During 2008, a committee of faculty and administrators was formed to review the three existing college-wide associate degree competencies (Writing, Critical Thinking, and Computer Fluency), in order to revise and update them as necessary. The committee was further charged with creating a broader vision for general education, applicable to all students at NECC. Ultimately, this vision included the identification of core skills expected to be developed by students in the course of their studies. The end product was a document entitled, A Vision for Core Academic Skills at Northern Essex Community College. This document was widely distributed and discussed, and endorsed by members of the college community.
In their current form, the skills are as follows:
- Global Awareness
- Information Literacy
- Public Presentation
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Science & Technology
- Written Communication
Each year, one or more of these skills are assessed at the institutional level. The following reports provide these institutional-level assessments.
- Annual Report from the Assessment of Student Learning Committee – 2015-2016 Academic Year
- Written Communication Assessment – 2014-15 Academic Year
- Public Presentation Assessment – 2013-14 Academic Year
- Quantitative Reasoning Assessment – 2012-13 Academic Year:
In NECC’s fourth year of institutional-level assessment, the HOAP (Help for Outcomes Assessment Plans) Committee, comprised of faculty and administrators, decided to assess Quantitative Reasoning (QR), employing the same process used last year: identify students with 45 – 59 credits, contact their instructors, and then inquire about whether an appropriate assignment will be collected. It was acknowledged that it may be difficult to find classes which include QR assignments. AAC&U’s Quantitative Literacy VALUE rubric was selected for product evaluation because it aligned with the Quantitative Reasoning criteria defined by our Core Academic Skills committee.
Three raters were recruited; two are Math Department faculty members, and the third is an Economics professor. Results are summarized in the Report on Year IV Institutional Level Assessment: Quantitative Reasoning Spring 2013.
- Information Literacy Assessment – 2011-12 Academic Year:
In NECC’s third year of institution-level assessment, The HOAP (Help for Outcomes Assessment Plans) Committee, comprised of faculty and administrators, chose to assess Information Literacy. The method chosen was to collect student research projects prepared in response to classroom assignments, products which would subsequently be graded by the instructors. AAC&U’s Information Literacy VALUE rubric was selected for product evaluation because with little modification, it aligned with the Information Literacy criteria defined by our Core Academic Skills committee.
The students whose products were collected in the spring of 2012 were those who had earned between 45 – 59 credit hours at NECC, exclusive of developmental coursework, prior to the beginning of the spring 2012 term. Seven raters were recruited; three were library administrative staff persons, and four were faculty members. Results are summarized in the Report on Year III Institutional Level Assessment: Information Literacy Spring 2012.
- Global Awareness and Quantitative Reasoning Assessment – 2010-11 Academic Year:
For the Year II Institutional Assessment, the institutional assessment co-chairs created a uniform assignment that would tap into the abilities described in two outcomes developed by the Core Academic Skills Assessment Committee, namely Global Awareness and Quantitative Reasoning. The assignment created was a scenario which presented a real-world problem faced by the United States; a graphical display of information relevant to solving the problem; and brief descriptions of situations in six fictional counties including information on political, economic and cultural factors.
The method used involved identifying students and their classes and enlisting the assistance of the class instructors who were asked to administer the assessment to all students in their classes. Three faculty members with backgrounds in social studies or mathematics were recruited to assist with the ratings of the collected student products by applying a rubric specifically developed for this assignment.
Based on the ratings, the conclusion was that student skills in the two core skill areas assessed fall short – often far short – of demonstrating a satisfactory level.
Results are summarized in the Report on Year II Institutional Level Assessment–Global Awareness and Quantitative Reasoning– Spring 2011.
- Communication Assessment – 2009-10 Academic Year: In the fall of 2009, the Assistant Dean of Academic Program Review and Assessment and the Chair of the Liberal Arts Department were charged with implementing the institutional-level assessment of Communication, which had been translated to focus on writing skills. This pilot test was conducted in the spring of 2010. In general, the process involved identifying instructors who had in one or more of their classes students who had earned a specified number of NECC credit hours. Further, these instructors must have developed, or were willing to develop, a writing assignment in their classes which could be assessed using the Rubric for Assessing Writing Skills at the Institutional Level. Instructors agreeing to participate next submitted writing samples from the identified students. In the summer of 2010, a team of raters with writing expertise applied the rubric to the collected products. Results are summarized in the Report on Year 1 Institutional Level Assessment – Communication (Writing Skills) – Spring 2010.