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Best Practices for Program Assessment

Is it meaningful?

  • Assessment should focus on learning priorities that your program cares about and connected to instructional practice. This entails having discussions with faculty to determine the assessment questions, critically thinking about how the information will be used to improve student learning, and by whom.

Are faculty and students involved in the process? 

  • Because one of the goals of assessment is to provide meaningful information to students and faculty that can be used for improvement, their contributions are essential. Their roles in the assessment process, and the extent to which they are involved, will vary.

Is it manageable?  

  • Focusing on 1-2 learning priorities a year will ensure that the process is manageable and sustainable; identify what assessment is already taking place (e.g. in-class assignments, exams, senior capstones, student research projects, action research, institutional data, etc) and see if you can build on it

Is it focused on improvement?

  • Assessment is more than an exercise of gathering information for reporting. Results should be used to improve teaching and learning. Therefore, proposed actions should be directly connected to instructional practice and designing experiences that will enhance learning.  

Is it ongoing?

  • Continual assessment allows you to examine the effectiveness of program changes made as a result of your assessment information. The information can help you determine the extent to which student learning improved over time.

Is it documented?

  • As you do assessment, you will want to keep a record of assessment activities, program changes, and the impact of those changes on student learning. This is useful for internal and external reporting. Also, as membership on the assessment team changes, new members can refer to these documents as they become acclimated to past and current assessment activities. 
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