Summary of the Assessment System


The purpose of the Assessment System is to measure student success in academic content areas as well as in general education across the curriculum. It incorporates the six general-education competencies generated and agreed upon by faculty, as well as the transfer and career area measures most valued by faculty in their areas. The system was designed to allow instructors freedom to choose their own assessment events, while still providing data which can be aggregated in order to show progression of student learning across several distribution areas.

An “assessment event” is: data collected at the individual course level by faculty members and used to assess student mastery of the course outcomes. The data collected at this level are used to produce class grades where typical techniques of evaluation (e.g., quizzes, exams, papers, and speeches) are used to gather these data from students.

General Education Assessments (at least two per academic year)

Each academic year, every instructor is responsible for staging an assessment event and collecting data for two general education competencies of his or her choice. The ten defined competencies are:

  1. Problem Solving
  2. Communications
    1. Writing
    2. Oral Presentation
    3. Collaboration
    4. Reading
    5. Listening
  3. Technology
  4. Quantitative Reasoning
  5. Research
  6. Ethical Reasoning

Area Assessments (at least one per academic year)

The College is divided into academic units called Academic Areas. Academic Areas include:

  • Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Math (transfer oriented)
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (transfer oriented)
  • Communications, Humanities, and Fine Arts (transfer oriented)
  • Health Careers (career oriented)
  • Career-Technical Education (career oriented)

Area faculty have identified those skill sets which are unique to its area -- the area-level objectives, from which areas select one objective each year to measure as an area project. Each instructor in an area is responsible for collecting data in support of the area objective. Data is submitted electronically into the assessment data collection system found in FAST.

Entering Data into the Assessment Database

You may enter view and enter data into the assessment database at any time during the semester. When logged into FAST, under Documents and Forms → Assessment of Academic Achievement → Gen Ed and Area Data Forms → Assessment Database.
Two important buttons:

  • Enter Data    Click and select assessment topic from drop-down menu
  • View Data     Click to view your past assessments

In addition to your numerical data, please do not forget to fill out the “Analysis or Observation Comments” and “Description of the Assessment tool and event” sections – otherwise we have no clue as to what type of assessment you performed.

What Gen Ed Assessments Should I Choose?

The individual faculty member decides which Gen Ed topics they wish to assess, and in which class they perform that assessment event. However, it is the recommendation of the Assessment Committee that:

  • You repeat assessments: Assess the same topic from year to year in the same course, using the same assessment tool if possible.
  • One Fall, One Spring: Split your two assessments between the two semesters.

What Area Assessment Should I Choose?

Individual Areas decide which Assessment topics they wish to perform during a given semester; this should be discussed at your Area Meetings dedicated to Assessment.

Area Assessments have greater flexibility than Gen Ed Assessments in their administration, and so Areas are encouraged not only to perform assessments on broad topics (those that every program in a given Area have in common), but also to allow more specialized assessments at the program level. Please contact Jim Chisholm (Faculty Assessment Leader; x215, james.r.chisholm@svcc.edu) for assistance in this and anything else related to assessment.

If you have to collect assessment-like data for a separate program accreditation or requirement, you are encouraged to use these data for your Gen Ed and/or Area Assessments as well. If you are unsure how to do this, please contact Jim Chisholm for assistance.