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HWC Assessment Committee: Accreditation

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    Criterion 4B of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) discusses the importance of assessment of student learning as part of accreditation.      


    In fall 2018 the HLC (Higher Learning Commission) visited Harold Washington College for accreditation, after which the visitors wrote the following in their report about our committee’s work:      

    • "HWC has put in a yeoman‘s effort to improve its assessment processes since its comprehensive review in 1998, which labeled its processes “dysfunctional.”       

    • “It was clear from the faculty engagement during the visit that the work of this committee is an incredible point of pride for the faculty involved in the committee as well as for the work of this institution as a whole.”       

    • “Their enthusiasm and excitement for assessment of student learning and the work they are doing is commendable."       

    • “Faculty truly own the assessment process at HWC.”       


    They further wrote about our effectiveness in closing the loop, using the unit assessment work of art professor Paul Wandless as an example.       

    • “Through both the argument and evidence provided during the visit, the assessment committee gave numerous examples of ways in which they have used the information gained from assessment to improve student learning. These include improvements in both general education - which includes cross curricular adoption - as well as in career and technical program areas. For instance, in art and architecture courses, an assessment was administered in 2D design. This assessment allowed faculty to determine that while students possessed the skills necessary to be successful in the next course, they were struggling with correct terminology. As a result, instruction on vocabulary was enhanced in subsequent terms.”       


    Here is the full text of the criterion 4B section of the 2018 HLC report.      


    HLC also keeps a current list of higher education institutions under some sort of sanction​. The list changes constantly, so we periodically read through the current public disclosure statements and action letters to see how many of the sanctions have to do with assessment.       


    In April 2020, we read through all the public disclosure statements and found:       

    • Of the 9 institutions “on notice,” 4 of them had assessment listed as one of the reasons.       

    • Of the 7 institutions "on probation," 2 of them had assessment listed as one of the reasons.       

    • Of the 5 institutions "removed from sanction or designation (past 6 months)," 4 of them had assessment listed as one of the reasons.       


    In December 2019, we read through all the public disclosure statements and found:       

    • Of the 8 institutions “on notice,” 5 of them had assessment listed as one of the reasons.       

    • Of the 8 institutions "on probation," 4 of them had assessment listed as one of the reasons.       

    • The 1 institution with a “show-cause” order had assessment listed as one of the reasons.       

    • Of the 22 institutions "removed from sanction or designation (past 6 months)," 17 of them had assessment listed as one of the reasons.