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Taking the Stress out of Assess

by Bill Peirce, Academic Assessment Coordinator

If you're one of the lucky faculty members writing your department's assessment material this fall, the experience doesn't have to be stressful for you. Why not? Help is available that can save you hours (maybe days) of floundering!

By now, many of you have started working on your department's plans for its internal review for the spring course assessment. (See Dr. Vera Zdravkovich's article in this issue of the Instructional Forum.) Be sure to consult the liaison from the Academic Outcomes Assessment Committee (AOAC) to your department. Your department chair will know who that is. (Some assignments were uncertain at press time.)

A good many community colleges and four-year colleges have already begun to assess learning outcomes in individual courses. You might find something in the ERIC assessment database at Use your discipline as a search term, along with terms such as "assessment," and "outcomes."

An exhaustive list (42-pages when printed out) of Internet resources for assessing academic outcomes, including assessment Web sites at individual colleges and disciplines can be accessed at Check it out.

Twelve exemplary community colleges have been chosen to be Vanguard Learning Colleges by the League of Innovation. Among them is the nearby Community College of Baltimore County, CCBC, (formerly Catonsville Community College, Essex Community College, and Dundalk Community College, separately). CCBC has three years of experience with course assessment. I have copies of some of their departments' assessment plans, which I will be happy to share with you. If you're interested in finding out about CCBC's assessment adventure, go to its Web site at and click on "CCBC is proud to be a Vanguard Learning College." Then click on "Outstanding Features" at the top navigation bar; at the next screen, click on "Outcomes Assessment Project." Also, you might find something useful in the assessment materials available at the other Vanguard learning colleges.

Howard Community College has also been working on course assessment for several years. Go to for a list of contact persons.

Lastly, call me at extension 0083 or e-mail me at You're not alone. Help is on the way! 


The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 17, No. 1

Fall 2001