CATS about CATS (Innovation of the Year Presentation)

Submitted by Erik Huntsinger on

The Comprehensive Assessment Tracking System ("CATS", found at is a technology-based, fully-integrated system for sharing innovative teaching and assessment practices.  This open access system has revolutionized the way that EMCC employees share strategies to improve student learning. In short, CATS  is where Facebook® intersects with learning.  The system has been recognized as EMCC's "Innovation of the Year" by EMCC's Innovation of the Year committee.  Open the attached documents to learn how CATS meets Maricopa's Innovation of the Year criteria.

Completed Full Cycle
Attachment Size
innovation-criterion.pdf 369.05 KB
Average: 5 (8 votes)


Roselyn Turner Wed, 03/27/2013 - 3:01pm

CATS is a user-friendly system that increases my awareness of classroom assessment, encourages me to engage in the Action Research cycle to improve teaching and learning, and spurs innovative instructional pedagogies due to the sharing between faculty.  CATS of the Month is an excellent way to showcase faculty assessment endeavors and give worthy recognition to those who "close the loop!"

Rachel Holmes Wed, 03/27/2013 - 3:13pm

As a new Residential Faculty member at EMCC, CATS has proven to be a tremendously valuable resource.  I can collaborate with colleagues in a sharing of ideas and best practices while also posting my own ideas in order to seek feedback.  The CATS team developed the SCGR assessment that is suitable as a writing rubric across divisions, and I have utilized this tool in a variety of different classes for a variety of topics.   This tool has enabled me to be much more effective in my instruction in that I use it as a guide, and the students have used this as a tool for self-editing and peer editing.  The CATS system is user-friendly and the benefits are numerous!

Analicia Buentello Wed, 03/27/2013 - 3:38pm

The CATS system is a wonderful tool that has me rethinking my teaching practices. The best part: it's so easy to complete!

Rene Willekens Wed, 03/27/2013 - 4:35pm

In my 20+ years at Estrella Mountain, this has been the most effective strategy to encourage sharing the talents of our faculty and employees in improving the learning environment.  I really like the CATS of the Month Award because it recognizes the talents of employees and motivates us all to raise the quality of our assessment activities.  Tagging items that have completed the full cycle of assessment is also a great feature that provides a healthy level of positive "peer pressure" to close the loop. 

Rachel Smith Wed, 03/27/2013 - 9:18pm

The CATS online format is very flexible so you can structure the report of your activities and assesment cycles in a way that makes sense to you, rather than using a rigid form. I also love that you can set reminders to be sent to yourself to prompt you to complete half-finished reports.  

Kelly Loucy Thu, 03/28/2013 - 7:39am

CATS has been a an easy way for me to discover what other faculty have done to create a successful experience in the classroom. The ability to search in multiple ways (by class format, assignment, general education outcome) has helped me to find strategies for my classes that I may not have found otherwise.

Bronwen Steele Thu, 03/28/2013 - 7:39am

This system is easy, flexible and most importantly supports interaction between faculty concerning their forays into the scary area of assessment. The ability to see what others are doing helps to break down the barriers to doing assessment and gives us new ideas as we look at assessments done across disciplines. Erik, Pete, Scott, Yi, Rich, and everyone who has contributed to build CATS rock!

Terry Meyer Thu, 03/28/2013 - 8:35am

CATS is an excellent way to find out what other faculty are doing in their classrooms with assessment. The search features make it so easy to navigate through the system. Everytime I log on I discover something new and innovated being done by my colleagues. 

Marianne Smith Thu, 03/28/2013 - 9:52am

The CATS system is one of the best vehicles for intra-campus communication that I've experienced at EMCC. It's a wonderful way to discover what really works in the classroom across all disciplines. I find that I look forward to seeing the new CATS every month, and regualrly review the forms outside my teaching area.  This is very helpful, since I'm often inspired by an activity or practice that's not commonly used in math. I've gotten so many great ideas for improving my own teaching from seeing what my colleagues have done.  It's a self-sustaining cycle, because I now have plans to create my own CATS based on what I've learned from them.

Sonya Zetlan Thu, 03/28/2013 - 12:51pm

Every semester I try many new teaching strategies in the biology classroom.  CATS is a great way to keep track of methods I try, and what happens to student enthusiasm and grades. When I get discouraged, or run out of ideas, I can see what other poeple are trying in my discipline and others. Out of all our years of changing assessment practices at EMCC, CATS seems the most sucessful method we have tried. Faculty embrace CATS because it directly relates to how and what we teach.

Nikol Price Fri, 03/29/2013 - 10:47am

The CATS system has made it much easier to share our assessment efforts with the campus community. Sometimes it's hard to be aware of all the wonderful things that are going on here at EMCC and I appreciate having CATS as a venue for both sharing and discovery.

Becky Baranowski Mon, 04/01/2013 - 3:42pm

I love how quick and easy it is to use this system.  I was able to record my data and finding within 5-10 minutes.  

Christopher Zagar Tue, 04/02/2013 - 1:46pm

I was involved in a major library assessment project that was not tied to a single course. The first release of CATS did not anticipate this possibility, but when I pointed this out, the CATS team understood the need and adjusted the system to meet my reality. So, not only is it easy to use, but I appreciate how it adapts to meet the real-world requirements of its users.