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Overview of University Assessment Process

Assessment provides a means for every academic program to address three critical questions:

·        What learning outcomes - - knowledge, skills, and values or attitudes - - do we expect? 

·        What evidence do we have about how well our program is achieving these outcomes? 

·        How can we use this evidence to improve program quality and student learning?

Only through an understanding of what students actually learn can programs assure that the learning objectives they have set are realized.

Effective, meaningful and manageable assessment is a multi-step process:

  1. The continuing faculty of the program or department develop mission, goals and objectives (MGOs)[1] that are both central to the program and measurable in a sustainable manner.  These MGOs address three areas of the program or department:
    1. Student learning goals
    2. Faculty research and creative expression
    3. Faculty and departmental service activities 
  1. The continuing faculty develop a multi-year plan for assessing all of the program’s student learning objectives, faculty research objectives and the program’s service objectives[2]
  1. The continuing faculty gather appropriate data and develop evaluation mechanisms for assessing the objectives for the year
  1. The program conducts the planned assessment
  1. The department summarizes the results of the year’s assessment efforts in a 3-5 page report to the department and the Dean
  1. The program saves its data, findings and summary report in a centralized, organized manner to allow easy updating and straightforward examination by external reviewers.  These materials can be in either paper or electronic form, but either form must be clearly labeled and readily retrievable.

[1] Most departments established MGOs as part of their program review but will usually find it necessary to modify the MGOs over time. 

[2]  Such assessment plans typically lay out a five-year assessment plan to allow assessment activities to cease during the year the department or program conducts its formal program review.


University Assessment Guidelines

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