College-wide objectives were adopted in conjunction with the four main educational goals (commonly highlighted as ‘Reflect, Engage, Serve, Live’) that accompany Mount Mercy’s mission statement. A multi-faceted formative academic assessment protocol provides a framework for ongoing analysis of student learning in relation to these objectives.
Multiple data sources are used to help assure that students are meeting the stated college-wide, major, and core curriculum objectives, with established cycles for data collection, reporting, and feedback. Curriculum mapping-tie course student learning objectives to major level student learning objectives and major learning objectives to college-wide student learning objectives. The assessment plan includes authentic assessment-assignments and both direct measures of learning (e.g. instructor evaluation of student work) and indirect indicators such as student, alumni and faculty surveys.
A wide variety of programs and services contribute to realizing Mount Mercy’s commitment to a strong and student-focused education. Through a rich core curriculum, service learning experiences, student development opportunities, and many other campus programs, students are encouraged to use reflective thinking capabilities, develop strategic communication skills, serve the common good and set the stage for lifelong learning. Assessment activities include administering nationally recognized instruments such as National Survey of Student Engagement, the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) on a regular basis. Senior and alumni surveys are conducted annual as well as other studies of individual programs on campus.
Each academic major has a set of agreed upon general and specific outcomes for its graduates.
These outcomes are assessed through a variety of established techniques such as portfolios, field- or campus-based projects, presentations, senior capstone projects, final papers, tests, and individual assignments. Faculty members in the appropriate department collaborate to develop an academic assessment strategy that best suits their specialty. Faculty members review and assess selected student learning objectives each year, gathering and interpreting data concerning their graduates and determining appropriate follow-up action. In addition, majors participate in assessment of the college-wide objectives and the core curriculum. Mount Mercy’s faculty members strive to assure that students demonstrate strong achievement in their majors prior to graduation. An important component of the academic assessment process involves faculty collaboration to determine the necessary steps needed to address any noted shortcomings and to build upon areas of student success. Articulating the plan for future improvement is essential to a strong assessment cycle.