The NSCC Student Success Plan defines learning outcomes and assesses student achievement of those outcomes in general education.

General education outcomes at NSCC are defined by faculty representatives from each academic division. These outcomes reflect expectations of the knowledge, skills, values, and beliefs to be acquired by all graduates of our institution and are embedded across our curriculum in all degree and certificate programs. Each outcome is clearly defined by measurable criteria used by faculty to assess student achievement of the outcome.

General Education Outcomes

  1. Communication – Graduates from Northwest State Community College will demonstrate effective communication skills.
  2. Computation – Graduates from Northwest State Community College will perform basic algebraic problemsolving and interpret and communicate numerical data.
  3. Critical Thinking – Graduates from Northwest State Community College will comprehend the implications of a topic or problem, draw on appropriate evidence, and construct well-reasoned conclusions.
  4. Diversity – Graduates from Northwest State Community College will demonstrate awareness of the impact of cultural differences.
  5. Sustainability – Graduates from Northwest State Community College will evaluate the impact of economic, political, social, and/or ecological systems on this and future generations.


Administered each year to selected students who have completed the College Core Curriculum, the CAAP provides measures of General Education learning outcomes across three dimensions:

  • Outcomes Measurement: Comparison of CAAP results to established local and national performance benchmarks to assess achievement of General Education learning outcomes, monitor change in student performance over time, and implement improvement programs
  • Pre- and Post-Core Curriculum: Comparison of CAAP scores (post-Core Curriculum completion) to ACCUPLACER scores (pre-enrollment at NSCC) to measure the value added by the NSCC Core Curriculum to student learning
  • Cross-Institutional: Comparison of CAAP results of NSCC students with those of students from other institutions.

Students who entered NSCC in fall 2003 and later are required to make submissions to an electronic portfolio in order to complete their degrees. The e- portfolio is a collection of student writing which allows the college to evaluate how well it is fulfilling its goals of teaching students to write and to think critically. Sample student writing in portfolios demonstrates the degree to which Associate degree graduates of NSCC are able to perform the learning outcomes central to the college curriculum, as well as the growth of students’ skills as they move through the curriculum. Individual students make submissions to the portfolio database so that the college can examine data on its students as a group.

In order to fulfill the portfolio requirement for graduation, each student’s e-portfolio must include the following:

  • The proposal/research paper from English 111, including the works cited page
  • A late-program essay from the student’s technical program (or, for an associate of arts or associate of science student, from the intended area of study upon transfer), which both communication and critical thinking skills and does not duplicate other portfolio submissions.
  • Any other assignment designated by the student’s specific degree program

Sample portfolio submissions are reviewed by an outside evaluator (or team of evaluators) in coordination with the composition faculty. Rubrics defining desired standards for writing and critical thinking are used to evaluate the sample portfolios. Students will meet the portfolio requirement for graduation as long as they make the required submissions of writing, even if the writing does not meet the desired standards for writing or critical thinking. The portfolio is not designed to assess individual students, but to collect assessment data on NSCC students as a group.