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Assessment and Institutional Research

Assessment is the systematic collection of information about student learning to inform decisions about how to improve learning. Three types of information direct indicators, indirect indicators, and institutional data are used to assess student learning at the college, program, and course levels. Whatcom gathers and uses assessment information at all levels.


Level of Assessment

Type of Data





Direct indicators (e.g., learning outcomes)


Core Learning Abilities are overarching skills that are emphasized  throughout many courses in all programs.


Program outcomes are overarching skills that are emphasized  throughout several courses in a specific program.

Course outcomes are the essential skills we would like students to have by the end of a course.

Indirect indicators (students' perceptions, e.g., surveys)

Community Surveys


College Surveys

Community College Survey of Student Engagement (2010)

Student Opinion Survey (2008)

Other college surveys...

Program Surveys

Academic Program Surveys (i.e., Graduating students, math placement)

Majors fair

Course Surveys

Faculty evaluation and review process

Institutional data (e.g., rates and numbers)

Community Data

Whatcom County Data

Community College Data

State Board of Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) Reports

Washington State High School Graduate Data

Other community data...

College Data



Enrollment (FTE, Headcount)



Student Achievement Initiative

Student-Faculty Ratios

Study Abroad Program Participation

Transfers to/from colleges

Other college data...


Program Data

Age 50+

Academic Tranfer Graduation Rates (2, 3, 4, and 5-year)

Professional-Technical Graduation and Retention Rates

IBEST (2006 - 2009)

International programs (2003-2010)

Other program data...


Course Data

Course enrollment by quarter (searchable spreadsheets)

Course completion rates

Grade distribution

eLearning data

Other course data...

If you have any questions or ideas about Assessment or the website, please contact Anne Marie Karlberg, Director of Assessment and Institutional Research, at or (360) 383-3302. Kimberlie Struiksma, Program Coordinator, Office of Instruction