Assessment of Student Learning

What is Assessment of Student Learning?

Assessment of student learning is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves setting goals and standards for student learning and then systematically gathering and analyzing evidence to determine how well student performance matches those expectations and standards. The main goals in the assessment of student learning are: 1) to document what learning is taking place and, 2) to use the results of assessment activities to improve student learning.

Anoka-Ramsey Community College is committed to having strong programs. Consequently, assessment of student learning is an important part of our strategy to maintain and improve programs at the college.

At Anoka-Ramsey, students are involved in many types of assessments of their learning. Most of these are related to concepts and skills that are learned in a particular course. However, the college is interested in evaluating student learning over broader goal areas as well, which is what assessment of student learning is all about. Knowing about their own learning can also assist students in their educational and career planning.

What are the Broader Goal Areas for Student Learning at Anoka-Ramsey Community College?

The broader goal areas, which are the college-wide goals for student learning, are known as the Guiding Principles. They are:

  1. Critical Thinking- Students will develop the logical and creative skills needed to gather, synthesize, apply and evaluate ideas from a variety of sources, including both qualitative and quantitative data; critical thinking skills are used by students to test ideas and guide actions.
  2. Effective Communication- Students will develop the ability to communicate clearly by integrating information with life experience, expressing insights, and engaging in the clear exchange of ideas and feelings with a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes using an appropriate medium; effective communication skills are used by students to develop and share insights with others.
  3. Accepting Diversity- Students will develop an awareness and understanding of the values, traditions, and unique characteristics of various groups in the U.S. and around the world; human diversity skills are used by students to enhance their ability to function in a diverse global community.
  4. Ethical Decision-Making- Students will develop the ability to identify, discuss, and reflect upon the ethical dimensions and consequences of social, personal and professional decision making; ethical responsibility skills are used by students to promote responsible and productive citizenship.

All programs at Anoka-Ramsey Community College emphasize experiences that promote learning in these four areas. In addition, each program also has more specific goals that students are expected to master in the course of program completion.

What are Some Ways that Student Learning is Assessed?

  • Surveys– Students may be asked to complete surveys where they are asked about the learning environment of the college or to rate their own learning engagement.
  • Laboratory Reports – Students may be asked to write a lab report for a science class, which can be evaluated in a systematic way to determine whether a student has met the desired learning goals for that area.
  • Written Papers & Oral Presentations – Students may be asked to write a paper or give an oral presentation. The paper or presentation can be evaluated to determine whether the student has achieved the desired level of competency in that goal area.
  • Portfolios – Students may be required to compile a portfolio of their work across the course of a program, such as the Associates of Fine Arts degree. This portfolio is then judged by an external advisory committee.