Assessment at Heartland Community College

Link to assessment committee information
Link to assessment basics
Link to information about assessment at HCC
Link to assessment procedure
Link to the Assessment Quarterly newsletter
Link to other assessment information

How is Assessment done at your College?

The Assessment of Student Learning at Heartland Community College begins with the student syllabus.  Each syllabi has a section containing the Course Objectives and this includes the Learning Outcomes for the course.  The Learning Outcomes are essentially the minimum sets of skills or abilities that a student must achieve to successfully complete the course.  A variety of methods including Classroom Assessment Techniques (CAT's), portfolios, core test items, and primary trait analysis (rubrics) are then used by faculty to see if those Learning Outcomes are being achieved.

Several of the Learning Outcomes may also be tied to one of the General Education Learning Outcomes.  These outcome statements reflect what faculty as a whole at our College believe are the important skills and abilities that our students will achieve and need upon leaving our institution.  While these are intended mainly for courses meeting the Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) guidelines, they may also apply to non-IAI courses.  The General Education Learning Outcomes are grouped into four categories: Communication, Diversity, Problem-Solving, and the recently created Critical Thinking outcomes.  These are listed as a code after the appropriate Learning Outcome in the syllabus.  Faculty then assess their students with respect to that General Education Learning Outcome.  For a number of years, this information was self-reported to the Assessment Committee through an online form and then shared with other faculty via the intranet.  Currently, a new method for measuring these outcomes is being developed by the Assessment Committee (see below).

In some courses, assessment across all or most sections has been a well established practice.  For example, in our Writing program (English 101 and 102), a pre- and post-writing prompt was performed in those courses to examine the impact of the Writing program on our students.  They have also used a portfolio system that has students submit samples of their writing from throughout the semester and this is used as both an evaluation and assessment tool.  A communal measurement format is also performed to provide faculty with a second and third opinion on the assessment of their students. 

In the Spring 2003 term, a new method for assessing our General Education Learning Outcomes will be piloted.  A group of faculty, staff, and administrators from both the Curriculum & Academic Standards Committee and the Assessment Committee met in the Fall of 2002 to map out a new strategy for measuring these outcomes.  First, it was decided that any procedure should focus on those courses that are the largest credit hour generators at our school.  From the list of the thirty top-ranked courses, four developmental courses were eliminated leaving us with twenty-six potential candidates.  Next, it was decided that a group of trained assessors will examine a common artifact given to most or all of the students taking one of those twenty-six courses.  To minimize the work and impact on faculty members, all that we are asking of them is to come up with this common artifact that is tied to one of the General Education Learning Outcomes.  The common artifact could be a test item, a term paper, a presentation, a group project, or any other assignment.  Then, this artifact will be given to the students in each section and collected by the instructor.  Before that artifact is graded, a representative of the Assessment Committee will make a copy of the student work and then remove all of the personal identification from that work.  At the end of the semester, the team of assessors will score a subset of these artifacts and then, collectively, issue feedback to the faculty.  


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Phone: (309) 268-8000
Fax: (309) 268-7999

Heartland Community College
Main Campus
1500 W. Raab Rd.
Normal, IL 61761

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