Contact: Amy Landers, Student Learning Assessment Coordinator

For information on placement testing, please call (952) 358-8201.

Understanding Our Students' Learning

At Normandale, we seek information about what our students are learning in order to improve their learning, and we engage in this process in many ways and at different levels within the College.  In higher education, this practice is referred to as "assessment" of student learning. 

"Assessment of student learning is the systematic gathering of information about student learning and the factors that affect learning, undertaken with the resources, time and expertise available, for the purpose of improving the learning."  (Barbara Walvoord, Professor Emerita, University of Notre Dame) 

Student Learning Across the College

We gather information about the extent of our students' achievement of our College-wide student learning outcomes.  These "Core Learning Outcomes"  state that our students will...

  1.  Think critically and creatively
  2.  Communicate effectively
  3.  Demonstrate personal responsibility and social/life skills
  4.  Demonstrate local and global civic responsibility

Each academic and student affairs department is engaged in asking questions of interest related to student achievement of these Core Learning Outcomes, framed in a way that is meaningful for the department.  For example, successfully employing the scientific method may be used as evidence of critical thinking in biology, while successfully analyzing an income statement may be  used as evidence in accounting. 

We also gather information about our students' whole college experience, which can have a profound impact on their learning, via the Community College Survey Student Engagement.

CLO 1:  Think Critically and Creatively
Critical thinking is an evaluation process that involves gathering and analyzing opinions and information relevant to the topic under consideration.  Creative thinking is the ability to combine existing ideas and imagine new ones.  When applying critical and creative thinking, students must use theory, embrace ambiguity, take risks, test for validity, generate new questions, and persist with the problem when faced with obstacles, errors, and the possibility of failure.  Critical and creative thinking can be applied to all subject areas and modes of analysis.

CLO 2:  Communicate Effectively
Communicating effectively is the skill of interacting with diverse individuals and groups in many contexts and modes, including face-to-face, written, and digital.  Students will demonstrate that they can communicate in modes that are appropriate for different contexts and purposes.

CLO 3: Demonstrate Personal Responsibility and Social/Life Skills Personal responsibility is the ability to reflect on one's ongoing life experiences and act on them in a way that shows intention and commitment.  Social/Life skills are ways of navigating the ups and downs of personal and communal existence so as to foster and maintain integrity and depth of involvement.

CLO 4:  Demonstrate Local and Global Civic Responsibility Civic responsibility is the process of becoming informed about social, political, economic, and environmental issues within their historical and contemporary context, then responding to those issues with considered ethical, compassionate, and productive actions. Responsible citizens seek ways to improve conditions for the planet and its people, beyond their own immediate needs.

Link to more information about the CCSSE

Student Learning at the Course or Co-Curricular Program Level

In a given academic course or co-curricular program, individual instructors and student affairs professionals engage in assessment of student learning in an effort to ensure that students achieve the stated learning outcomes for the course or co-curricular program.  Learning outcomes for a particular academic course can be found in the common course outline for that course.  To view the learning outcomes for a course, please click on the link below entitled "common course outline" and select the desired course.