By Lathe Cobb
Staff reporter

Assessment Day was Wednesday the 18th and students are asking why we have it. From freshmen to seniors, some did not even know Southwestern had an assessment day.

If you have taken the test, you should know that it was a small-standardized test called the ETS proficiency profile in which held three different sections, reading/critical thinking, writing and mathematics.

When a senior is about to graduates, in their last spring semester, they will take a similar test. Academic affairs can compare how far they progressed and what it means for the college on the academic side.

They have even changed the curriculum because of student’s scores, sometimes where they are lacking, sometimes to reinforce things that students are doing well.

Some programs at the school put on different activities to find out what they can do better teach their students.

For example, student’s that are going to be teachers are preparing for many things. The education department has to make sure everything is taught. They take all the information from what they get from their assessment and adjust what they are teaching to their students.

“There are a whole lot of things that ultimately have an effect on students educations directly, not future students but during the time that they are here,” said Ross Peterson-Veatch, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College.

Assessment day was part of a previous accreditation process called Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP) that started in 1999.

The guidelines identified ten core principles; focus, involvement, leadership, learning, people, collaboration, agility, foresight, information and integrity.

The high performing organizations used these principles to guide their operations, and required institutions to develop their own projects to apply those principles to their own activity and measure their success.

“What we do as a college is much bigger than just ‘assessment day’, we just use those moments for specific learning,” said Peterson-Veatch.

Southwestern is not alone in conducting assessments like the ETS for AQIP.  Cowley County Community College as well as Pratt Community College are just two that do.

We may see an end to AQIP in the near future. During an evaluation of the pathways in 2017, the Higher Learning Committee noted a drop in the number of institutions choosing AQIP as a pathway. This has signaled that HLC must rethink the way it supports such efforts. Therefore, HLC has begun the process of phasing out the AQIP Pathway and transitioning current AQIP institutions to other pathways.