Institutional Effectiveness

The Office of Institutional Effectiveness provides leadership and support for strategic planning, assessment of student learning and development, research (including data collection, data reporting, survey creation and survey administration) and accreditation. A comprehensive approach to institutional effectiveness provides NDSCS a process to align our mission and objectives with the outcomes of our programs and activities in a cycle of continuous improvement that informs planning, budgeting and assessment.


Accreditation is the process of ensuring and reviewing the quality of higher education institutions. Institutional accreditation is a comprehensive review by a private, nongovernmental organization specifically created to review higher education institutions and programs for quality.

NDSCS is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) through the Open Pathway which is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. The Open Pathway is unique in that its improvement component, the Quality Initiative, affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current needs and aspirations. The Open Pathway follows a ten-year cycle.

View NDSCS Accreditation information.

Assessment of Student Learning

The College is committed to evaluating student academic achievement and general institutional effectiveness. Assessment is a way of thinking about teaching and learning. It is a philosophy of education which stresses a better understanding of student learning and continuous improvement of instruction.  It provides for an organized plan that systematically reviews the effectiveness of the institution as it relates to its mission and purposes. Evaluative data is collected and utilized in the process of continuous improvement of student learning.
NDSCS recognizes that assessment should provide:

  • a means of improving student academic success.
  • multiple indicators of success.
  • a feedback system that puts assessment results into the hands of those most responsible for making improvements.
  • a means of connecting improvement plans to institutional resources.
  • ways to stimulate individual initiative that encourages creativity and academic freedom.
  • support for a climate that meets or exceeds student expectations.
  • support for the open enrollment philosophy of the college, while providing for placement of students in appropriate level courses.

Entry Level Assessment
North Dakota State College of Science requires all students to submit valid placement scores, unless exemptions apply. Students may be required to complete the ACCUPLACER Exam for course placement purposes. ACCUPLACER is a computerized adaptive placement testing system that measures skills in mathematics and writing. The test is not timed. 

For more information on ACCUPLACER Testing please click here.


NDSCS research, which includes data collection, survey distribution, and data dissemination, official reports including IPEDS and state accountability data are coordinated and distributed through the Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE).  The OIE subscribes to ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of privacy and confidentiality of human subjects.

Research and Data

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is a developmental and inclusive process based on intensive data collection and analysis. It involves input and communication with stakeholders in determining future direction of the College. The NDSCS Accreditation and Strategic Planning Team, chaired by the Vice President for Student Affairs, facilitates the planning process. 

Strategic goals are determined from the strategic planning process that sets future direction for the college for the next three. It is a fully integrative process that guides assessment of student learning, budgeting, programming, and accreditation priorities.

NDSCS Strategic Plan