POLICY TITLE: Academic Assessment Policy
POLICY NUMBER: 3.1.1
EFFECTIVE: November 29, 2017
The mission of the Community College of Rhode Island stipulates that, “Our primary mission is to offer recent high school graduates and returning adults the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for intellectual, professional and personal growth through an array of academic, career and lifelong learning programs.” As such, the Office of Academic Affairs is the primary unit tasked with effectively ensuring achievement of CCRI’s mission regarding how well its students learn.
The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) Standards mandate that CCRI faculty and administration systematically develop, assess, and document student learning outcomes as well as demonstrate continuous improvement as a means of demonstrating CCRI’s commitment to assuring educational quality to the public and retaining its institutional accreditation. The Rhode Island Council on Postsecondary Education also require systematic program evaluation and reporting in accordance with national and regional accreditation agencies, as well as its Policy on Academic Program Review.
Academic assessment is a multifaceted, formal, and systematic plan for the examination of all curricular content, alignment of courses with student learning outcomes, and instruction of content, as well as the intentional collection of formative and summative data for the evaluation of student learning. Academic assessment involves courses regardless of their location, instructor (full-time or part-time), or modality (face-to-face classroom, hybrid, or online). Creating a culture of continuous improvement at CCRI is imperative to understanding what students are learning, what is required to demonstrate as they progress through their program of study, and how well the curriculum prepares students for their chosen professions or academic careers.
A formal Academic Assessment Plan (AAP) is required for each academic program covering the majors and certificates of the program; an AAP is also required for the General Education Core Curriculum. Academic support units (i.e., academic departments with no majors or certificates) which award academic credit in support of any academic program(s) are not required to have a formal AAP. These units are required to assess and report on the effectiveness of the courses, instruction, and learning of its students. Documentation of continuous improvement at the course level in support of Academic Programs is, therefore, required for academic support units.
AAPs are to include the regular, systematic collection, analysis, and reporting of findings. Documentation of the AAP is required through an Annual Academic Program Report (AAPR) contained in an institutional online system. A review of each AAPR for quality assurance purposes and approval from the Academic Dean overseeing the program is also required. The end-result of the AAPR process is the development of a Progressive Refinement Plan explicating the changes needed to ensure continuous improvement of the academic program.
In addition, the Office of Academic Affairs, through the Program-Based Review and Assessment Committee, will establish, maintain, and oversee the process of implementing and publishing a five-year schedule for regular and periodic Academic Program Review (APR). APRs are required for all academic programs (majors and certificates) and include information from the AAPRs generated for the previous years. In addition, APRs are to be reviewed and approved by the Academic Dean of the program in accordance with the standards and guidelines of the Program-Based Review and Assessment Committee, and submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs when completed.
Academic Department – An academic unit with 6 or more full-time faculty
Degree granting program – An academic program that awards degrees and certificates
Academic support unit – An academic unit or program that awards no degree or certificate or has less than 10 graduates per year
All Academic programs and departments.
The office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs is responsible for implementing and maintaining this policy.