• A group of CCBC students walk on the CCBC Catonsville campus

Learning Outcomes Assessment

The Community College of Baltimore County values learning and is committed to ensuring that its students grow as learners and develop a passion for life-long learning.

The success of students, instructional units, and the institution as a whole depend upon continuous improvement of student learning. The College offers faculty substantial assistance in developing outcomes assessments at the program and course level and in using results to enhance instruction and improve student learning.

Assessment Definition

Assessment is a purposeful, systematic, and collaborative process for documenting what students have learned and how their knowledge and skills have grown. It is a deliberate course of action that defines expected student achievement in terms of learning outcomes, and measures actual student achievement using predetermined internal standards and external benchmarks. Assessment at CCBC is driven by the desire to improve student learning. Our goal for assessment is to catalyze the institution's  transformation into one which creates the best conditions for learning, encourages best practices, and inspires creativity and innovation.

Assessment Philosophy

While assessment is a natural and ongoing component of the instructional process, and evaluating the effectiveness of instruction is a faculty responsibility that is necessary for the improvement and verification of learning, ALL members of the institution share responsibility for student learning during their tenure at the College.

Continuous improvement of learning is a collective enterprise where the success of instructional units depends upon the organized support and cooperation of others. The College is dedicated to providing faculty with substantial assistance in the development of learning outcomes and program outcomes assessment processes and in the revision of instructional practices that may follow from outcomes assessment.

The process of assessing learning outcomes is a means to an end, that end being improved learning. As part of assuming the professional responsibility that goes with teaching, faculty identify, design, and implement specific learning outcomes assessments. The results, once analyzed, form the base for organized change that positively influences student learning.

Learning outcomes assessment is neither precise nor perfect, and its data are interpreted with that in mind. It is a way of thinking about quality that comes from our willingness to continually examine, question, and, as necessary, alter what we do as an educational institution.

In no instance are the results of learning outcomes assessment used in a punitive manner, neither in reference to students nor to personnel. The climate of cooperation and focused efforts to improve permeates the assessment process. Such an atmosphere relieves staff of fear and allows them to approach both instructional and program assessment with an open and creative mind.

Learning outcomes assessment provides feedback to faculty that allows them to strengthen and improve the educational process, in ways that promote more appropriate, more extensive, and/or higher level learning.

Assessment Activities

Course Level Assessment
  • Assesses student achievement of learning outcomes specified in the Common Course Outline
  • Uses baseline achievement results to identify areas for improvement
  • Tests the effects of curricular and instructional interventions on student achievement
  • Should occur at least once per subject every ten years, but may occur multiple times in a subject for courses within that area
  • May be triggered by internal departmental initiatives (e.g., innovation), trend data on student outcomes (e.g., course grades or success rates), or feedback from external stakeholders (employers or receiving institutions for transfer students)
General Education Assessment
  • Assesses student achievement of General Education outcomes 
  • Uses baseline achievement results to identify areas for improvement
  • Tests the effects of curricular and instructional interventions on student achievement
  • Occurs once every three years in each course that applies for and receives designation as a general education course
Program Level Assessment
  • Assesses the extent to which a program has achieved the Program Outcomes (e.g., for administration, curriculum, instruction, and student outcomes)
  • Includes a Program Outcomes Assessment Project (POAP) that uses baseline data to identify targets for program improvement and reassesses outcomes after interventions
  • Occurs every five years for each program 
Continuing Education Learning Outcomes Assessment
  • Assesses student achievement of learning outcomes at the course and program levels
  • Involves a wide variety of noncredit courses and programs that provide workforce development and lifelong learning opportunities
  • Uses a variety of assessment modalities (e.g., skill demonstrations, portfolio assessment, external standardized testing, internships and clinical placements, and external professional certifications)
  • Uses baseline achievement results and external benchmarks to document learning and identify areas for improvement
Institutional Assessment
  • Assesses the college's achievement of its mission and goals
  • Tracks metrics associated with CCBC's Strategic Plan, Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) reporting requirements, and Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Accreditation to foster institutional improvement
  • Associated assessments can be ongoing or occur periodically such as semi-annually, annually, or biennially

Assessment Boards and Committees


  • Learning Outcomes Assessment Advisory Board (LOAAB)
  • General Education Review Board (GERB)


  • General Education Assessment Teams (GrEATs)
  • Program Review Committee
  • Institutional Planning, Assessment and Review Committee (INPARC)