Institutional Research & Effectiveness


Institutional Effectiveness facilitates the process of assessment and accountability of all programs and services. Program assessment, also referred to as program or unit review, is the process of setting and assessing outcomes that promote improvement. Further, accountability is demonstrated through compliance and achievement measured by the North Carolina Community College System, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), and various federal and state accreditation boards.

Program or Unit Review

Program or Unit Review (assessment) for academic units happens across the programs while assessment for non-academic units happens at the unit (department) level which is below the division level. The program review process provides a comprehensive, systematic, ongoing analysis of college programs and services. At Rowan-Cabarrus, the 3-year review cycle is established such that all areas of the college undergo program review once in a 3-year period on an established schedule. The college uses an online system to document goals, objectives, measures, targets, outcomes and plans for improvement.


The college also measures satisfaction with services and instructional programs through a student engagement survey, Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). This is a national survey and allows the college to assess its progress on various aspects of satisfaction, as well as compare the satisfaction of our students to those at other community colleges.

CCSSE Benchmark Description and Scores

Active and Collaborative Learning: A benchmark that indicates the level of active learning, such as students asking questions or making presentations in class, and collaborative learning, such as working together with other students on projects, in classes at the college.

Student Effort: A benchmark that indicates the level of effort students at the college give to the learning process.

Academic Challenge: A benchmark that indicates the complexity of the academic tasks given to students at the college.

Student-Faculty Interaction: A benchmark that indicates how often students at the college communicate with their instructors about coursework and career plans.

Support for Learners: A benchmark that indicates the level of student use and satisfaction with college services that support learning, such as tutoring, academic advising, and career counseling.

Benchmarks are rated on a scale where the average score is 50, so scores above 50 are above average, while scores below 50 are below average.

North Carolina Accountability

As a part of the North Carolina Community College system, Rowan-Cabarrus participates in accountability measures that assess the progress toward established performance measures. Like other community colleges, Rowan-Cabarrus must perform at established levels in order to be eligible for performance funding. The state’s report shows Rowan-Cabarrus’ current performance levels based on the following data:

  • LEIS Reporting (basic skills and GED)
  • State licensure boards
  • State performance indicators

Quality Enhancement Plan

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a part of the re-accreditation process for colleges. As defined by SACSCOC, the QEP is carefully designed course of action that is focused on one or more issues that contribute to institutional effectiveness. The QEP describes a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issue(s) related to enhancing student learning. The Commission on Colleges evaluates and provides a written report from which the institution improves its programs, refines its QEP and “provides the basis on which the Commission decides to grant, continue, reaffirm, or withdraw accreditation.” Details on the current QEP are available.