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What does NIC mean by assessment?

Simply put, assessment at NIC is an intentional process to help the college ensure our expectations for student learning outcomes match the reality of what you are actually learning and demonstrating. 

Assessment work should lead to positive improvements. Where learning is not happening as we expect, we work to identify changes we can make to the learning environment – including courses, programs and services – to better serve you and promote learning. And where learning matches (or exceeds) our expectations, we celebrate that!

NIC’s Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee is committed to fostering a positive culture of assessment on campus. The committee firmly believes that faculty-driven, student-centered assessments are the most effective means to create a positive assessment culture. 

How does assessment impact me?

Assessment is not possible without you – our students. The purpose of assessment is to measure and take action to improve student learning across the institution. You are an essential partner in the process. 
Using Rubrics for Assessment: NIC is committed to providing the best learning environment for students. To determine if courses and degree programs, student services and institutional operations are effective, we analyze information related to student learning by assessing student artifacts (e.g., course work, student portfolios, etc.) and measuring student success using GEM and program-outcomes-based rubrics. 

When measuring student performance, student identities are always kept confidential and are never shared when these data are reported. 

The college uses these results to act, to bring about change and to support continuous learning improvements, which benefits you and future students.

GEM and Program Assessment are the two primary systematic assessment processes that we use to collect data on student learning across programs and the general education curriculum. 

Each semester, faculty in GEM areas and programs across campus enter student performance data through Canvas assessment rubrics. These rubrics are tied to state and program-level competencies.

Over the summer, NIC staff from IT, eLearning and the Office of Planning and Effectiveness input the student learning outcomes assessment data into data dashboards for GEM areas and programs. Faculty then gather each Fall and Spring Semester to discuss the data dashboards, look for gaps in student performance and think through action plans to take as a result. 
These action plans are reviewed by the Dean of Instruction and division chairs, and plans are discussed at the GEM and program levels. Action plans are then reevaluated the next cycle to determine successes and to look for learning improvement stories.

How can I learn more?

The Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee meets monthly to discuss current initiatives, trends and relevant assessment information about all things assessment at NIC. You are welcome to reach out to any SLOA Committee member or to join a meeting!

If you have any questions or concerns, contact Student Learning Outcomes Assessment

• Chair: Scott Estes at
• Assistant Chair: Laura Templeman, at

Assessment is part of NIC’s efforts for quality assurance and continuous quality improvement. Accreditation is another major internal and external mechanism for quality assurance. NIC is committed to maintaining its accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). 

NIC Accreditation

NWCCU Accreditation Information