The assessment process at Rhodes State confirms success of student learning across curricular and co-curricular activities and verifies the indirect impact on student learning across non-academic departments.  Rhodes State uses the assessment process to facilitate systematic culture of evidence implement continuous improvement strategies and determine effectiveness of programs, activities and initiatives implemented across the College.  Accreditation requirements, best practices, and various assessment networks, inform and provide insight to curricular offerings and co-curricular activities that help guide assessment processes at the College.   

What is Assessment?

Assessment is a continuous process that focuses on understanding and improving student learning (UMass, 2001).  It involves making expectations explicit and transparent while setting the appropriate criteria and standards for learning quality.  Assessment includes systematically collecting, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how effective the institution is performing against its stated objectives and targets. Rhodes State further describes assessment as the process for evaluating effectiveness and whether or not the strategic/operational actions (established during the planning cycle) at the course, program/unit and administrative levels are being met. 

RSC Assessment Tool

Purpose and Types of Assessment

Assessment of learning (i.e. SLOs, PLOs, activities, initiatives, etc.) and academic achievement is a meaningful and dynamic process, which aids internal and external stakeholders with understanding the College outcomes and overall effectiveness.  Both academic and support unit assessment processes promote institutional effectiveness and guide planning at the course, program, and administrative levels of the College.   There are five classifications of assessment associated with learning processes:

  • Diagnostic Assessment – used to identify needs and to determine prior knowledge of individual participants (i.e. prior to a learning experience, placement tests/exams).
  • Formative Assessment – provides prescriptive feedback to inform of “next steps” in the instructional process (i.e. quizzes, exams, questionnaire)
  • Needs Assessment - used to determine the knowledge, skills, abilities and attitudes of a group to assist with gap analysis.
  • Reactive Assessment – occurs after a course or learning experience to gather the participants’ opinions (i.e. survey, course evaluations)
  • Summative Assessment – provides quantitative grading and makes a judgment about the participants’ achievement.  Typically takes place at the end of a course of instruction where the goal is to provide overall information on the amount and quality of participant learning (i.e. mid-term/final exams).

Assessment of General Education

General Education at Rhodes State provides a broad foundation of knowledge, preparing students for an ever-changing global and diverse society.  The purpose of the general education component is for students to gain educational knowledge and experience, enabling them to function adequately and/or responsibly in their personal and professional lives and in a diverse and global community.  Assessment of the College’s General Education Core Skills and Abilities is conducted campus-wide, at the course and program levels in addition to the institutional level (i.e. first year experience course, co-curricular programs, departmental activities, etc.) in order to ensure a well-rounded/value-added educational experience for all students. 

Computational Skills

  • Read and understand the situation to determine a solution strategy.
  • Set up the problem with the pertinent information.
  • Solve the problem with the given data using appropriate technology such as calculators or computers as needed.
  • Check the computational results for accuracy and reasonableness
  • Communicate or utilize the results.

Critical Thinking

  • Problem solving
  • Analysis/synthesis
  • Scientific method
  • Discipline-specific modes of thinking
  • Interdisciplinary thinking
  • Logical reasoning
  • Evidence insight through reflection
  • Qualitative skills

Global & Diversity Awareness

  • Appreciation for others as measured through effective interpersonal and collaborative skills with individuals and groups.
  • Awareness of the interdependence and interactive effects of such factors as culture, history, sexual orientation, psychological functioning, education, economic, environment, geography, language, politics, age, gender, ethnic heritage, physical challenges, social skills and religion.

Information Literacy

  • Research,
  • Evaluating sources,
  • Critical reading
  • Internet,
  • Digital communication
  • Analysis of technology
  • Software
  • Visual literacy (bias)


  • Ability to interpret the assignment, Quality of thought processes
  • Control of topic, Structure, Unity, Coherence
  • Quality of details, examples, etc., Awareness of audience
  • Sentence structure, Use of language
  • Punctuation, Spelling, Proofreading, Sentence correctness, Grammar
  • Selection, use, and documentation of research sources using
  • MLA or APA guidelines