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Student Guide To Assessment

What is Student Learning Assessment?

Assessment can be defined as the process of determining the quality and quantity of student learning in order to make improvements. It is critical that Mesalands Community College faculty meaningfully capture and document what they are teaching, what students are actually learning and how this information is used to improve the teaching-learning relationship.

Why We Do It?

Mesalands Community College clearly states in its Mission statement that it values student learning: Mesalands Community College is an institution of higher education that promotes student learning through quality education and services while fostering personal growth, leadership, and opportunity to a culturally diverse community.

The first Goal of the College is to provide:

  • An environment where learning is appreciated, encouraged, and assessed.

The College is not only committed to encouraging student learning, but also to finding out if it occurs. Learning is about more than grades. Assessment is our method of finding out how and how much students learn in order to enhance the learning environment at the College.

Types of Assessment

Success Assessment/Placement Testing

In order to improve your chances of success at the College, you need to take classes for which you are prepared. You would obviously not be successful in a calculus course if you had not taken enough algebra. Therefore, all students pursuing a degree and any student enrolling in core math or English classes must complete an assessment prior to enrollment. This involves the COMPASS (COMputerized Adaptive Placement And Support System) test which is a comprehensive software package developed by ACT to help place students into appropriate entry-level courses.

General Education Competencies

The College has identified three 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: Communication: Students will read, write, listen and use verbal skills to organize and communicate information and ideas in personal and group settings.

Mathematical and Scientific Reasoning: Students will demonstrate mathematical principles and scientific reasoning by applying appropriate methods to the inquiry process.

Critical Thinking: Students will identify, evaluate and analyze evidence to guide decision making and communicate his/her beliefs clearly and accurately.

General Education competencies are assessed across all campuses and delivery methods (traditional classroom, Internet, podcast, webcast/DVD/VHS, directed study, etc.) 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.

ENG 299 Capstone Portfolio Course

This capstone course will utilize the College’s rubrics to assess the general education competency (communication, critical thinking, scientific and quantitative reasoning) objectives using student 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.

Program Objectives

The purpose of program level assessment is to document how well students are accomplishing specific program objectives. The program objectives reflect those knowledge, skills and professional dispositions valued by workplace employers and other interested parties. Program objective assessment is carried out within each degree and certificate program on a daily basis in the classroom.

Institutional Assessment Surveys

The College uses a number of standardized surveys in a regular rotation to collect information. Data from some of these surveys, such as ACT’s Student Opinion Survey, provides us with information regarding what the students think about the learning environment at the College. Please take the time to fill out these surveys.

(CAAP) Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency

On Assessment Day, students who have completed 60 or more hours are required to take the (CAAP) Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency exam. This ACT test provides a way of comparing what you learned during your college career at Mesalands to students at other colleges around the country.

Where Can I Find More Information About Student Learning Assessment?

  • College Catalog
  • Student Handbook
  • As part of the curriculum during the ACS 100: Student College Success course
  • By contacting the Chair of the Student Learning Assessment Committee