Austin Community College uses TracDat to support assessment data collection and analysis, and to promote its use in developing action strategies. This system streamlines assessment plan reporting and results.
Assessment Through TracDat
Assessment is critical to understanding and improving ACC’s effectiveness in all areas. Gathering and analyzing data helps instructional departments make informed decisions about the extent to which students are achieving the learning outcomes. The faculty control the process, just as they control the curriculum taught in their courses. The Institutional Planning, Development & Evaluation office facilitates data collection, while faculty, department chairs, deans, the vice president of instruction, and the provost help to ensure meaningful assessments are conducted and documented.
• identifying Program-level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs) and General Education Competencies;
• mapping these outcomes to the courses in which they are taught;
• measuring these outcomes;
• analyzing the results of the measures;
• creating an action plan for improvement;
• implementing this action plan; and
• “closing the loop” by assessing and evaluating the results of the action plan.
Discipline Assessment Cycle Timeline
Revising PSLOs and their mapping to the courses in which they are taught is done as needed, and the outcomes and courses may remain unchanged for several years. The other steps of the process, however, follow the Discipline Assessment Cycle Annual timeline (PDF).
A discipline’s PSLOs should be assessed over a three-year period; which outcomes are assessed every year is up to the departmental faculty. The assessment of general education competencies follows a general education assessment schedule apportioned by the Component Areas of the Core Curriculum to minimize the burden on any given discipline in a particular year.
ACC often uses the terms “department”, “discipline,” and “program” interchangeably. For clarity, in this document:
- Departments are administrative units that may include several disciplines (e.g., Behavioral and Social Sciences, Health Information Technology);
- Disciplines are areas of study (e.g., Psychology, Health Information Technology); and
- Programs are plans of coursework that lead to an associate degree, certificate, or field of study credential (e.g., AA Psychology, AAS Health Information Technology, Certificate in Medical Coding, Criminal Justice Field of Study).