Assessment of Student Learning

Assessment is the ongoing process of establishing measurable learning outcomes, providing students with sufficient opportunities to achieve those outcomes, systematically gathering evidence of student learning, and using the resulting findings to confirm and improve student learning. PPCC’s assessment framework reflects the vision of the College as stated in the 2016-2022 Strategic Plan and aligns with regional and programmatic accreditation standards. With the guidance of Assessment Coaches, academic departments regularly assess what students know or are able to do upon completion of individual courses/programs and document how assessment results are used to continuously improve teaching and learning.

Assessment of student learning in Career and Technical Education degree programs focuses on the skills and knowledge that employers consider are most important to workplace success. Those program-level outcomes are generally driven by field competencies and industry standards. In the general education disciplines, assessment of student learning focuses on a number of essential skills also known as general education learning outcomes. In Fall 2016, PPCC voted to adopt the following statewide gtPATHWAYS competencies as its general education learning outcomes.

  • Civic Engagement - Actions wherein students participate in activities of personal and public concern that are both meaningful to the student and socially beneficial to the community.
  • Creative Thinking - Capacity to combine or synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways and the experience of thinking, reacting, and working in an imaginative way characterized by a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking.
  • Critical Thinking - Ability to analyze information and ideas from multiple perspectives and articulate an argument or an opinion or a conclusion based on their analysis.
  • Diversity & Global Learning - Ability to critically analyze and engage complex, interdependent structures and constructs and their implications for individuals, groups, communities, or cultures.
  • Information/Literacy - Skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information.
  • Inquiry & Analysis - Inquiry is the systematic process of exploring issues/objects/works through the collection and analysis of evidence that results in informed conclusions/judgments. Analysis is the process of breaking complex topics or issues into parts to gain a better understanding of them.
  • Oral/Presentational Communication - Ability to deliver a well-prepared and purposeful presentation grounded in credible information and organized effectively.
  • Problem Solving - Ability to design, evaluate, and implement a strategy to answer a question or achieve a goal.
  • Quantitative Literacy - Ability to use quantifiable information and mathematical analysis to make connections and draw conclusions.
  • Written Communication - Ability to write and express ideas across a variety of genres and styles.

PPCC’s philosophy of general education aligns with the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) State Board Policy on General Education (BP 9-40) which states: "General education is ‘general’ in several clearly identifiable ways: it is not directly related to a student’s formal technical, vocational or professional preparation; it is a part of every student’s course of study, regardless of his or her area of emphasis; and it is intended to impart common knowledge, intellectual concepts, and attitudes which every educated person should possess." PPCC values the skills and competencies that its general education curriculum provides to students, preparing them for advanced education, employment, and participation in an increasingly diverse and global society.

More information about PPCC’s assessment of student learning framework can be found at