remedial Progress

4. Degree Programs

5. Curricular Assessment

6. General Education

7. Graduate Follow-Up

At the institutional and program levels, assessment is continuous and cyclical. The results of these assessment initiatives are shared widely with the academic community, and are utilized to make positive changes, address weaknesses, and fine tune that which works well.

Contact person:

Professor Ronald Goldfarb, Chairperson, Accounting and Legal Studies Department; (732) 906-2576; mailto:Ronald_Goldfarb@middlesex.cc.nj.us


Institutional Description:

Public (state) comprehensive college, a unit of the State University of New York, offering associate, baccalaureate, and master's degrees. Operates learning centers in Syracuse (Central New York); Rochester (Genesee Valley); Hartsdale (Hudson Valley); Old Westbury (Long Island); New York City (Metropolitan); Buffalo (Niagara Frontier); and Albany, NY (Northeast); and the Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies in New York City, the Office of Graduate Studies and The Center for Distance Learning in Saratoga Springs, NY. Programs also offered in New York City are Studio Arts and Bell Atlantic Corporate/College program; in Buffalo, the FORUM West, in Saratoga Springs, the FORUM East; in Syracuse, the FORUM Central New York; in New Paltz, the Culinary Institute program; in Plattsburgh, the Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Program; and at Fort Drum, NY, the Fort Drum program. Contractual arrangements with state agencies to place SUNY students in state agencies for one semester in Albany, NY and with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to serve IBEW apprentices, Harry Van Arsdale Jr. School of Labor Studies, New York, NY. Workforce advancement initiatives include development and training for a variety of public and private sector clients. Study abroad programs available in Cyprus, Israel, Czech Republic, and Greece, with other opportunities available.

Outcomes Assessment Description:

In l989 Empire State College (ESC) established a broadly representative Outcomes Committee which was charged with developing an institutional plan for outcomes assessment. The plan needed to define institutionally appropriate objectives for the desired and intended learning outcomes, establish institutionally appropriate ways to assess learning outcomes, and build connections between assessment, planning and program improvement activities.

The Committee developed a statement of student learning objectives that reflected ESC = s commitment to individualized education and lifelong learning and called for methods of periodic, comprehensive assessment of institutional performance in relation to these objectives. The Committee recommended making use of existing academic processes in order to integrate outcomes assessment activities with core academic and program improvement activities and to minimize the need to invest limited resources in specialized research functions. Methods used in the l990 plan include student surveys, panel reviews of student portfolios, and expansion of portfolio reviews to include direct assessment of samples of student work, basic skills assessment, and student self-assessment. In addition, once the technological infrastructure required is in place, the college plans to administer milestone surveys of ESC students and track students throughout their experience at ESC.

The Academic Policy and Learning Programs Committee (APLPC) and related task forces have been charged with identifying the basic academic skills appropriate to ESC and establishing ways to meeting the general education objectives which have been adopted by the SUNY Board of Trustees. ESC =s area of study and concentration guidelines were reviewed by the APLPC in l993 and are updated on an on-going basis. The well established features of ESC=s outcomes assessment program are the Periodic Area of Study Reviews and participation in the SUNY Student Opinion and Alumni surveys. The Periodic Area of Study Reviews enlist both external reviewers and ESC faculty in the assessment of the quality of samples of student degree portfolios in relation to a wide variety of assessment criteria and are conducted on a regularly scheduled basis. The SUNY Student Opinion Survey provides benchmark data to ESC on current student=s perceptions of and satisfaction with numerous features of ESC=s programs and services. The SUNY Alumni Survey provides data on post-graduate career development, advanced education, etc. as well as graduates= perceptions of the value and quality of their degree studies at ESC.

Two new assessment initiatives include milestone surveys to query students at various points during their experience with ESC; and student tracking research to track student success and retention, content areas, and modes of study. Additional assessment initiatives include the adoption of basic skills measures for incoming students and identifying methods of assessing outcomes upon graduation, including the post-testing of basic skills.

Contact person:

Dr. Duncan Ryan Mann, Acting Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs; (518) 587-2100, extension 263; mailto:Duncan.RyanMann@esc.edu


Institutional Description:

Public (state) comprehensive college of arts and science, a unit of the State University of New York, offering baccalaureate and master's degrees. International study in U.K. (England and Wales), Japan, and Germany. Professional accreditation in music (B, NASM), theatre (B, M, NAST), and speech-language pathology and audiology (M, ASLHA).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

The State University of New York at Fredonia has committed itself to "campus-wide assessment and to the development of a culture of evidence." In many respects, SUNY at Fredonia has been a leader in assessment. Fredonia was awarded two major FIPSE grants to assess general education and academic programs in five departments. All academic programs are reviewed periodically with outside evaluators, and all academic programs are expected to be engaged in assessment activities. Every academic department has now defined, and most have implemented, a student outcomes assessment program.

While the College recognizes unevenness in the quality of materials from some academic programs, every academic department has now defined, and most have implemented, a student outcomes assessment program. Several commendable models exist in such disciplines as biology, speech pathology and audiology, but all define goals for student learning, the correlation between the programsí goals and the goals of the General Education program, the means of, or instruments for, measuring assessment (i.,e., portfolios, senior seminars, standard tests, alumni surveys, barrier evaluations, comprehensive exams, field work, research projects, pre-post tests, student evaluations), measurable outcomes, and the uses to be made of these outcomes for improving teaching, learning, and the curricula.

Very few of the departments rely on a single instrument. For Fredonia, one indication of a healthy baseline structure for assessment among the departments is the pattern of multiple instrument usage for assessing student outcomes. Departments are categorized into groupings using a structure provided by the Office of Institutional Studies (i.e., educational studies, fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, interdisciplinary). Categorizing departments has facilitated a convenient structure for assessment activities comparison, discussion among faculty, etc.

Assessment in academic support functions encompasses such areas as academic advising, grants administration/research services, information technology services, and the library. Here, the vocabulary of assessment changes from the vocabulary for the reporting of academic programs to "mission," "goals," "measure of goals," "results," and "feedback into the unit." The language of assessment shifts appropriately to fit the nature and function of these components of support services so that the assessment loop results in practical and useful information.

These efforts, combined with the development of assessment plans for personal growth, intellectual growth and campus climate, form the basis of the development of an overall plan for the entire campus. Comparable features characterize the assessment plans for all areas within administration, development and college relations, and student affairs.

Contact person:

Dr. Jack Croxton, Director of Campus Assessment; (716) 673-4727; mailto:Jack.Croxton@Fredonia.edu


Institutional Description:

Public (state) research university, a unit of the State University of New York, offering baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral degrees and certificates. Study abroad programs available in Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Puerto Rico, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, The United Kingdom, and Russia. Professional accreditation in clinical psychology (D, APA); rehabilitation education (M, CORE); social work (B, M, CSWE); chemistry (B, ACS); librarianship (M, ALA); business (B, M, AACSB); public health (M, D, CEPH), counseling psychology (D, APA), and school psychology (D, APA); and public administration (M, NASPA).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

The "Albany Model" as it is widely known, has been instrumental in guiding the assessment efforts of many other post-secondary institutions, particularly in the public sector. It is data-driven, and its purpose is formative, not summative. The model seeks to relate the college experience to pre-college characteristics, and it also underscores the importance of relating the classroom and related student experiences (i.e., academic, social, and personal) to student satisfaction and success. These assessment efforts have given the University a rich array of evaluative databases, including student opinion surveys, cohort studies, and alumni studies. Study results have helped to inform a variety of innovations and improvements to the Universityís educational program. Examples of innovations and improvements that resulted or benefited from these efforts include: assessment in the major, living-learning initiatives and programs, faculty mentors, study group program, freshmen seminars, a task force on retention and advisement, freshmen orientation program, writing across the curriculum, freshmen housing, special interest housing, enhanced faculty development, student course evaluation forms and procedures, residence hall improvements, technology enhancements, and student services consolidation/relocation.

Assessment data and the analyses drawn from assessment efforts have been especially valuable in developing strategies to improve not only the substance and delivery of student services but also in addressing quality of life concerns expressed by students and alumni. In addition to descriptions of student and alumni opinions concerning the Albany experience, these studies have targeted specific programs such as General Education and Project Renaissance. They have also been used to examine selected student populations or topical issues such as baccalaureate recipients who take longer than four years to graduate, student goals, faculty student interaction, the effects of the research and teaching climate on undergraduates, graduating seniors, student attainment in the major, and educational outcomes. Project Renaissance, the Presidential Scholars program, the Faculty in Residence program, the major expansion of electronic and computer-related services and the increase of instructional computer-user rooms for students, and the efforts to enhance recreational facilities were all either directly or indirectly initiated by or influenced by assessment data and reports.

An Assessment Reports series is shared with campus managers and governance bodies in order to improve the student experience. Abstracts of all these reports are available on the Institutional Research web site (http://www.albany.edu/ir/reports.html). A complete set of the Institutional Research Assessment Report series are also available in the Document Room of SUNY-University of Albany .

Contact person:

Mr. Bruce Szelest, Assistant Director of Institutional Research; (518) 437-4792; mailto:Bszeles@uamail.albany.edu


Institutional Description:

Public (state) comprehensive university, a unit of the University of Maryland System, offering baccalaureate, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees, and certificate programs. Study abroad opportunities available in Russia, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, France, Spain, Australia, and Denmark; member of the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), American Institute for Foreign Study, Council of International Education Exchange, and School for International Training. Professional accreditation in music (B, NASM), nursing (B, NLN), speech-language pathology and audiology (M, ASLHA), occupational therapy (B, M, AOTE), dance (B, NASD/NCATE), business and accounting (B, M, AACSB), computer science (B, CSAB), chemistry (ACS), athletic training (NATA), and health science (AAHE/NCATE).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

A faculty-led University Assessment Council (UAC) was formed by the University Senate to develop programs that would evaluate student outcomes at the University. In response to its task, UAC formed three subcommittees: a) the Majors Assessment Resources Subcommittee (MARS) to help each academic department develop a plan that would provide a sound framework for assessing its majors outcomes; b) the General Education Assessment Subcommittee (GEAS) to examine the general University experience in terms of both its cognitive and affective domains; and c) the Subcommittee on Alumni Survey (SAS) to develop a new survey form to assess alumni response to their experience at the University.

In time, the responsibilities of the SAS would be discharged and the concerns of the GEAS would be divided between two subcommittees: a) the General University Experience Subcommittee (GUES), and b) the Student Quality of Life Assessment Subcommittee (SQLAS). The work of all subcommittees occurs within the context of twenty-one (21) Guiding Principles, which describe the values and beliefs underlying the University =s assessment program. Among these principles are statements requiring confidentiality of student data, assessment for the sake of improving student learning, faculty and student involvement, reliability and validity of assessment measures, and prohibition on the use of assessment data in the faculty promotion and tenure process. The clarity with which these principles are set out and the care with which they are followed has been a significant feature of the program= s success.

MARS has had the most specific guidelines, particularly in the initial phase of its charge. During its tenure, MARS has accomplished the following: a) held a one-day retreat for department Chairs, Deans, and assessment coordinators; b) developed a majors assessment video and handbook; c) received assessment plans from all departments on campus; d) received assessment reports from most departments; and e) instituted a quality review process for majors assessment reports.

Though the level and quality of participation in assessment of majors has varied, the assessment program has had growing impact on teaching and learning at Towson University. Within four years, 25 of 35 eligible programs reported improvements as the direct result of assessment activities. Improvements include the change of core and elective courses, addition of capstone courses or senior seminar, resequencing of courses in the curriculum, changes in course content, changes in requirements for student work in courses, increased faculty collaboration and planning, and changes in teaching methods.

Contact person:

Dr. Deborah Leather, Associate Provost; (410) 830-2131 or (410) 830-3129; mailto:dleather@towson.edu

Academic Assessment


Institutional Description:

Public (local) two-year community college offering associate degrees and certificate and transfer programs in arts and sciences, education, general studies, industrial electronics, computer information systems, computer aided drafting and design, business administration, business and commerce technology, licensed practical nursing, registered nursing, sanitary technology, law enforcement, professional photography and emergency medical technology. Off-campus programs offered in Elkton, MD, in a variety of continuing education and community services programs. Professional accreditation in nursing (A, NLN).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

Cecil Community College originally submitted a plan for student outcomes assessment in l991 to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and began to develop a formalized assessment process in l994 with the appointment of an assessment team (A-Team). In l999, the College reported that assessment plans were being implemented in five areas; General Education, Nursing, Business/Computer Information Services/Data Processing, Visual Communication and Student Development, with Visual Communication and Nursing serving as prototypes for the other areas. In addition, the facilities, financial services, and computer services departments conducted quality surveys, with the support of the College Improvement Steering Committee, which were spun off from Academic A-Team.

Two academic programs, Visual Communication and Nursing, have well defined assessment plans. These plans include not only a list of objectives, measurement activities, and outcomes, but also a clear time line indicating when in a student =s academic career the assessment activities would take place, i.e.in Visual Communication assessments are scheduled for mid-semester, end-of-semester, senior year capstone portfolio and project, graduate follow-up surveys, and Advisory Board assessment meetings. Assessment is used both to improve teaching and learning and to improve the congruence between the department= s mission and goals and their instructional outcomes. The multi-level time lines adopted for these outcomes assessment measures provide opportunities for formative changes in the programs during the academic year as well as multiple opportunities for feedback to students during each semester and throughout their academic career.

Contact person:

Dr. Thomas Topping, Associate Dean of Academic Programs; (410) 287-1012; mailto:ttopping@ed.cecil.cc.md.us


Institutional Description:

Private independent liberal arts college related to Church of the Brethren, offering baccalaureate degrees in arts and sciences, professional, and pre-professional studies. Off-campus programs offered in various locations through Continuing Education Division, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg, PA. Adult External Degree Program leading to baccalaureate degrees available. Study abroad available through the Brethren Colleges Abroad Program in Germany, France, Spain, England, Japan, China, Ecuador, Mexico, India, and Greece; International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle, England (Queen's University at Kingston, Canada). Professional accreditation in occupational therapy (B, ACOTE), music (B, NASM), social work (B, CSWE), and business (B, ACBSP).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

Effective assessment programs require members of a college community to agree on the types of student learning that should be assessed. At Elizabethtown College, a consensus appears to exist among faculty and administrators about what students should know, value and be able to do. Virtually all departments specify that students should demonstrate proficiency in global or transferable skills of liberal learning: 1) effective writing and oral communications, 2) analytical, critical and reflective thinking, 3) problem-solving ability, 4) quantitative analysis, and 5) research skills, often differentiated according to discipline. It is expected that these skills will permeate all courses and programs, at varying degrees, depending on the discipline.

Elizabethtown utilizes a two-dimensional grid to facilitate the manner in which departments report the types of assessment strategies used. The grid lists twenty possible assessment strategies: capstone course evaluation, course evaluation forms, course-embedded assessments, departmentally-constructed tests required of all majors, employer satisfaction surveys, external program reviews, job placement rates, minimum GPA required for continuation in major, multiple faculty evaluations, oral interviews of students, portfolio assessment, pre- and post-tests, projects or theses required by seniors, regular alumni surveys, review of student performance on standardized tests (GMAT, GRE, MCAT), review of graduate school acceptance rates, review of program outcomes by external evaluators, sophomore or junior evaluation, standardized tests required of all majors, and student retention and attrition rates.

The grid allows departments to indicate whether they are currently using an instrument, developing one for future use, or have no plans to use the instrument in the future. The variety of options on the list may encourage departments to adopt strategies they had not considered before. The list may also lead departments to consult with one another and to share assessment strategies.

In addition to the grid, the president has also charged each academic department to perform a self-study every five years involving all relevant colleagues and including faculty in cognate disciplines. Academic units must also retain an outside expert to review programs every ten years. Among other items, the self-study must include a five-year plan that uses Aprimary data measuring aggregate outcomes pertinent to program goals and objectives,@ and establish Aa process for using the results of outcomes assessment for program improvement.@ The Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees will review all program assessments.

Contact person:

Dr. Fletcher McClellan, Associate Dean of the Faculty for Assessment and Development; (717) 361-1304; mailto:mcclelef@etown.edu


Institutional Description:

Private (Roman Catholic) coeducational liberal arts college conducted in the Catholic tradition by the Congregation of Holy Cross, offering master's degrees in finance, health care administration, education, and physician assistant studies; baccalaureate degrees in 36 major programs; and associate degrees in six majors. A number of regional, national, and international internships and study abroad opportunities are available. Professional accreditation in physician assistant program (B, CAAHEP).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

The nationally-recognized assessment program at King = s College has been designed by faculty not merely to measure or evaluate in the traditional senses of these words but, rather, to enhance student learning. Faculty believe that good assessment strategies are good teaching strategies.

Assessment at King = s College focuses on a) clearly-defined faculty expectations for learning that students can understand; b) explicit criteria that faculty and students can use to evaluate performance; c) clear, honest, and timely feedback to students so they can concentrate not so much on past mistakes as on practical ways to improve performance; d) strategies to enable students to connect learning in the Core with learning in the major; e) close collaboration, a helping relationship, between faculty and students to encourage on-going development; and f) students understanding more of what and how they learn so that they may become more involved in their learning and more responsible for that learning.

The comprehensive assessment program includes the following:

Pre- and Post-Assessments in Core Curriculum Courses . The ability of students to think and to communicate effectively in each discipline is assessed in Core Curriculum courses. These assessments are embedded in course work and indicate the ability of students to work with the subject matter and methodology of each discipline.

Competency Growth Plans for the Skills of Liberal Learning . For each of the transferable skills of liberal learning (critical thinking and problem solving, effective writing, technology competency, effective oral communication, quantitative reasoning, library and information literacy, and moral reasoning), the faculty has designed Acompetency growth plans@ which outline how students will develop these skills year by year and course by course.

The Sophomore/Junior Diagnostic Project . The systematic development of liberal arts skills within the major is also part of the assessment program. Each department has designed a project which is related to the major field of study and which takes place in a required course so that faculty and students can discern at this critical juncture the student =s likelihood of success in the major as well as the student=s development of liberal arts skills. These discipline-specific projects allow students to work on interesting and realistic problems or projects that reflect the kind of work professionals do in the careers to which students in a major aspire. Should problems appear in the student= s performance, faculty and students work together to diagnose them and refer to the Learning Skills Center or Office of Career Planning and Placement for help in solving them.

The Senior Integrated Assessment . The finishing piece of the comprehensive assessment program is the senior integrated assessment. Within a required senior course or capstone seminar, each department has created an exercise that allows students to exhibit a sophisticated command of the subject matter and methodology of the major as well as competence at advanced levels in the transferable skills of liberal learning appropriate to a student about to graduate. These assessments often culminate in exhibits, lectures, or other kinds of presentations to which other students, faculty within and outside a particular department, or even the public at large are invited as audience.

Contact person:

Dr. Donald Farmer, Vice President for Academic Affairs; (570) 208-5895; mailto:dwfarmer@kings.edu


Institutional Description:

Public (county/state) two-year comprehensive community college, operating under the supervision of the State University of New York, offering associate degrees and certificates in liberal arts and career oriented programs. Off-campus: extension-site programs offered at four off-campus locations (libraries and high schools) in Nassau County. Study abroad available in Costa Rica, England, France, Japan, Italy and Thailand. Professional accreditation in civil engineering technology (A, ABET); electrical (engineering) technology (A, ABET); nursing (A, NLN); music (A, NASM); paralegal (A, ABA); physical therapist assistant (A, APTA); radiologic technology, radiotherapy technology, respiratory care, and surgical technology (A, CAHEA); and mortuary science (A, ABSFE).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

In February 1999, the Assessment Committee of the Academic Senate at Nassau Community College published a document entitled Concepts & Procedures for Academic Assessment. The manual was prepared for the faculty of NCC to aid in their quest to discover ways to help students learn more effectively through discipline inquiries into teaching and learning in their classrooms.

The manual is divided into five sections. Section One, Introduction: Philosophical and Historical Perspectives, addresses the vision and evolution of assessment at NCC. Section Two, The Conceptual Framework of Assessment, addresses course-embedded assessment and the five steps of the goals-based assessment (gba) paradigm (teaching goals, outcomes behaviors, assessment measurements, evaluating measurement results, and formulating modifications). Section Three, Implementation and Campus Process, addresses the three phases of classroom assessment (planning, implementing, and responding) and various roles of faculty, administrators, and committees at NCC.

Section Four, Classroom Assessment Userís Guide, serves as a pragmatic, quick-reference to methods and examples involved in the formulation of a classroom assessment. This section is written in less-technical language than other parts of the manual, following the feedback and suggestions made by faculty who posed very practical questions and concerns, such as:

  • What is the difference between a teaching goal and a behavioral objective?
  • What are formative measurement instruments and how are they used in classroom assessment?
  • What are summative measurement instruments and how are they used in classroom assessment?
  • What are the purposes of the "evaluation" column in the goals-based assessment (gba) matrix?
  • What exactly is being evaluated?
  • What is meant by "modifications" in the matrix?
  • How do we integrate ongoing assessment of learning without taking up too much class time?
  • Once we get the measurement results, what next?
  • How does classroom assessment help student learning?
  • How does classroom assessment affect teaching styles and approaches?

Section Five, Resource Guide, addresses the teaching goals inventory, outcomes goals of general education, and classroom assessment techniques.

Contact person:

Dr. Jack Ostling, Vice President for Academic Affairs; (516) 572-7664; mailto:ostling@sunynassau.edu


Institutional Description:

Private (non-profit) liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and master's degrees.

Outcomes Assessment Description:

St. John =s College employs the Great Books of the Western tradition, Ato achieve a critical knowledge of tradition of freedom and equality.@ The Program is an all-required, non-departmental, non-specialized curriculum, consisting through all four years equal parts of:

1. Great Books seminars (ancient, medieval, modern);

2. Language study (Greek, French, English);

3. Mathematics study (Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, calculus, foundations of mathematics and logic, relativity);

4. Laboratory science (classical physics, biology, quantum theory) for three years, and music for one year.

St. John =s College has a continually developing, complex, college-wide set of assessment practices, calibrated to the severe demands of the required studies. St. John= s College has found that the most effective way to ensure high outcomes is:

1. To subordinate the establishing of results to a steady monitoring of the process of learning.

2. To judge students = learning at least as much in terms of their own development as in comparison with others.

3. To abstain from quantitative measures entirely for internal purposes.

4. To ensure that such quantitative measures, used for external purposes, are based on real knowledge of individual performance.

5. To ensure that the whole college is involved in assessment procedures that are well enough known and frequently enough discussed to achieve a reasonable uniformity.

At present, St. John = s College employs the following assessment procedures:

1. The Assessment Meeting. Every student (except for seniors) comes twice a year to a meeting, which every tutor, at present teaching that student, attends. A review of the students = absolute performance, and more importantly, their progress, is given and narratively reported on an official form kept in the students= files. At the meeting, students have an opportunity to review their own work and to criticize their tutors= teaching. The Dean reviews all the reports and talks to students not doing well.

2. The Enabling Procedure. At the end of the sophomore year, each of the student =s tutors for the past two years review the student= s class work and grade record to recommend to the Instruction Committee whether the student is enabled to continue. Usually 5% to 10% of the sophomores are not permitted to return.

3. Oral Examination. All students undergo a half-hour examination on books read or essays written, administered orally by their two seminar leaders (Each seminar is double-led). Grades are given.

4. Annual Essays and Papers. In spring students write a major annual paper that is graded by two tutors and upon which they stand an oral examination. No student is admitted to the next year without a satisfactory performance. All students write a set number of small papers in their classes that are critiqued but not graded by their tutors.

5. Senior Essays. A satisfactory senior essay, a substantial piece of writing, is an absolute requirement for all students for graduation. It is written under the guidance of an advisor, and judged and graded by a special committee of three tutors who also administer a public examination, which students must pass.

6. College Examinations. There is one required enabling examination geared to the requirements of the curriculum. This is an Algebra Test, a minimum skills test required for continuing into the second semester of the sophomore year. Preparatory aid is provided.

7. Graduation Review. The whole faculty reviews the students = grade record, supplemented by the narrative reports of the students= tutors. Students who have deficiencies in their senior year are not recommended for the baccalaureate degree, unless upon the fulfillment of definite conditions.

8. The Classroom. Almost all classes meet three times per week for 70 minutes, so that all year students = performance is closely monitored on a daily basis for:

a. Preparation of assignments (e.g., translations, demonstrations);

b. Participation (steady, active, responsive contributions to the class);

c. Learning (signs of intellectual growth).

9. Attendance. Attendance is mandatory because the life of the college is in its classes and because of the daily assessment that goes on there.

Contact person:

Dr. Harvey Flaumenhaft, Dean of the College; (410) 626-2511; mailto:h-flaumenhaft@sjca.edu


Institutional Description:

Public (state) comprehensive upper-division college, a unit of the State University of New York, offering baccalaureate and master's degrees. Career oriented professional curricula in engineering technologies, computer science, photonics, telecommunications, business/public management, accounting, finance, health information management, health services management, nursing, professional and technical communication, applied mathematics, psychology, sociology, and selected liberal arts; and graduate programs in applied sociology, information design and technology, health services administration, accountancy, management, computer science, nursing, telecommunications, and technology, and advanced technology. Off-campus programs in nursing and engineering technology offered in the capital district; programs in engineering technologies, health information management, and health services management offered in the Syracuse area; and an on-line master = s program in accountancy. Professional accreditation in engineering technologies (B, ABET), nursing (B, M, NLN), and health information management (B, CAAHEP).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

A college-wide assessment committee, representing all the appropriate constituencies of the institution, has been set up to coordinate all the assessment activities across the college. The plan for the assessment of academic programs is the most fully developed. This plan calls for the identification of the educational objectives for the academic program, the evaluation methods, the time frame for each evaluation, the desired outcomes, the actual outcomes, and the resulting changes in the program based on the assessment of that desired outcome. This framework for reporting closes the outcomes assessment loop by asking for a list of educational objectives, measuring the outcomes and then identifying the changes which have resulted from the assessment of outcomes.

SUNY Institute of Technology began its initial work on an Assessment Plan during the l989-90 academic year. The goals of the Assessment Plan are that: Athe assessment program will be campus-wide; assessment will become part of the campus culture as a continuous activity; it will lead to improved completion/retention rates, placement of graduates, and other fundamental indicators of success; the plan will continually evolve, as new ways of looking at outcomes are introduced. @

The Institute = s College-wide Assessment Committee, consisting of faculty from each school and representatives from the library, learning center, student affairs, and the Utica/Rome Student Association, has the primary responsibility for the ongoing assessment program. An assessment framework for programs is currently in place and subcommittees of the Assessment Committee have been charged with the task of determining how best to assess general education and basic skills considering the unique environment of the Institute.

Assessment in each of the major programs of study is conducted by the faculty in the major, with the program representative regularly reporting on these assessment activities to the College-wide Assessment Committee. The template developed by the committee provides for (1) identification of educational objectives; (2) a description of the various evaluation methods that were used to assess the outcomes; (3) the time frame for the implementation of the evaluation activity i.e. once a year, at entry, senior year, every 2-3 years; (4) the desired outcomes; (5) the actual outcomes (including the date the information was obtained); and (6) the program changes that resulted from the assessment. Each department =s report is reviewed by the committee to verify that the department= s plan adequately specifies and measures student learning outcomes. If the committee does not determine that the plan sufficiently identifies and measures student learning outcomes it is sent back to the department for modification before it will is endorsed.

Contact person:

Dr. Jeannine Muldoon, Dean of the School of Nursing; (315)792-7295; mailto:muldooj@sunyit.edu

General Education


Institutional Description:

Private (non-profit) comprehensive college offering associate and baccalaureate degrees, certificate programs, and the master of science degree in nursing, human resource management, learning technology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, acupuncture/oriental medicine, education, organizational leadership, school administration and supervision, school business administration, teaching English to speakers of other languages, physician assistant studies, counseling, psychology, and school psychology; advance certificates in school administration and supervision, school business administration, alcohol and substance abuse counseling, family counseling, and retirement counseling; the MBA in business administration. The A.A./A.S. in Liberal Studies, B.S. in Business Administration with specialization in International Business, B.A./B.S. in Psychology and the B.S. in Computer Science degree programs (all by distance learning format), are included within the scope of the institution's accreditation. Branch campuses located in the Bronx, White Plains, and Yorktown Heights. Off-campus programs are offered at extension centers located in Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Brooklyn, Queens, Jamaica, and Manhattan Districts 1, 3, 4, and 6; the American Institute of Banking; and the Sara Schenirer Seminary in Brooklyn. Collaborative arrangement with the Westchester Conservatory of Music to offer a bachelor's degree in music. Professional accreditation in nursing (B, M, CCNE), occupational and physical therapy (COTA/APTA), physician assistant (CAAHEP), social work (CSWE), acupuncture (ACAOM), and veterinary technology (AVMA).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

In l994, the faculty of Mercy College adopted minimum competency requirements in four areas of General Education: writing, critical thinking, oral communication and quantitative reasoning. There areas were then incorporated in the college catalogue as graduation requirements. Information literacy was added to the competency requirements in l997.

Since the fall of l995, a team of faculty has been charged with guiding the implementation process and developing structured procedures and criteria for the assessment of these competencies. The faculty decided that the assessment of the competencies would be course-embedded within the General Education curriculum. The next step was for the Faculty Curriculum Committee to define the competencies in each area and identify a corresponding set of demonstrable skills which could be measured. Once those were approved by the Faculty Senate, it was necessary to engage the faculty in integrating the competencies throughout the General Education curriculum. Additional steps included the development of an assessment plan to measure student achievement against the competency outcomes requirements and, of particular importance, developing an assistance plan for students who did not meet the minimum level of competency required for graduation.

Mercy College has identified the following academic support services for students who do not pass the competency assessment (1) departmental faculty advising and tutoring; (2) opportunity to retake appropriate courses to improve their skills; (3) skills building assistance through the Learning Centers. Since the faculty decided that competency evaluation would be separate and independent of the student = s final course grade, it was necessary to develop competency grade rosters for faculty to provide feedback to students on their progress towards meeting the competency requirements. Mercy is currently working to find the right tools to track students with competency deficiencies to be able to direct them to the appropriate academic assistance. The Faculty Curriculum Committee is also working on developing a specific intervention plan, which will include required workshops and tutoring through the Learning Center, to provide every reasonable means for students with deficiencies to acquire the necessary skills to meet the competency requirements for graduation.

Contact person:

Dr. Joanne Passaro, Special Assistant to the Provost; (914) 674-7390; mailto:jpassaro@mercynet.edu

Student Affairs


Institutional Description:

Public (local) two-year community college offering associate degrees and certificate and transfer programs in arts and sciences, education, general studies, industrial electronics, computer information systems, computer aided drafting and design, business administration, business and commerce technology, licensed practical nursing, registered nursing, sanitary technology, law enforcement, professional photography and emergency medical technology. Off-campus programs offered in Elkton, MD, in a variety of continuing education and community services programs. Professional accreditation in nursing (A, NLN).

Outcomes Assessment Description:

Cecil Community College originally submitted a plan for student outcomes assessment in l991 to the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and began to develop a formalized assessment process in l994 with the appointment of an assessment team (A-Team). In l999, the College reported that assessment plans were being implemented in five areas; General Education, Nursing, Business/Computer Information Services/Data Processing, Visual Communication and Student Development, with Visual Communication and Nursing serving as prototypes for the other areas. In addition, the facilities, financial services, and computer services departments conducted quality surveys, with the support of the College Improvement Steering Committee, which were spun off from the Academic A-Team.

Cecil Community College has a well defined Student Development assessment plan. The plan includes not only a list of departmental goals, measurement activities and indicators, and expected outcomes, but also a clear time line indicating when in a student =s academic career the assessment activities take place. The time line consists of assessment at entry, assessment during a student=s academic career and assessment at the student= s exit from the college, i.e. entry level assessment, intermediate level assessment, and exit level assessment. At each point in the time line the assessment measures to be used are listed and include target surveys, focus groups, retention surveys, and graduation surveys. The multi-level time lines adopted for these outcomes assessment measures provide opportunities for formative changes in the programs during the academic year as well as multiple opportunities for feedback to students during each semester and throughout their academic career.

Contact person: Dr. Thomas Topping, Associate Dean of Academic Programs; (410) 287-1012; mailto:ttopping@ed.cecil.cc.md.us