The following six program assessment criteria are based best practices in higher education, including the Transparency Framework from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment. This guide is designed to assist Program/Department Chairs/Leads when they are completing their annual program assessment plans and reports on the Program Assessment SharePoint site. The first three criteria focus on your Assessment Plan (“Outcomes” and “Measures”), and the last three criteria focus on your Assessment Report (“Findings” and “Actions”).
Identify at least one student learning outcome to focus on for the academic year.
Each academic year, programs should choose at least one student learning outcomes to reflect on. This student learning outcome might connect to a question you have or pattern you have noticed in student learning. To satisfy this criteria, when you complete your assessment plan, please select at least one student learning outcome.
Gather evidence that addresses the identified outcome.
To satisfy this criterion, in the “Measures” section, please identify what you will use as evidence of student learning for the selected outcome. For example, for its 2018-19 program assessment plan, the Kinesiology program used summative research posters from BIO133L (Kinesiology Lab) as evidence of student achievement for the experimental design outcome.
Ideally, your evidence of student learning (1) is embedded within existing activities or assignments in the program or course, (2) clearly connects back to the student learning outcome you selected, and (3) allows students to demonstrate their learning, rather than describe their learning (i.e., surveys, course evaluations).
Meet to reflect on evidence of student learning.
To satisfy this criterion, in the “Measures” section, please identify when you and your program/department will meet as a unit to discuss and analyze its findings, and reflect on any necessary next steps. You may give a rough estimate rather than an exact time. For example, for its 2018-19 program assessment plan, the Advertising program indicated that it would meet after final presentations in early May to “evaluate the process to determine student strengths, weaknesses, and needs moving forward.”
Analyze findings to diagnose areas of strength or opportunity for improvement.
To satisfy these criteria, you should succinctly describe what students did well and/or what they struggled with. You may provide further detail for your own records if you wish, but a succinct statement meets the criteria. For example, for its 2018-19 program assessment report, the Kinesiology program “found that students struggled with three elements consistently: (1) describing the rationale/justification for the study to external audiences, (2) placing their final results into a broader framework, and (3) discussing the importance (take-home message) of their final results.”
Develop a plan to leverage strengths and/or address gaps in student learning that you found.
To satisfy this criteria, you should (1) address your findings through appropriate action, (2) tie these actions back to the learning outcomes, and (3) consider the context of the entire curriculum. For example, in its 2018-19 program assessment report, the STEM program found that students struggled with “effectively using student thinking (e.g., formative assessment) to guide STEM learning),” and thus developed steps to devote “more explicit attention or even in-class practice reacting to and using student thinking” across multiple courses in the curriculum.
Implement your plan and report on status.
To satisfy this criteria, you should begin to implement your plan of action, and describe preliminary lessons learned. This is a new criteria established to recognize programs who wanted space to discuss what it learned as a result of its action. We recognize that many programs may not satisfy this criteria on an annual basis, but want to establish this as a goal.