North Arkansas College maintains procedures to assess student learning and educational outcomes which is led by the Academic Assessment team. Assessment is essential to continuous improvement, and therefore a commitment to assessment is deeply embedded in College activities. Assessment applies not only to student learning and educational outcomes but to the College’s approach to improvement of institutional effectiveness.
For student learning, Northark is committed to assessment at the general and program level that proceeds from clear goals, involves faculty at all points in the process, and analyzes the assessment results. The College improves its programs or ancillary services, or other operations, based on those analyses. North Arkansas College reviews programs regularly, seeks external judgment, and benchmarks assessments. North Arkansas College directs attention to persistence and completion indicators of quality and foci for improvement.
The Mission of the Academic Assessment Team is:
“To assist in the implementation and monitoring of the Plan for Academic Assessment, and to ensure utilization of the results and communication of results to constituencies. To review and use assessment data to develop and use processes which lead to continuous improvement.”
At Northark, the Academic Assessment Team (AAT), composed of faculty from each division, a non-voting faculty Assessment Coordinator, and the Academic Deans, the Director of Institutional Effectiveness, and the Vice President of Academic Affairs as non-voting, ex-officio members, has developed and implemented a plan to assess student academic achievement, approved by the Faculty Senate. That plan describes the role of the faculty as follows: “to clearly identify expectations, to help determine what will be evaluated, to coordinate what is taught or enacted and what is evaluated, to provide the basis for communication among faculty, staff and administrators across the institution about important learning and operational outcomes, and to supply direction for co-curricular programs.” Specifically:
- All instructors state clearly on their syllabi the expected outcomes of student learning and the methods of measuring those outcomes.
- Instructors of multiple-section courses select a set of objectives common to all sections of that class; of course, instructors may add additional ones to their individual sections. These courses have a departmental final, a common core on the final, or a mastery test for all sections.
- All courses (unless specifically granted an exemption by the AAT Director) have assignments targeted as Embedded Course Artifacts [ECA]. The instructors, as subject matter experts, have identified these specific assignments that directly measure their course outcomes. From these outcomes, overall “assessment matrices” linking course outcomes with program outcomes and the general learning outcomes have been created. These matrices and the Guided Pathways MAPs (My Academic Plans) were used to create “assessment maps” for each degree, technical certificate, and certificate of proficiency granted by the college. Data from these artifacts is to be collected at the end of every semester to be used as a direct measure of the effectiveness of instruction toward the Institutional GLOs.
- Program/Plan/MAP enrollment, degrees conferred, instructional trends, employment statistics, course enrollment and course success statistics are compiled and reviewed at the end of every Fall/Spring semester.
- Licensure, certification, and Industry Standard National Exam results are reviewed in applicable areas every year.
- In addition, faculty may participate in assessment in other ways such as:
- allowing class time for students in randomly selected general education courses to take the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE).
- reviewing assessment results for their division and proposing changes and, if necessary, proposing budget adjustments to allow the changes.
At North Arkansas College, co-curricular activities promote, encourage, and support student learning and success. In partnership with academic curricula, such activities educate the whole student, preparing each student as a life-long learner, an engaged professional, and a citizen of the world. Co-curricular activities typically occur outside of the formal classroom.
Student learning outcomes assessment is also an expectation for our ongoing accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC); specifically, the HLC Criteria for Accreditation outline the standards to which we are held in ensuring that we evaluate the student learning we claim for students in both the academic and co-curricular environments:
Criterion Four. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement. The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
4.B. The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.
1. The institution has clearly stated goals for student learning and effective processes for assessment of student learning and achievement of learning goals.
2. The institution assesses achievement of the learning outcomes that it claims for its curricular and co-curricular programs.
3. The institution uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning.
4. The institution’s processes and methodologies to assess student learning reflect good practice, including the substantial participation of faculty and other instructional staff members.
General Learning Outcomes
Faculty shall determine a set of General Learning Outcomes that will be assessed in all academic programs. Common learning outcomes are integrated and aligned, with a mature, faculty-led academic assessment process championed by the Academic Assessment Team (AAT), requiring on-going college-wide departmental and program assessment. Northark’s common outcomes for student learning, which are identified as six General Learning Outcomes (GLOs), are widely recognized and promoted through the use of common syllabi throughout departments.
Each instructional department links its courses to the College’s GLOs which are assessed through Embedded Assessments and collected every semester. Results of assessment are presented to the Academic Review Team (ART) on a semesterly basis in order to address gaps that inform the departmental action plans for the following year.
The General Learning Outcomes North Arkansas College state that students will demonstrate mastery in:
- Critical thinking and problem solving across disciplines.
- Life skills in areas such as teamwork, interpersonal relationships, ethics, and study habits.
- Clearly communicating in written and oral formats.
- Using technology that is appropriate for learning.
- Understanding issues of a diverse global society.
- Using math and/or statistical skills.
Program Learning Outcomes
North Arkansas College ensures the academic program outcomes are relevant and aligned with student, workplace, and social needs. Program level learning outcomes and assessments are evaluated and reported at regular intervals. Program-level assessment is the process by which Northark faculty in programs formulate measurable outcomes for their overall program of study, collect student data from courses across the program in order to assess how well students are meeting the program outcomes, and make improvements in program curriculum to help students better achieve competency with the different outcomes. The purpose of program-level assessment is to 1) help students improve their performance on program outcomes and 2) help instructors across programs to better articulate and teach those outcomes. In addition to assessing program learning outcomes, Northark faculty are also informed by external bodies such as specialized accreditors, advisory councils, ADHE, HLC, and industry partners.
The purpose of determining program outcomes, broken down by division and department, is to provide relevant data to academic leaders and faculty in their individual areas of instruction for improving teaching and learning. It is the intent of this policy that these data, presented in this form, will allow Northark Faculty to see potential areas for improvement and the ability to directly address any potential areas of concern.
Philosophy of General Education
The General Education component of college life is designed to expose all students to a common body of knowledge. The learning outcomes of general education at Northark will be common to all students regardless of major. Goals leading to these outcomes will be incorporated into classroom practices by faculty so that course objectives will be clearly linked to the goals of general education.
State Minimum Core Curriculum
North Arkansas College provides for the establishment of a minimum core of courses which will apply toward the general education core requirements for transfer to baccalaureate degrees at state-supported institutions of higher education. North Arkansas College follows the State Minimum Core as described in Section 3 of ADHE’s Policies.
While Northark provides My Academic Plans or MAPs for students who know where they will transfer and their academic program of choice, the College encourages students to check with the transfer counselor at that institution to verify courses required by specific majors. Courses included in the College’s core curriculum are described in the ADHE Policies Section 3.10.
Courses included in the college’s core curriculum are as follows:
English/Communications (Nine hours required from the following)
ENGL 1013 - English Composition I
ENGL 1023 - English Composition II
SPCH 2303 - Public Speaking
Math (Three hours required from the following)
MAT 1213 - Quantitative Reasoning
MAT 1223 - College Algebra
MAT 2123 - Survey of Calculus
MAT 2133 - Introduction to Statistics
MAT 2204 - Analytic Geometry and Calculus I
MAT 2304 - Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
MAT 2404 - Analytic Geometry and Calculus III
Science (Eight hours required from the following)
BIOL 1004 - General Biology for Non-Majors
BIOL 1014 - General Biology
BIOL 1144 - Environmental Science
BIOL 1304 - General Botany
BIOL 1504 - General Zoology
BIOL 2014 - Microbiology
BIOL 2214 - Anatomy and Physiology I
BIOL 2224 - Anatomy and Physiology II
CHEM 1214 - Fundamentals of Chemistry
CHEM 1415 - College Chemistry I
CHEM 1425 - College Chemistry II
GEOL 1014 - Physical Geology
PHSC 1004 - Fundamentals of Physical Science
PHSC 1044 - Introduction to Astronomy
PHYS 2014 - College Physics I
PHYS 2024 - College Physics II
PHYS 2144 - University Physics I
Humanities (Six hours required from the following in 2 areas)
ENGL 2013 - American Literature I
ENGL 2023 - American Literature II
ENGL 2213 - World Literature I
ENGL 2223 - World Literature II
ART 1003 - Art Appreciation
FA 1203 - Film Classics I
FA 1213 - Film Classics II
FL 1303 - Beginning Spanish I
FL 1313 - Beginning Spanish II
FL 2303 - Intermediate Spanish I
FL 2313 - Intermediate Spanish II
DRAM 1003 - Theatre Appreciation
MUS 1003 - Music Appreciation
PHIL 1003 - Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL 1103 - Critical Thought
PHIL 2203 - World Religions
Social Sciences (Three hours required from the following)
HIST 2003 - United States History I
HIST 2013 - United States History II
PLSC 2003 - American National Government
Social & Behavioral Sciences (Six hours required from the following)
ANTH 2023 Cultural Anthropology
ECON 2313 - Principles of Macroeconomics
ECON 2323 - Principles of Microeconomics
HIST 1113 - World Civilizations I
HIST 1123 - World Civilizations II
PSYC 2003 - General Psychology
PSYC 2103 - Developmental Psychology
SOC 2013 - Introduction to Sociology
SOC 2203 - Social Problems
North Arkansas College provides seamless transfer of academic credits from a completed designated transfer degree program to a baccalaureate degree program without the loss of earned credits and without the receiving institution requiring additional lower-level general education credits. The College seeks to eliminate unnecessary, duplicative, and/or hard-to-determine degree requirements when a transfer student has completed all courses required for the state minimum general education core and a transfer degree approved by the AHECB.
Guidelines for associate degrees that are fully transferable.
Associate of Arts. The Associate of Arts degree will be awarded to students who successfully complete a program of collegiate level work that is transferable toward a baccalaureate degree. The degree must include the 35-hour state minimum general education core (Appendix C) that requires courses in English/writing, the humanities and fine arts, history and the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences. The curriculum must require a demonstration of competency in communications (oral and written) and mathematics, and a mastery of skills and knowledge against specified performance standards in specific areas or disciplines. Remedial/developmental education courses must be used for placement purposes only and cannot be used to fulfill degree requirements. Typically, the field of study is not specified in the degree title. The range of hours is 60-64 semester credit hours. Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board Policies Section 3.10 - Appendix B.
Associate of Science. The Associate of Science degree will be awarded to students who successfully complete a program of collegiate level work with an occupational objective of which the majority of occupational courses and all general education courses are transferable toward a baccalaureate degree. The degree must include the 35-hour state minimum general education core (Appendix C) that requires courses in English/writing, the humanities and fine arts, history and the social sciences, mathematics, and the natural sciences. The curriculum must require a demonstration of competency in communications (oral and written) and mathematics, and mastery of skills and knowledge against specified performance standards in specific areas or disciplines.
Remedial/developmental education courses must be used for placement purposes only and cannot be used to fulfill degree requirements. Typically, the field of study is not specified in the degree title. The range of hours is 60-72 semester credit hours.
Exceptions to the range will be allowed when required by accrediting or approval agencies.
Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board Policies Section 3.10 - Appendix B.