Letter to the Students

Dear Students:

Rhodes State College is committed to refining and enhancing student learning and success. Our academic mission is to provide quality higher learning programs and services to foster the intellectual and professional growth of diverse students to raise the educational attainment and advance the quality of life in the service community. Our instructional purpose is to “kindle [in you] a passion for learning,” which will extend far beyond your time at this college. Our hope is to graduate students with not only relevant workplace skills, but to graduate persons who understand and appreciate the world in which they live, who can think critically, and who can communicate effectively.

Since 2002, the College has implemented many changes to fully document the extent of student learning at the College and enhance our curricula and teaching/learning methods. Those changes were: the establishment of an electronic portfolio database to house writing samples; the use of the ACT CAAP test to assess student growth in reading, writing, and critical thinking; creation of the First Year Experience course; and adding a capstone course to all program curricula. These changes have been in place and affecting the types and kinds of learning that you are or will be experiencing at the College. Faculty and staff are making sure that your learning experiences come from the information found in our college’s assessment process.

Assessment is about continuous improvement or improving future performance. The quality of performance is NOT judged against preset standards such as a scale of numbers, but rather, assessment is feedback to you, the learner, without negative consequence and involves providing statements about your strengths and areas for improvement. It is about adding value to your educational experience and demonstrating just how much you have grown while a student at Rhodes State.

Of course, it is necessary at certain times to evaluate your performance against preset standards. The College will at times be collecting data and measuring your performance in order to judge the quality of your efforts. Yes, we still have grades, but we have started to measure the extent of learning in other ways as well.

Our goal is for students to recognize the importance of assessment in tracking their progress and growth. As time progresses we may ask you to participate in maintaining your own growth record . . . after all, learning is a partnership. On balance, we will become partners by helping each other provide quality experiences.

Not only are your technical abilities of major importance to us, but so are your abilities to communicate, to understand the society in which you live, and your ability to think critically in order to solve problems and issues. These are essential elements of our assessment process at Rhodes State College.

As you develop questions, feel free to contact any of the division deans or the Student Advising Center with any questions you may have, but before doing so, please check the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on this site.