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Planning And Research

Institutional Effectiveness Planning

Institutional Effectiveness (IE) is a set of ongoing and systematic processes and practices that include planning, evaluation of programs and services, the identification and measurement of outcomes across all institutional units (SACS 3.3.1 series of comprehensive standards) and the use of data and assessment results to inform decision making.

Pitt Community College utilizes the CampusLabs "Compliance Assist" online program to coordinate campus wide assessment and IE practices (including SACS compliance reporting).
There are four steps to follow to document your assessment practices:

  1. Determine your Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) and / or Operational Outcomes (OPOs)
  2. Determine your assessment method(s)
  3. Determine your benchmark(s) for performance and collect results data / information
  4. Describe what (if any) changes / interventions are needed derived from the results.

Following these steps will keep you current in your IE planning responsibilities and helps the College continue to develop its culture of assessment.

What are Measures of Student Learning?

Direct Measures (Tangible Evidence)- These provide evidence in the form of student products or performances and demonstrate that actual learning has occurred relating to a specific content or skill. Some examples (that would also satisfy SACS 3.3.1) are below:

Indirect Measures (supports direct measures)- These reveal characteristics associated with learning, but they only imply learning has taken place.

What are Outcomes?

An outcome is the desired effect of a program, service, or intervention but is more specific than a goal. It is student / participant focused. Pitt CC measures two different kinds of outcomes:

A Program Learning Outcome (PLO) focuses on "how students will be different because of a learning experience, the knowledge, skills attitudes and habits of mind that students take with them from a learning experience" (Suskie, 2009, p.117).

Operational outcomes refer to the services we offer and are considered operational rather than learning outcomes. These describe the intended effect that a service has (such as retention or completion rates) instead of what a student learns by participating in a program, service or other intervention.

Reference: Suskie, L. (2009). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass.