Program competencies: South Central College (SCC) students who graduate with an Associate in Arts (AA) degree are expected to be able to demonstrate:
Critical Thinking: The ability to utilize methods of logical inquiry and reasoning.
Communication: The process by which a person, through the use of mutually understood signs and symbols, verbally and/or nonverbally, consciously or not consciously, conveys meaning to another.
Research Proficiency: The ability to engage in systematic inquiry in order to study and/or answer a question or problem.
Global Perspective and Social Responsibility: The understanding of oneself and others as mediated through diverse cultures, values, and worldviews.
Assessment process: The program competencies are measured using qualitative and quantitative methods of artifacts generated by students as part of a one-credit Capstone course required for all AA students with 40 or more credits. The Capstone course is designed to provide students with a guided research experience in the field of their choice to help prepare them for upper division coursework. The course is also designed to provide the AA program a means by which to collect and organize assessment data for the purpose of evaluating program competencies of graduates. There are several expectations for how the course is to be taught in order to maintain consistency. Faculty members teaching a section of this course are expected to use a standard syllabus (with course purpose, learning expectations, and grading scheme) as well as faculty-approved assignment descriptions and grading rubrics.
A collection of items are prepared by the student, collected by the Capstone faculty, and assessed by all program faculty during summer assessment days. The items include:
- Capstone project: A 10-15 research paper (measures written communication, critical thinking, and research proficiency)
- Capstone presentation: A 5-10-minute oral presentation in front of the class (measures oral communication skills).
- Global Perspectives and Social Responsibility Essay: A personal statement/reflection measures written communication and global perspectives and social responsibility.
- Standardized Test: Completion of a standardized test (measures critical thinking and written communication skills).
After the assessment data is collected, results are analyzed. Competencies where students are particularly challenged are prioritized. Once faculty identify the most pressing competency improvement areas, teams plan and complete (short and long-term) projects geared toward improving student learning. Once projects are implemented, new assessment data is collected to determine the success or failure of the assessment projects.