About Assessment at Claremont McKenna College

CMC takes seriously its responsibility to assess student learning outcomes at multiple levels. CMC has established the following routine assessment practices.

Assessment of core competencies and general learning outcomes for the College as a whole.

The CMC faculty assessment committee conducts annual assessments of our general learning outcomes. The primary assessment tool is the senior thesis. Committee members work in pairs to assess specific general learning outcomes every year, on a rotating basis. Assessment committee members review senior theses and student presentations against college-wide value rubrics to determine how well students demonstrate their achievement of our institutional learning goals.

Assessment of major and departmental learning outcomes.

CMC faculty members directly assess their students’ learning outcomes within majors and departments. Most departments have developed value rubrics against which to measure their students’ senior theses. Some departments use other assignments or instruments to conduct their assessment of student learning, such as observations within tutorials, presentations, oral interviews or exams, or senior seminar papers. The Office of the Registrar and Institutional Research collects and distributes relevant assessment data to department chairs at the end of every academic year. Department chairs in turn evaluate the results of their assessment exercises and file a report with the Office of Institutional Research, detailing any plans for curricular or assessment reforms for the subsequent year.

Decennial external reviews of academic departments and programs. 

CMC conducts external reviews of departments and programs on a rotating 10-year schedule. Departments produce in-depth self-study reports that are shared with a team of experts in the relevant field. CMC hosts visiting external teams on campus for three days each semester to conduct interviews with faculty members, administrators, and students; observe classes and other instructional activity; and review a program’s student learning outcomes assessments. The final report composed by the visiting team is shared with the department, the Assessment Committee, the senior administration, and the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees. It also serves as a compelling impetus for considerations related to improving departmental curricula, administrative operations, staffing, budgeting, and learning outcomes.

For more information on CMC’s routine assessment programs, please contact T. Colleen Wynn, AVP for Institutional Research and Assessment, who serves as CMC’s Accreditation Liaison Officer.