September 28, 2021

Yvonne Cartwright
Whatcom Community College
(360) 383-3312

Whatcom Community College Named to 2021 Class of Excellence in Assessment Designees

Whatcom Community College was recently named as one of only two colleges nationwide with an Excellence in Assessment designation. The Excellence in Assessment (EIA) designation spotlights colleges that successfully integrate assessment practices across the institution, provide evidence of student learning, and use assessment and student success data to guide institutional decision-making and improve student performance.

The evaluators noted: “Whatcom Community College has put significant time and effort into making assessment a sustainable, integrated, and useful part of its institutional practices. Additionally, Whatcom has worked hard to develop an organized and sustained effort at involving faculty and staff, including adjunct faculty, in assessment planning and implementation processes. Whatcom’s assessment and institutional research website is rich with evidence of assessment changes, which are monitored and communicated publicly to stakeholders across the institution. Whatcom Community College’s transparent and honest evaluation of their practices is refreshing.”

The designation was created to acknowledge on a national level the important work colleges and universities are doing through comprehensive assessment activities and to highlight those practices so other institutions can draw upon them to inform their own efforts. As part of the application process, colleges and universities were asked only to detail the specific assessment activities they’ve undertaken, but also provide the reason why such efforts are a priority for them. The designees needed to demonstrate how aligned processes, building from course-based assessment, foster a coherent, collaborative approach to assessing student learning and using student success data.

“Each year since 2016, the Excellence in Assessment Designation process has continued to improve and mature…there is now documented evidence that there is not one right way to ‘do’ assessment. Congratulations to … this year’s designees!” said Dr. Gianina Baker, the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) Acting Director.

The EIA Designations are directly linked to NILOA’s transparency framework. The application process for the designation includes a rigorous and systematic self-study. Accredited, degree-granting institutions working to implement and sustain comprehensive use of assessment of student learning outcomes are eligible to receive the designations. More information on the designation can be found on the EIA designation web page.

The sponsors of the EIA program are the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), and VSA Analytics. The EIA is endorsed by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
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