Staff Policy D-102.01
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Scholarship

Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

Assessment offers Northwestern Michigan College the opportunity to improve the teaching and learning process for its students. NMC uses assessment in all areas of instruction to promote student achievement.

Assessment of Learning is conducted at three levels: general education, programs, and courses. Student progress in the achievement of learning outcomes outside of the classroom may be part of the assessment results as described here, but that assessment is described in other policies.

  1. General Education Assessment
    Assessment of General Education outcomes at Northwestern Michigan is part of the College’s ongoing commitment to keep the learner at the center. Assessing what students are learning is the beginning of the improvement of learning, for the student, the faculty, and the College as a whole. Knowing the level of our students’ achievement is the starting point for giving our students the best experience we have to offer. Using assessment results to improve that achievement and experience is our goal.
  2. Program Outcomes Assessment
    Program assessment is the measurement of collective student outcomes, not individual outcomes.  The focus is on performance of the program, not on performance of individual students.  Annual self-assessment is conducted at Northwestern Michigan College by each of the occupational and liberal studies programs with the goal of continuous improvement.  Occupational programs have developed outcomes with standards and assessment methods that reflect and assess the knowledge, skills and abilities that program completers should possess. Liberal studies programs are assessed on the following two outcomes: transferability of courses to transfer institutions and support of the College-wide general education outcomes.  
  3. Course Assessment
    Course outcomes are assessed in numerous ways. Faculty members use methods and standards as established by the academic areas. Results are documented and used for improvement at the course level. Outcomes and assessment results linked to the General Education outcomes are analyzed at the institutional level and used for improvement.
  4. Responsibility for Assessment
    1. Academic Area Chairs:  Academic Area Chairs or their designees are responsible for ensuring that all relevant assessment data is being collected and used in the improvement of student learning.
    2. Faculty:  Faculty members are responsible for assessing course outcomes and using the results to improve student achievement in their classes. Each faculty member is also responsible for participating in College-wide assessment of General Education Outcomes and specific Program Outcomes.
    3. Improvement:  Faculty members are responsible for documenting improvement actions on course learning outcomes. The Assessment Team is responsible for identifying any gaps in the assessment process and recommending adjustments to established committees annually. The Curriculum Committee is responsible for reviewing institutional results for the General Education outcomes and identifying improvement actions based on the assessment results. These groups, together with Faculty Council, Educational Services Instructional Management Team, and the Center for Instructional Excellence, uses the results to encourage faculty to modify learning activities within the curriculum.

The Vice President for Educational Services, in conjunction with the appropriate faculty and staff, is responsible for the development and publication of any procedures or guidelines that  may be necessary to administer this policy effectively.

If any provision(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provision(s).

Initially adopted as D-314.01 April 27, 1999
Revised June 15, 2004
Renumbered D-102.01 December 20, 2006
Reviewed without revision May 8, 2009
Revised April 4, 2014
Revised May 10, 2019