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Student Learning Assessment

Effective assessment of student learning is a matter of commitment, not a matter of compliance. To that end, Mesalands Community College is dedicated to establishing a culture of assessment embedded in every aspect of the educational process. Assessing, understanding, and improving student learning is an ongoing, institutional-wide process that involves all stakeholders, both internal and external. The first stated goal of Mesalands Community College is to provide an environment where learning is appreciated, encouraged, and assessed. The Student Learning Assessment Committee (SLAC) is responsible for facilitating the assessment of both the General Education Competencies and Program Objectives.

General Education Competencies

The College has identified six General Education Competencies that all Mesalands Community College graduates will demonstrate upon completion of a degree. These competencies represent the most deeply held values of the College and are as follows:

  • Writing
  • Oral Communication
  • Information Technology
  • Critical Thinking
  • Scientific Reasoning
  • Mathematical Reasoning

General Education Competencies are assessed wherever or however learning occurs,  utilizing rubrics. Simply put, a rubric is a scoring tool that identifies specific expectations for a task or assignment. Rubrics divide the task into its component parts and provide a detailed description of what constitutes an acceptable or unacceptable level of performance for each of those parts (Stevens and Levi, 2005). The General Education Competency rubrics utilized by the College:

In support of the College’s attempt to assess General Education Competency attainment, students in their last semester prior to graduation with a degree are required to successfully complete ENG 299: Capstone Portfolio Course. This course assists students in documenting general education competency achievement in communication (writing, oral presentation, and information technology), mathematical and scientific reasoning, and critical thinking during their program of study using artifacts. A portfolio reflecting best practices will be submitted to a faculty committee for review and evaluation. This course must be completed during the student’s last semester prior to graduation. Students who plan on graduating with an associate degree or who will have completed 60 credit hours by the end of a given semester are also required to take the Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) exam at the schedule time and day.

Program Objectives

Degree and certificate programs of study have identified program-specific objectives. These program objectives reflect those competencies that students will possess and demonstrate upon graduation. The program objectives reflect those knowledge, skills and professional dispositions valued by workplace employers and other stakeholders. Degree programs measure both General Education Competency and program-specific objective attainment while certificate programs measure program-specific objective attainment only.

Documentation of the activities involved in the assessment, analysis, and improvement of student learning at Mesalands Community College:

Assessment of student learning is an ongoing process. Those shareholders involved in the plan-do-study-adjust cycle of student assessment must remain current with the latest research and information as it relates to student academic achievement. In an effort to keep those interested parties up-to-date as to the current state of assessment at the College, Mesalands Community College maintains the following:

Student Persistence and Completion

Although efforts to improve student persistence and completion are the responsibility of all faculty and staff at Mesalands Community College, Students Affairs is charged with the development and implementation of a formal Persistence Plan. The purpose of the Persistence Plan is to document the systematic and comprehensive approach to improving student persistence and completion that can easily be understood and followed by all campus personnel. This plan is presented to all faculty and staff on an annual basis and is available upon request for examination from the Student Affairs  Office. The Student Affairs Office also prepares a weekly report on persistence-related activities. This  Persistence Newsletter is disseminated to all College faculty and staff on a weekly basis. For additional information, please contact: Tom Morris, M.S., C.S.C.S. Chair, Student Learning Assessment Committee 575.461.4413, ext. 120