Neosho County Community College is at the forefront of a nationwide effort in higher education to incorporate assessment of student learning through outcomes assessment as an integral part of the education process. In 2009, NCCC’s assessment process won a Bellwether Finalist award, making NCCC a nationally recognized institution for its achievements in outcomes assessment.
The purpose of assessing student learning at Neosho County Community College is to ensure the educational purposes of the institution are met and appropriate changes are made in program development and classroom instruction to allow for student success. More importantly, assessment of student learning assists in ensuring that students are prepared to meet transfer institution expectations, discipline expectations, course sequence expectations, and employer expectations. It is essential to note that assessment entails not merely the collection of data, but also its use:
Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning. (Huba & Freed, 2000)
However, assessment is not merely confined to evaluating and improving student learning. Indeed, assessment can also be utilized to evaluate and improve college programs and services:
“Assessment is the process of providing credible evidence of resources, implementation actions, and outcomes undertaken for the purpose of improving the effectiveness of instruction, programs, and services in higher education.” (Banta, Polomba, and Kinzie, 2015)
Because Neosho County Community College is interested in more than just effectiveness of instruction at the course level, it assesses student learning at three different levels:
1. General Education Level – What should every college graduate know?
2. Program Level – What should every student in that major/emphasis know?
3. Course Level – What should everyone who passes my course know?
Completion of individual course outcomes assessment reports (i.e. at the course level) lays the foundation for assessing our program and general education goals.