|Benefits of Outcomes Assessment
For faculty and the academic support staff, regularly performing outcomes assessment will:
For college administrators, implementing college-wide outcomes assessment will:
- Determine what's working and what's not working.
- Stimulate valuable interdisciplinary and intercampus discussions.
- Provide disciplines and programs the opportunity to tell their story to individuals outside their area: e.g., administrators, politicians, employers, prospective students, transfer institutions.
- Provide disciplines and programs with a powerful way to justify needed resources to maintain or improve programs.
- Demonstrate an institutional commitment to continually improving the academic programs and services offered by the college.
- Provide valuable data to support requests for funds from state and local government and private donors.
- Demonstrate accountability to funding sources.
- Provide valuable data for academic planning and decision-making.
- Enable them to inform elected officials, local businesses, and potential donors about the college's impact on our students and our community in a very compelling and convincing way.
And last, but not certainly not least in importance, systematic outcomes assessment is now a requirement for accreditation by all higher education accrediting organizations. In fact, two of Middle States’ fourteen standards of excellence in higher education speak directly to the importance of creating a culture in which institutional effectiveness and student learning are highly valued by the college community.
Outcomes Assessment at Montgomery College – Guiding Principles
- Ultimately, every unit in the College, whether academic or administrative/fiscal in nature, should be expected to engage in outcomes assessment. Outcomes Assessment should not be performed only in selected units within the College.
- The results of outcomes assessment should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and services offered by college units, and not the performance of individual faculty or staff.
- The faculty should lead in determining the intended educational outcomes of their academic programs and activities, how to assess these outcomes, and how to use the results for program development and improvement.
- Outcomes assessment should be as simple and manageable as possible. The process cannot become so onerous that it hampers or interferes with the delivery of the educational experience or administrative service that it attempts to assess and improve.
- Faculty and staff must use the information collected to develop and improve programs and college services offered by their units (i.e., they must “close the loop”). If outcomes assessment is used primarily as a reporting tool, then this effort will have been deemed a failure.
- Outcomes assessment must be ongoing and performed on a regular basis within each academic and administrative area; it cannot be episodic. In essence, it must become an institutional habit.