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What is the purpose of assessment?

The purpose of our assessment process is to utilize collected evidence to improve student learning; and to ensure that our students are graduating with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for future success.

What is program assessment?

Program assessment is the process by which faculty collectively identify essential student learning outcomes for what they want their students to be able to know and do upon graduating from their program. Faculty within that program align course content to those student learning outcomes, collect data as to how well students achieved those learning outcomes, and then discuss that information as a program to determine whether or not students are meeting the program’s expectations. If not, what can the faculty and program do to enhance the learning experience for all students within the program to ensure achievement goals are met?

What is the difference between course assessment and program assessment?

Course assessments occur within each course by the faculty member. The course assessments should then be aligned to the program outcomes. All course assessments each semester, should then be summarized at the program-level to complete the program assessment report.

What are the benefits of assessment?

There are benefits for both the student and faculty, as well as for the program and University as a whole. An outcomes-based approach to instruction provides meaningful evidence on student learning around outcomes; leading to informed conversations around curriculum, planning, and proposed budget requests. An outcomes-based approach to instruction can encourage students to take ownership of their own learning around their program outcomes. 

What is the difference between assessment and evaluation?

Assessment is “the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences” (Huba & Freed, 1999, p. 8). Handelsman, Miller, and Pfund (2007) argue that assessment is “the fulcrum of scientific teaching” (p. 47). At the heart of assessment is “the collection, analysis and interpretation of information,” while evaluation “deals with determining the worth, value, or effectiveness of something” (Secolsky & Denison, 2012, p. xviii).

Are survey data, or other indirect measures of student learning, sufficient for my assessment report?

Not as stand-alone measures. Surveys, and other types of self-reported data can be valuable to a program. Self-reported data by itself is not sufficient evidence of student learning because they are not direct evidence of student learning (e.g. a faculty member grading a research paper using a rubric). Each course/program outcome must be assessed using at least one direct measure. Survey data, and other self-reported data, should be used to complement your direct assessments.

What are indirect and direct assessments?

Direct assessment of a learning outcome is the most effective form of assessment. It allows for  direct examination of student work (e.g. exam, case study, research paper, presentation, etc.). Indirect assessments are students’ self-report views of  thoughts, satisfaction, or value of a learning experience. You can view examples of direct versus indirect measures here

Why can’t grades be used as assessment measures?

Course grades can represent a number of factors, including extra credit, participation or attendance points, etc., but do not accurately measure an applicable learning outcome. Additional information on the use of grades for assessment purposes can be found here.

Am I being evaluated as a faculty member?

No. Assessment is intended to focus on student learning for course/program improvement.

When are program assessment reports due?

Program assessment reports are based on the current academic year, and are due by June 1st of that year. For example, AY2020-21 reports are due by June 1st, 2021. 

How do I submit my annual program assessment report?

The University is currently implementing our new assessment management system, AEFIS, and additional information will be forthcoming for submission of your Academic Year 2020-21 assessment reports.

What happens once I submit my program assessment report?

Your college will initially review your report, and ensure that it is submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Education/Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost for review. The Director of Undergraduate Assessment reviews and provides feedback on all submitted assessment reports. An annual summary of results are then used as part of the University’s 5-year accreditation review cycle with the Higher Learning Commission.

How can the Director of Undergraduate Assessment assist my program?

The Director of Undergraduate Assessment is here to support your program assessment needs. The director can provide consultation as well as technical expertise in conducting assessments and use of our assessment management system. Please reach out to Steven Hawks at [email protected] with any questions or needed assistance.