IE Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:           Where do I get learning outcomes?

A:            Program learning outcomes are available from your dean. More information about program learning outcomes will be available in faculty development sessions to be held throughout the academic year.

Q:           How do I use my learning outcomes to support my program? (good or bad)

A:            A small number of learning outcomes have been selected by the deans of each school. Curriculum mapping will begin the first week of September, 2012. The maps will guide the assessments and criteria success for each learning outcome.  It is very important to use assessment to document the degree to which students achieve target outcomes.  Results of assessment will be used to improve student learning outcomes.

Q:           What is needed from individual faculty members to support institutional effectiveness?

A:            Faculty members need to participate in curriculum mapping to determine how specific courses and activities support the student learning outcomes support the learning outcomes for the school and program. After curriculum mapping is completed, faculty and deans will determine how the outcomes will be measured (assessed) and define success as measured by the assessment tool. The next step is to collect evidence of student learning based on results of assessment findings and use the results to improve specific activities in the learning process. A visual example of the process is displayed below (adapted from Northern Virginia Community College).

Academic Assessment Loop

Q:           How often do faculty members report what they are doing ?

A:            The college is on a one-year cycle for assessment. The deans will guide goal setting and reporting activities for each program of study. Additional workshops will be held regularly to help faculty and academic administrators learn how to document effectiveness using current approaches that are easily embedded in course delivery.

Q:           What will faculty need to work on during the next year?

A:            Faculty members need to work on teaching their classes and monitoring student learning. Those activities will be adapted to the appropriate format for documenting effectiveness.  Deans and coordinators for specific programs will follow up as the semester progresses. Standard activities to assess the achievement of student learning outcomes within a program will likely be distributed to faculty members as the institutional effectiveness procedures are developed.

Q:           How do I use clickers for assessment in the classroom?

A:            Clickers are available in the Center for Excellence. Dr. Pollock can show you how to use them (  An example of clicker use in the classroom can be found on the CTE web site link

Q:           Why would I want to use clickers in the classroom?

A:            Clickers are part of an audience response system allowing you to find out what students know and what they don’t know in real time. The primary benefit of audience response systems is that they allow faculty to adjust presentations as they teach to assist students in learning critical concepts by identifying learning gaps. Results can be used as evidence of student learning and evidence of change informed by assessment.

Q:           How do I document evidence of achieving student learning outcomes?

A:            Use the following steps and document them in writing or on your computer: Identify the learning outcomes to be achieved. Identify how learning will be measured/assessed. Administer the measurement/assessment tool. Analyze results to identify gaps in outcome achievement if they exist. Use the results to inform change or to document that results for that outcome are being met and move on to another outcome. The key is to keep records of every step either in writing or on your computer.

Q:           Do all programs have to be assessed for quality improvement?

A:            Short answer: Yes.

Long answer:  Any series of courses that, upon completion, results in a degree, certificate, or recognized credential of any kind must be assessed individually to document continuous quality improvement.

Q:           Why exactly is grading not enough for assessment?

A:            Grading that is subjective in nature is not sufficient for assessment because the outcomes measured by the grade are in the faculty member’s head and may be different from one faculty member to another even when used in the same course. Grading that is objective in nature IS sufficient for assessment if common criteria to determine success are used across the course or program. Grades can be used to document assessment if any of the following criteria are met:

1)      There is common and documented agreement among faculty regarding what successful achievement of a particular student learning outcome looks like within a program.

2)      Standard rubrics are used to measure whether student learning outcomes have been achieved.

3)      Individual items on a test, exam, or other student generated artifact are linked to specific student learning outcomes so grades are linked directly to specific program learning outcomes.

Q:           What evidence am I required to submit? Exams? Test Scores?

A:            The evidence required of any specific faculty member must be identified in collaboration with other faculty and program leadership. Dr. Salter will be working with faculty and administrators from all programs to assist in this effort. Evidence can be collected in many forms including:

  • lab grades based on demonstrations of defined levels of competency for specific tasks
  • grades determined by student performance directly related to the specified outcomes
  • success defined by rubrics to determine levels of performance on academic activities
  • Artifacts from individual or group work demonstrating competency levels – an artifact is anything that a student produces which can be assessed. It can be a completed project, a writing sample, a picture, a video, or anything else that a student produces.


Q:           What are some examples of how to measure effectiveness in the classroom?

A:            Use audience response systems (clickers), one minute papers, activities scored with rubrics, responses to test questions that are specifically linked to a learning outcome.


Q:           How often should a faculty member measure student learning outcomes?

A:            Classroom measures should be frequent. The best way to become a reflective practitioner is to assess early and often so learning activities can be adjusted to meet the needs of the students in the class. While a syllabus contains a standard schedule and list of activities, the lectures and activities should have some built in flexibility.


Q:           Should there be a minimum or maximum number of class learning outcomes?

A:            No. Course student learning outcomes must be linked to program learning outcomes. Program learning outcomes are developed in collaboration with the dean. It is very important to limit the number of outcomes measured and analyzed in a specific cycle so that the assessment process is manageable. Faculty need not measure every program outcome in every course every year.


Q:           Should there be a minimum or maximum number of program learning outcomes?

A:            Program learning outcomes are approved by the state and available through your deans or Institutional Effectiveness. It is very important to limit the number of outcomes measured and analyzed in a specific cycle so that the assessment process is manageable. Faculty need not measure every program outcome every year.


Q:           How often do I need to report evidence?

A:            An assessment cycle will be established for every program. The assessment cycle time will be standard across campus although the outcomes included in each cycle will be determined through collaboration between faculty, administrators, and Institutional Effectiveness.

Q:           How does Bainbridge College add a new program?

New programs begin at the faculty level. Contact the dean to begin the program proposal process. There is a formal and well defined approach for developing a new program. The process that involves data collection and analysis, approval at all levels of college governance, proposal submission to the Board of Regents (BOR) and if approved by the BOR a prospectus is submitted to SACS for review and approval.

Q:           Will you be developing policies and procedures as a standard manual for the college? Are you working to combine policies with Human Resources?

A:            A policies and procedures manual for documenting effectiveness across the college is a long term goal. Human Resources will be involved to the degree that effectiveness of the area must be assessed and improved based on assessment results.

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