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At Hartnell College, instructional programs leading to a degree or certificate have program outcomes defined. These outcomes explicitly state the skills, knowledge, and abilities that a student should have upon completing the program. To ensure that our students are achieving these program outcomes, faculty conduct assessment. Assessment, as defined by the American Association for Higher Education, is

" on-going process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems, assessment can help us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education."

Hartnell College faculty are actively assessing their programs in order to examine and improve teaching and learning processes. Our programs are assessed at least once in a four-year period, and program courses are assessed at least once before and after program review.