Background of SVCC Assessment
The 2005 Assessment Plan is the third developed at the College. The
preceding plans had considerable strengths, but they primarily
failed through lack of a college-wide system to ensure follow
through and to communicate findings into the planning process.
Development of the current plan was somewhat simplified by the
previous work of faculty in the development of these earlier
The 1995-1996 Assessment Plan
The original Sauk Valley Community College Assessment Plan,
drafted in 1995 and revised in 1996 , attempted to align assessment practices with
the goals of the institution. At that time, the visiting team
stated that the assessment plan should . . .
- Be linked to the mission, goals, and objectives of the
- Show evidence of faculty participation and be institution-wide
in conceptualization and scope.
- Be used for program and planning improvement.
- Provide timelines which are appropriate and realistic.
- Provide for appropriate administration of the assessment
The Vice President of Instructional Services was named as the
responsible administrator for the assessment initiative. In 1996,
the Vice President and a faculty member co-chaired a committee
appointed to develop a program of assessment. This committee was
named the Outcomes Assessment Task Force, a title which accurately
described its limited focus.
Notable features. In response to the first two
criteria, the 1996 plan called for course outlines to highlight the
integration of stated outcomes of individual courses with the
mission of the College. Although largely targeted at individual
courses and student performance, the plan created awareness among
faculty and staff of the importance of assessment and of the
relationship between individual courses and the goals of the
institution. Furthermore, faculty was introduced to outcomes-based
assessment and the idea of creating authentic measures based on
demonstrable skills. More notable features of the plan were
separating general education and the catalog distribution
requirements from the program and career goals; convening a
committee to define general education requirements; and
acknowledging the related nature of student performance, academic
programs, student services, and the administration. This document
indicates planning for a program of assessment that would be
institution-wide in conceptualization and scope.
Flaws. A significant failing of the 1995-1996
plan was the lack of specific measures of student academic
performance that could be used to plan and improve programs.
Although the plan indicates that the five-year program review cycle
will derive information from ongoing and formative assessment
practices, what tangible data, other than grade distributions,
would be expected to inform the process is unclear. Little evidence
exists that an actual plan had been created by the faculty for the
betterment of the institution.
It is understood that the College was working through the
introductory stages of assessment. Authentic assessment programs
require significant faculty buy-in, and it is clear that the
assessment team at that time intended for a deliberate
implementation that would increase faculty ownership of the plan,
as well as create an institutional model that was neither
artificial nor a â€œquick fix.â€ The assessment team recognized the
process as iterative, and expected the plan to mature as the cycle
The 2001 Assessment Plan
The 2001 assessment plan describes the process in the years
following the 1996 plan. The
plan notes that employee turnover stagnated the assessment process,
an indication that the process was not defined well enough to be
self-perpetuating regardless of personnel shifts, which is a
critical flaw. The plan notes that little assessment documentation
had occurred in the intervening years, which leaves a question as
to the credibility of the claim that the formal assessment process
was used to inform yearly operational plans, program reviews, and
the budgeting cycle.
Notable features. The 2001 plan does
distinguish between accountability, academic assessment, and
institutional effectiveness. It also creates specific learning
outcomes for each area of general education, which is a direct
follow-through on the directives of the 1995-1996 plan. The plan
also notes that the original mission statement, to which all course
outlines were aligned, had been modified in the intervening years.
The plan outlines a formal committee structure for both assessment
and institutional effectiveness and organizes both to be standing
committees with the task of interpreting data to make
recommendations for improvement.
Flaws. Theoretically, these improvements
suggest a desire on the part of the College to be engaged in the
assessment process, but they do not suggest the level of maturity
that might be expected to have been reached in the years between
the 1996 introduction of the formal plan and the modification in
2001. Notably, the plan relies heavily on the use of standardized
testing in the form of the CAAP to define success in the area of
general education instruction, as well as cursory examination of
grade distribution, GPAs, and transfer rates. While certainly
effective tools to complement internally-generated data, this
reliance seems a retreat from the 1995-1996 planâ€™s attempt to
create a faculty-driven process. The highly external measures
suggested in the 2001 plan, while valuable in providing normative
data for the College, cannot be expected to create a full picture
of the process of teaching and learning that takes place at Sauk
Valley Community College.