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In response to recommendations concerning weaknesses in its assessment/institutional effectiveness program received from the SACSCOC Off-Site and On-Site Reaffirmation Committees during the College’s reaffirmation in 2012, Dalton State has now fully implemented a new academic assessment plan using WEAVE, a centralized web-based and information repository assessment management system. As reported in the institution’s First Monitoring Report submitted to SACSCOC in April 2014 in response to the recommendations, the WEAVE assessment tool and its generated assessment reports provide the evidence and documentation that the College has successfully undertaken a consistent process of assessment that includes the identification of authentic outcomes, assessment that produces meaningful data, and an analysis of that data leading to documented improvements in its educational programs. Indeed, the success of Dalton State’s new assessment plan was shown in the action taken by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees regarding the College’s Monitoring Report at its June 2014 when “no additional report was requested.” Certainly, the web-based centralized assessment system, adopted and implemented during the 2012-2013 academic year, has provided a more robust method of managing the campus-wide assessment process and provides the structure for tracking, linking, and documenting the ongoing and campus-wide assessment of educational programs, including student learning outcomes.

The latest (2017) application to the Weave program has at its core the pursuit of continuous improvement with the following element types for all academic programs and courses (student learning outcomes), including administrative departments responsible for academic and student services:

  • Description
  • Goals (with supporting initiatives, e.g., SACSCOC standards, institutional priorities, strategic initiatives, etc.)
  • Outcomes/Objectives (with supporting initiatives)
  • Measures (source of evidence, description, methodology)
  • Target (set target, findings, analysis of findings and evaluation results, improvement type, improvement description)
  • Action Plans for improvement (with action items)
  • Improvements achieved from previous year’s action plans (closing the loop)
  • Project attachments (documentation in support of assessment report)

To meet institutional goals of effectiveness and continuous improvement, a full and completed assessment report combines all the above elements. These reports help identify educational/administrative outcomes, assess the extent to which these outcomes are achieved, and provide evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results concerning administrative, educational programs, and student learning outcomes.

Since its implementation, the WEAVE assessment tool has helped to ensure that every activity on campus directly supports the College’s institutional effectiveness efforts. It has engaged faculty, staff, and administrators in a culture of continuous quality improvement and promotes active and deep involvement with state and national accreditation efforts, including program reviews and annual reporting. This demonstrates the College’s commitment to improve the quality of its academic and administrative assessment programs to show compliance with SACSCOC standards:

  • 7.1: The institution engages in ongoing, comprehensive, and integrated research-based planning and evaluation processes that (a) focus on institutional quality and effectiveness and (b) incorporate a systematic review of institutional goals and outcomes consistent with its mission. (Institutional planning)
  • 7.3: The insitution identifies expected outcomes of its administrative support services and demonstrates the extent to which the outcomes are achieved. (Administrative effectiveness)
  • 8.1: The institution identifies, evaluates, and publishes goals and outcomes for student achievement appropriate to the institution’s mission, the nature of the students it serves, and the kinds of programs offered. The institution uses multiple measures to document student success. (Student achievement)
  • 8.2: The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves those outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas below:
    1. Student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs. (Student outcomes: educational programs)
    2. Student learning outcomes for collegiate-level general education competencies of its undergraduate degree programs. (Student outcomes: general education)
    3. Academic and student services that support student success. (Student outcomes: academic and student services)