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Assessment and Strategic Plan

Dr. Victoria Ferrara
Director, Educational Assessment
(914) 674-3094

Dr. Susan Waddington
Educational Assessment Specialist
(914) 674-7663

Purpose and Core Values

Grounded in the Mercy College mission to provide motivated students with the opportunity to transform their lives through education, our mission regarding educational assessment is to guide and support faculty and staff in their efforts to improve the quality of courses, programs and the student learning experience by clarifying expectations and using reliable and valid measures of learning achievement to determine the impact of pedagogical and support strategies.

Below are the core values of our educational assessment process:

  • Continuous quality improvement
  • Faculty-driven assessment processes
  • Collaborative decision-making
  • Assessment as an integral part of the teaching and learning process
  • Scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Use of optimum quality, meaningful, and purposeful assessment measures and evidence that are faculty-centered
  • Integrating technology toward operational efficiency
  • Promoting transparency in assessment policies, processes, and activities.
Academic Program Self-Study

The program self-study is a reflective tool for faculty under the leadership of the Academic Unit Head in each program. Its purpose is to identify the program's strengths and weaknesses, resource distribution and needs and potential areas for improvement.

While academic programs complete an annual assessment of their key courses and program results, the formal program self-study is required every five years to facilitate profound reflection and investigation by Academic Unit Heads and their faculty. The self-study report generated by the programs includes:

  1. Brief overview
  2. Curriculum and student learning assessment
  3. Student demographics, enrollment, and retention
  4. Faculty and staff
  5. Facilities and equipment
  6. Informational and student support resources
  7. Program marketing
  8. Summary of the program's needs and prospects
  9. External review of program self-study

Upon completion, the self-study report is reviewed by the appropriate curriculum committee. Informed by the evidence in the self-study report, and with a particular emphasis on student learning outcomes assessment data, the committee submits a summary of its findings along with recommendations for program development and improvement to the Academic Unit Head, Dean, and Provost. The Deans use this information for planning for the school. At the start of the following school year, the curriculum committees hold a meeting at which the Deans and Academic Unit Heads discuss what advances have been made on the committees' recommendations for program development.

Institutional Student Learning Goals

The guiding principle of the assessment process continues to be educating the whole student, which embodies the College's mission, and reflects the following institutional learning goals. 

Graduates will:

  1. Be able to apply liberal arts education to lifelong learning
  2. Attain and demonstrate proficiency in analysis, communication, information literacy, and information technologies
  3. Demonstrate disciplinary knowledge and skills that will enable them to compete successfully in their desired fields. 
  4. Be able to apply knowledge of personal, ethical and social responsibilities toward effective decision-making
Program Learning Outcomes

All academic programs have learning outcomes which provide expectations for student learning and are published on the program websites. 

Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) are assessed over a five-year period. On an annual basis, programs create an assessment plan which identifies the PLOs it will assess, as well as the appropriate assessment measures and assessment methods for each. As shown in the figure below, the process requires academic programs to collect evidence of student learning at least 25% of their PLOs in each of the first four years of the cycle; with analysis, interpretation and implementation of changes occurring each year, as necessary. In the fifth year of the cycle, faculty in the academic program conduct a comprehensive self-study (rooted in a variety of performance indicators, including student learning) that guides programmatic change.

Key Dates

Aug/Sep 2015 Receive Formative Feedback from Assessment Sessions OEA, AUH
Sep 30, 2015 Refine AY15-16 Assessment Plans (if necessary)
Submit revised AY15-16 Assessment Plan (if applicable)
AUH, Faculty
Dec 23, 2015 Collect Fall Assessment Data/Evidence if Indicated in the Program Assessment Plans AUH, Faculty
May 10, 2016 College Spring Data/Evidence as Indicated on Program Assessment Plans AUH, Faculty
May 30, 2016 Analyze AY15-16 Data and Hold Assessment Retreats AUH, Faculty
June 30, 2016 Submit AY15-16 Assessment Findings Report
Submit AY16-17 Assessment Plan


  • Reassessment of PLOs where changes were made must occur within the five-year cycle
  • Comparisons of student performance in online and face-to-face course sections must be included in the finding reports each year
  • OEA will enter information into AMS for programs

Academic Unit Head
Faculty: Program Faculty Other than AUH
OEA: Office of Educational Assessment