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Assessment at Iowa Lakes

Iowa Lakes Community College conducts assessment at various levels, allowing the college to evaluate the quality of its educational programs and administrative functions and to use the assessment results to continually improve. These assessments are included in the college’s integrated planning process, known as the Iowa Lakes Strategic Plan, which is the operational planning tool for the college.

Assessment of Teaching and Learning

Iowa Lakes tracks the results and effectiveness of teaching and learning outcomes and defines direct and indirect assessment for our student’s educational pathway.  

Iowa Lakes Community College Assessment of Student Learning

The College assessment processes focuses on goals for student learning in five areas:

  • Area I        Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILO)
  • Area II       General Education Program
  • Area III     Program Learning Outcomes (PLO)
  • Area IV     Course Learning Outcomes (CLO)
  • Area V      Co-Curricular

Goals for Student Learning Area I: Institutional Learning Outcome (ILO) Assessment

The Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILO) support Iowa Lakes’ mission: To provide opportunities for quality lifelong learning.  Individuals who acquire the basic foundations of learning will be valued citizens who will contribute to the economic development in communities and globally.

An integral part of assessment at Iowa Lakes is the assessment of the three Institutional Learning Outcomes. The Assessment of Student Learning and Program Review Committee (ARC) approved the following definition of Institutional Learning Outcomes:

Institutional learning outcomes are broad macro-level transferable knowledge, skills, and abilities a student is expected to master as a result of their entire experience at Iowa Lakes. These outcomes transcend all (or most) courses and extend to co-curricular activities as well. These outcomes are determined at the institutional level.

Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILO):

Professionalism and Civility (I-1)

  • Demonstrate personal responsibility in one’s civic, social, and academic life.
  • Interact respectfully with individuals of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, beliefs, and values.
  • Work cooperatively as a member of a team.

Oral and Written Communications (I-2)

  • Convey information professionally through verbal, written, technological or visual means.

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (I-3)

  • Locate, interpret, and apply information.
  • Solve problems through conceptualization, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Goals for Student Learning Area II: General Education Program

The Iowa Department of Education requires a general education component for Associate in Arts (AA), Associate in Science (AS), Associate in Applied Science (AAS), and Diploma Programs.  The Iowa Department of Education requires the general education component “to address the ability of the students to reason, think, compute, communicate, and adapt to change.”  General education is intended to provide a breadth of learning to the community college experience.  General education imparts common knowledge, promotes intellectual inquiry, and stimulates the examination of different perspectives, thus enabling people to function effectively in a complex and dynamic world.  Iowa Lakes’ General Education program consists of 40 plus general education credits for an AA or AS degree, and a minimum of 15 credits for an AAS degree.

General Education Program Outcome/ILO





  • Students are able to communicate clearly, both written and oral using the correct medium.
  • Students are able to support ideas with appropriate and adequate information.

ILO: Oral and Written Communications


  • Apply mathematical methods to solve real world problems.
  • Evaluate the validity of mathematical solutions. 

ILO:  Critical Thinking and Problem Solving


  • Form an aesthetic and/or ethical judgement of specific examples.
  • Use the language of the discipline appropriately.

ILO:  Professionalism and Civility

Social Science  

  • Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills in written and oral communication.
  • Students will critique the diversity of human experience, individually and collectively.

ILO: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving


  • Demonstrate safe laboratory practices.
  • Apply scientific inquiry/scientific method to answer questions about the natural world.

ILO: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving


  • Integrate the technology necessary in the workplace environment.
  • Demonstrate knowledge in utilizing software application tools.

ILO: Critical Thinking and Problem Solving.

Student Development

  • Students will develop necessary skills for successful participation in college level courses.
  • Students will demonstrate productive life skills.

Can use any ILO.


Goals for Student Learning Area III: Program Learning Outcome (PLO) Assessment

Iowa Lakes awards degrees, diplomas, and certificates to those individuals who successfully complete programs in arts and science, career and technical, or continuing education areas. The following degrees are awarded for college credit two-year programs: Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Applied Science. Diplomas are awarded for college credit vocational and technical programs of less than two years.

Program Learning Outcomes (PLO) outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities students obtain as a result of completing a certificate, diploma, or degree program.  All program learning outcomes are listed on the Iowa Lakes website to provide transparency to both prospective students and employers.  With the assistance of their advisory committee members (some programs additionally align with third-party accrediting agencies,) program coordinators draft their Program learning outcomes; outcomes are then reviewed and approved by the Curriculum Committee. 

All program learning outcomes are assessed in the five-year program review cycle using an ARC Committee approved form. Program coordinators, along with their advisory committee members, analyze the assessment data, and make changes based upon the results

Goals for Student Learning Area IV: Course Learning Outcome (CLO) Assessment

Iowa Lakes regularly monitors student learning outcomes for all courses. The course learning outcomes are the major knowledge, skills, and aptitudes that a student obtains as a result of the course learning experience.  Course outcomes are clear, concise, measurable, and observable while focusing on the learner.  Course learning outcomes are reviewed annually to ensure their relationship to the program learning outcomes.  

 Goals for Student Learning Area V: Co-Curricular Assessment

Iowa Lakes has adopted the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) definition of Co-Curricular. The HLC defines Co-Curricular activities as “Learning activities, programs, and experiences that reinforce the institution’s mission and values and complement the formal curriculum.” Examples include: Study abroad, student-faculty research experiences, service learning, professional clubs or organizations, athletics, honor societies, career services, etc.  Iowa Lakes’ examples include, but are not limited to student senate, convocations, housing, TRIO-SSS, career services, intramurals, counseling services, Laker Life, College 101, athletics, and the Presidential Scholars program.

Iowa Lakes uses Co-Curricular assessment data from student participation in these activities to increase engagement, define what was of value, and to further complement the curriculum.  The design for all Co-Curricular assessment activities is to link to and complement Iowa Lakes’ institutional learning outcomes.  The following co-curricular activities have been assessed and will continue on a three-year rotation schedule (a comprehensive list can be found in Canvas):

Iowa Lakes Co-Curricular Programs 2019-21

Assessment Conducted 2019-20 School Year

Student Leaders – Camp Foster, Leadership Training

Convocations- Amy Dee, “Your Destiny is Paved with Choices”


Athletics- men’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf, baseball, and softball

College 101-Title IX

Assessment to be Conducted 2020-21 School Year

Presidential Scholars/PTK-

Laker Life-

Performing Arts

Trio/SSS- Bridge Program

Athletics- 5 teams (TBD)


Assessment to be Conducted 2021-22 School Year








Career Services-


Athletics- 6 Teams (TBD)-


For more details regarding assessments conducted at Iowa Lakes, please see the college's Assessment Plan which is adjusted, as necessary, to reflect the changing and evolving roles of assessment at Iowa Lakes Community College.

Closing the Gap on Assessment

Iowa Lakes Community College views assessment as an ongoing, iterative process, where assessment results are used to modify programs, as necessary, and to promote continuous quality improvement of the services the college offers to students. This work is documented in program reviews, which are completed by academic programs and instructional support program/services.

As required by the college’s accrediting bodies, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Iowa Department of Education, program reviews regularly and systematically evaluate student achievement of all program-level learning outcomes (PLOs).

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