Assessment of student learning includes the following steps
- Define the program mission and goals.
- Establish student-learning outcomes (SLOs).
- Determine "learning opportunities" (i.e., where throughout the curriculum, the learning takes place)
- Undertake an assessment process: establish a research question/goal; collect and evaluate evidence (direct/indirect evidence of student learning); evaluate, analyze, and interpret evidence.
- Based on the results, create and implement an action plan to improve the program and student learning.
Steps 1-3 are typically done once and then revisited as needed. Steps 4 and 5 are repeated each time an assessment activity/process takes place.
Characteristics of good assessment planning
- Focuses on the program (e.g., the major) rather than individual courses
- Has 2-6 goals and 3-8 student learning outcomes
- Anticipates how the results will be used for improvement and decision making
- Collaboratively created with input and discussion by the entire department
- Describes the goals(s) of each planned assessment project
- Is systematic
- Is manageable
- Over time, multiple data-collection methods are used
- Is conveyed to students and the students understand their role in assessment
- Leads to program improvement
- Includes an evaluation of the assessment and repeats assessment if necessary
*Adapted from the University of Hawaii, Manoa Assessment website
Elements of an Assessment Plan**
- How will each outcome be assessed? What direct assessment and indirect assessment evidence will be collected?
- When and how often will you assess each outcome?
- How will the evidence be collected?
- How will the evidence be assessed?
- Who will reflect on the results and decide if and how to close the loop (whole department, Assessment Committee, Curriculum Committee, relevant subset of the faculty?)? When?
- How will results and closing the loop actions be documented?
Each year assessment studies and the documentation of loop closing will be summarized in our annual assessment report.
**Adapted from handout prepared by Marry Allen for WASC Leadership Academy, 2014.
Example Two: SCU Environmental Studies and Sciences assessment plan (includes all elements of assessment plan).
Example Three: UC Berkeley Chemistry Department (includes all elements of assessment plan).