What is Assessment?

Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information to support and guide continuous improvement. At Hostos, we focus on the assessment of academic programs and administrative and educational support services (AES). Assessment enables us to analyze what is (or is not) and provides us with information to guide continuous improvement across academic departments and AES units. Although academic assessment is primarily focused on the assessment of student learning outcomes, there is overlap with the assessment of student supports offered by administrative and educational support (AES) units. Here at Hostos, we have designed a tool that helps systematize assessment and improve the transparency and collaborative assessment of the overlap between academic departments and AES units.


The Annual Planning and Assessment Reporting Template (A-PART)

Whatever your perception of assessment may be, Hostos Community College has systematized college-wide assessment and emphasizes its primary purpose: to provide a meaningful opportunity for reflection, discussion, and informed decision-making. To this end, assessment activities at Hostos are designed, scoped, and supported to help units/programs be reflective learners and continuous improvers; constantly reflecting on the question: "What have I learned about my unit/program and what implications does it have for how we can operate even better?"
The backbone of this framework is the A-PART, which calls upon each academic department and AES unit to define a series of activities for the year that helps them improve their effectiveness, and document progress achieved and identify proposed actions informed by assessment of the results. Each degree program and some units also select a student-learning outcome or student support. The A-PART is reviewed and revised with divisional leadership to ensure A-PART plans support annual operational plan priorities, which in turn supports the overall five-year strategic plan of the college.
A-PARTs consist of various sections to guide the reporting. One section records the department or unit goals, related activities, and subsequent improvements proposed based on the results. Another section records the student learning or support outcomes assessment conducted by the degree programs or AES units, respectively. In each of these sections, the primary objective is to provide a clear link from the results of the assessment or activities (depending on section) to the proposed next steps (“closing the loop”) activities and resources needed to implement these next steps in the following academic year.