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CTOL: College Wide Abilities



Building 22, Room 181


Monday - Friday

8:00am - 4:00pm


CWA Assessment Deadlines

Fall 2022

December 19, 2022

Winter 2023

April 4, 2023

Spring 2023

July 5, 2023


CWA data not collected Summer Quarter

Assessing CWAs

SPSCC has revised its College Wide Abilities! In October 2022, the new College Wide Abilities (CWAs) and levels were approved. Regular assessment of the outgoing CWAs will continue through Spring 2023. In 2023-24, recording CWA assessments will pause as faculty fully implement the new CWAs. For Spring 2023, all faculty members (all-time and adjunct) are required to engage in CWA assessment process as part of their instructional duties.

SPSCC engages in assessment through the College Wide Abilities, which is coordinated by the Student Learning Assessment Committee (SLAC). Assessment results are compiled by the Office of Institutional Research. This page provides CWA resources for faculty so that they can successfully engage with the assessment process and assess CWAs in all of their courses. You can also review and download the full CWA rubrics for your use.

Outgoing/Previous CWAs

These College Wide Abilities will be used for assessment through Spring 2023

Communicate Effectively: An effective communicator successfully exchanges oral or written messages appropriate to a variety of audiences and contexts.

Computation: An effective problem solver evaluates and processes quantitative and symbolic data including but not limited to graphs, equations, charts, and diagrams.

Critical Thinking: A critical thinker questions, searches for answers and understanding, evaluates ideas and information, and develops and supports meaningful conclusions.

Ethics: An ethical thinker understands ethical responsibilities in both academic and professional contexts.

Multicultural Awareness: A multiculturally aware individual will have knowledge of the diverse cultural values, beliefs, and practices of self and others in order to interact successfully in the world.

Please visit Institutional Research on College Wide Abilities for more information on these CWAs, including some guidance on assessing whether a student has met or not met each of the CWAs.>

Incoming/Revised CWAs and Levels (in effect Fall 2023)

These College Wide Abilities will be in effect Fall 2023, but assessments for them will not be entered into Canvas until Fall 2024.

Analytical Reasoning: Assess qualitative and quantitative information to discern patterns, solve problems, and justify conclusions.

Effective Communication: Convey and receive information applicable to interpersonal and public situations. 

Information Literacy: Research and evaluate information to make informed decisions and conclusions.

Multicultural Awareness: Analyze diverse cultural values, beliefs, and practices that impact interactions, social frameworks, and institutional structures.

Social Responsibility: Analyze the ethical, environmental, and community impact of actions within local and global systems.


Feel free to review and download the full CWA rubrics for your use.

Revised CWA Implementation: Important Dates

Spring 2023: Outgoing CWAs assessed for the last time! Make sure to record assessments in Canvas.

Spring 2023: Begin updating course outlines with new CWAs and levels

Fall 2023: Continue updating course outlines with the new CWAs and levels

By January 31, 2024: All course outlines must be updated with the new CWAs and levels and submitted to Instruction Council for approval

Fall 2024: Revised CWAs fully implemented and assessments will be recorded in Canvas

Basic CWA Process from Start to Finish

In each course that you teach for Fall 2021, Winter 2022, and Spring 2022, you will need to complete the following steps.

Step 1 — Before the Quarter Starts

  • Review the course outline and note which CWA’s are listed

  • Identify at least one assignment to assess each relevant CWA, or that assesses all relevant CWAs if there are more than one (this should be a summative assessment that occurs at a point in which students should be able to demonstrate proficiency in the CWA)

Step 2 — During the Quarter Before You Assess the CWA

  • Do one of the following:
    • Add the CWA rubric (it is under “Rubrics” on every Canvas course). Make sure to edit the rubric to remove any outcomes you are not assessing in that assignment.

    • Add a CWA outcome to an existing rubric or assignment in Canvas for the student work you plan to assess.

    • If you run into problems adding outcomes, email Heather Ryan:

  • Make sure the assignment is published, unhidden, and is clearly connected to one of the CWA rubrics (in other words, please do not make your own rubric for the CWA, even if it’s the same language; we won’t be able to pull that data).

Step 3 — By the Assessment Deadline for that Quarter

  • Use Speed Grader to assess each CWA in your class for each student (“met,” “unmet,” or “not attempted”).
Step-by-Step: Adding an Outcome to your Canvas Rubric


  1. From the Assignments tab, open the assignment you want to use to score the CWA
  2. Click on + Rubric if you do not already have a rubric for the assignment or Edit Rubric
    (the pencil in the top right corner of the rubric box) if you are adding the CWA outcome
    to an existing rubric.
  3. Under the criteria box, click Find Outcome (in blue).
  4. Click on the imported outcome that you would like to add to the rubric.
  5. If you DO NOT want to assign points to the outcome in the rubric, UNCHECK the box
    that says “Use this criterion for scoring.” (under the met/unmet/not attempted boxes)
  6. Click the blue Import button at the bottom of the box.
  7. Click OK in the “are you sure” dialog box that pops up.
  8. Click Create Rubric for a new rubric or Update Rubric if you are editing an existing one. 



What CWAs should I assess?

Check the Instruction Council Course Outline SharePoint

How should I assess the listed CWAs, or why are these specific CWAs listed on my class? 

Ask your dean, program lead or the SLAC representative for your division. They can provide some insight and context for the CWAs assessed in your classes and program. 

Are there CWA assessment examples?

Contact your dean, program lead, or Heather Ryan, Director of Student Learning Assessment, for some ideas.  

Why do I need to do this?

As part of our ongoing accreditation, SPSCC is required to assess student achievement of identified course, program, and degree level outcomes as detailed by NWCCU Standards 1.C.1-1.C.7 Assessing the achievement of College Wide Abilities for each student is part of this process.  These data will be compiled and made available to faculty through the Institutional Research dashboard.  The purpose of this assessment is to determine how well we, as a college, are preparing our students for life post-SPSCC. It is not used to evaluate individual faculty.