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Learning Outcomes Assessment and Accountability

Howard Community College (HCC) is committed to the philosophy of educational accountability.  In order to determine that students are attaining the knowledge and skills appropriate to various courses and programs, regular and planned assessment activities occur.

The assessment activities may take diverse forms including standardized assessments, placement tests, faculty-developed evaluations, focus sessions, and surveys.  The college believes that such input is vital to its responsibility to maintain quality instruction.  Therefore, class time may occasionally be used for these activities and it is expected that students will participate in the processes when asked.  Confidentiality of responses is ensured.  Entering freshmen and graduating students may be required to take a standardized test of general education skills.

Grading and Attendance Policy

The methods for evaluation and grading within a course are clearly stated in the course syllabus.  Evaluation procedures are objective and appropriately related to the course’s objectives and content.

HCC does not have a college-wide attendance policy.  Regular class attendance, however, is one of the most important responsibilities of the student and in many cases will count toward the final grade.  Attendance requirements will be clearly stated in the course syllabus and discussed by the instructor.

Class Cancellation

Faculty are expected to conduct all assigned classes as scheduled.  Classes will be cancelled only in the case of an emergency or with prior approval of the division chair.  In the case of an emergency, the faculty member is required to contact the division office as soon as the faculty member becomes aware of the emergency and the inability to meet with the class.  The faculty member should work within the division to find an appropriate substitute.  An official class cancellation notice will be posted on the class door or in the learning management system to notify students.

In the event that a faculty member needs to be absent from class for other professional reasons, the faculty member should discuss the reasons with the appropriate academic leader in the division as soon as possible to decide on provision of alternate faculty coverage.  It is important that the division leader and the division office be aware of such class changes so that student questions or concerns can be properly addressed.

Academic Complaints

An academic complaint is defined as an issue related to classroom instruction or a grade dispute.  A student who has an academic complaint, including a specific academic complaint involving a faculty member, that remains unresolved through informal means, may enter into a formal process of problem resolution.  The student academic complaint procedures and the appropriate form may be obtained from the division offices.  A student who wants to initiate a formal academic complaint must submit an academic complaint form no later than the end of the seventh week of the next full semester.

  1. The student must begin the formal complaint process by scheduling an appointment with the instructor to discuss the problem.  Many times misunderstandings can be resolved by honest, open dialogue.
  2. If the student cannot resolve the problem during the meeting with the instructor, the student may contact the division office to schedule an appointment to see the appropriate academic leader (e.g., division chair, associate chair) in that division.  Prior to scheduling the appointment, the student must submit the student academic complaint form, including a written description of the problem, the resolution the student is requesting, and the signature of the instructor to confirm that the initial required meeting has taken place.  If the concern is not resolved at the division level, the student’s written complaint, the instructor’s written response, and the division leader's recommendation will be forwarded to the vice president of academic affairs.  At this stage in the academic complaint process, the student has the right to meet with the vice president of academic affairs, but the student is not required to do so.  That appointment must be made within two weeks of the meeting with the division leader.  If the student has not made contact within two weeks, the student has waived the right to the meeting.  After that two-week period, the vice president of academic affairs will make a judgment on the case.
  3. The decision of the vice president of academic affairs is final.  This decision will be communicated to the student in a formal correspondence.

Non-Academic Complaints

Procedures for students to address non-academic complaints are addressed in the student handbook.  These procedures are reviewed annually prior to publication of the student handbook.

Policy Manual Review/Revision: 02/28/14