MCC Acronyms & Terms

CTE = Career & Technical Education

HLC = Higher Learning Commission

ii = Informed Improvement

IE = Institutional Effectiveness

SLOs = Student Learning Outcomes

SOC = Student Outcomes Committee

Term Definition

Aggregate Data

Data combined from several measurements which can include data by assessment, by pre-group/post-group, etc.


Example of student work used to assess if student(s) meet course, program or institutional outcomes.


A shared process of purposeful, systematic measurements used to document, reflect upon, and improve subsequent student learning/experiences.

Assessment Activity/Task

Complex and significant tasks students complete to demonstrate achievement of one or more outcomes. Examples include assignments, projects, portfolios, presentations, and demonstrations. Designed to answer the question, “What can students do ‘in here’ to demonstrate the intended outcomes?”

Assessment Instrument

Used to assess student learning. Examples include pre and post tests, surveys, scoring guides, rubrics, etc.

Assessment Pre-group

Beginning general education students, generally first year students.

Assessment Post-group

Completing general education students, generally second year student.

Assessment Week

Generally occurring in February each year, the week in which faculty volunteer to devote one class period for select courses in which students complete an assessment for the outcomes identified for that year’s assessment cycle.

Capstone Assessment Tasks

Significant, culminating assessment points that ask the student to synthesize learning and show evidence of the intended outcomes. Typically include final exams, final projects, practicums, internships, final papers, presentations and portfolios. Can be distributed across several parts of the program or concentrated at the end.


Interdisciplinary faculty teams, or “clusters,” plan and direct the assessment efforts for each of the outcome areas. The clusters are typically comprised of three to five faculty members who select or develop measures to directly assess the outcomes, review the assessment results, and recommend revisions to the assessment tools.


Ideas that the student must be able to comprehend and be able to apply their understanding in different contexts.

Course Competencies

Statements which describe skills or knowledge students are expected to possess as a result of completing the course successfully. Competencies are expressed as observable, assessable behaviors. They correspond to the level of course content, introductory courses having more fundamental competencies and advanced courses having more high-level competencies. Competencies are correlated with instructional topics in the Course Outline.

Course Mapping

The process of aligning (mapping) course competencies with any program competencies and institutional student learning outcomes which ensures the integration of learning.

Course Outline

The course outline indicates the instructional content that is covered in the course and reflects the topics and subtopics of study through which students will achieve the course competencies or outcomes . The outline ensures that a given course covers the same content at all colleges where it is offered, and provides a guide for instructors teaching the course. Instruction in each major topic in the outline provides for the achievement of one or more of the course competencies or outcomes.

Data Governance Agreement

An agreement in which processes and use of data assets from assessment are managed under specific guidelines alleviating faculty concern of how assessment data will be captured and utilized.


The analysis and use of data by faculty to make judgments about student performance. Evaluation includes the determination of a grade or a decision regarding pass/fail for an individual assignment or for a course.

General Education Outcomes

Former phrase used for the current Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

HLC Accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is a regional accrediting body that assures quality by verifying that an institution meets threshold standards and is engaged in continuous improvement. Accreditation is necessary for an institution’s students to receive federal financial aid and transfer their credits to another institution.

Informed Improvement (ii)

A college-wide effort to empower a culture of evidence-based decision-making dedicated to advancing student success.

Institutional Effectiveness

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness supports college decision making through the collection, analysis and dissemination of information. The office supports strategic, operational and departmental planning, studies related to institutional effectiveness, student outcomes assessment, and college accreditation activities.

Learning Activity

An assignment, task, or instructional strategy designed to help students master specific learning competencies or outcomes prior to being assessed.

Learning Objective

A supporting skill, knowledge, or attitude leading to mastery of a competency or outcome.


Knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that a student has attained at the end (or as a result) of his or her engagement in a particular set of collegiate experiences. Outcomes may be developed at the course, program, degree, or institution level.


A sequence of courses that results in a certificate or degree.

Program Map

Visual depiction of how learning progresses by constructing the student's whole experience, from entry to outcome. Program Maps illustrate the connections between courses, outcomes and assessment, allowing the members of a learning community to see where their courses and student learning outcomes are aligned/mapped.


A qualitative assessment instrument that synthesizes the standards to help evaluators classify student work.

Scoring Guide

A qualitative assessment instrument that explicitly describes the standards for good performance to help the student know what “good” looks like. Can be used by students, evaluators or assessors to provide feedback to improve performance or product.

Scoring Guidelines

Descriptions of scoring criteria used to classify student work for each standard.


Abilities that are essential to the outcome; usually learned and mastered through practice and feedback. Combined with what the learner must understand (themes, concepts, issues) these form the content of the learning experience.


Criteria developed to assess a process, a product, or both and make them public in the form of scoring guides and rubrics.

Student Learning Outcomes

Broad , holistic and integrated statements that describe what students will be able to do upon completion of their degree/coursework. Answers the question, “What will students be able to do “out there” that we are responsible for “in here”.

Student Outcomes Committee (SOC)

Faculty Senate Committee that directs activities related to the implementation of MCC's Student Outcomes Assessment Program.