What is Institutional Effectiveness?

Institutional effectiveness refers to how well an institution is achieving its mission and goals.  Institutional effectiveness means engaging in ongoing and systematic assessment of programs, services, and operations, with the goal of continuous institutional improvement.  Since student learning is at the heart of an educational mission, meaningful assessment of student learning is fundamental to institutional effectiveness.

What is Assessment?

Assessment is the gathering of reliable evidence that informs continuous improvement and has implications for planning decisions and resource allocation.

Assessment is expected to:

  • Be an ongoing process that serves as a formative means of assessing a unit’s strategic goals.
  • Involve a systematic gathering, analyzing and interpreting of data to determine how well performance matches expectations.
  • Use the resulting information to understand and improve programs, services or operations.

Guiding Principles 

  • Assessment is relevant. It is linked to the college’s educational mission and strategic and operational goals.
  • Assessment is useful. Assessment results are used to inform planning and budgeting decisions at both the institutional and unit level. Assessment findings are also used to improve processes, procedures and services.
  • Assessment is realistic and sustainable. Assessment efforts should be reasonable in terms of the resources available and expectations for providing useful results.
  • Assessment is non-punitive.
  • Assessment is a process used to identify where practices are strong and where they should be changed or improved. Effective assessment depends on reliable results and honest reflection, neither of which should be used in a punitive manner. 
  • Assessment is comprehensive. Meaningful results are derived from using multiple valid methods.

Why is Assessment Important?

  • Improve programs and services through assessment results that identify areas for change.
  • Support decision-making processes, planning, program reviews and accountability.
  • Demonstrate that a program or service is accomplishing what it claims it is accomplishing or that students are learning what it is intended they learn.
  • Inform students, faculty, staff and other stakeholders of the state of student learning or of a program or service and its impact.

How is Institutional Effectiveness related to SACSCOC?

SACSCOC's Principles of Accreditation, Core Requirements and Standards 7.3 and 8.2.c, with which the college must comply, address institutional effectiveness of administrative units:

7.3 The institution identifies expected outcomes of its administrative support services and demonstrates the extent to which the outcomes are achieved. 

8.2.c The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes,
and provides evidence of seeking improvements based on analysis of the results in the areas below:

a. Student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs. (Student outcomes: educational programs)
b. Student learning outcomes for collegiate-level general education competencies of its undergraduate degree programs. (Students outcomes: general education)
c. Academic and student services that support student success. (Student outcomes: academic and student services)

See Appendix H for more information on academic and student support services vs. administrative support services