Academic Assessment

Academic Department and Program Goals.  Academic departments use multiple mechanisms for planning and evaluation.  The department chairperson, in collaboration with the Dean and departmental faculty, develop goals for the year as specified in the Handbook for Department Chairs. Some goals support annual plan goals for the division while others are specific to the department and stem from findings in the program-level assessment plans, program evaluation recommendations, and/or other needs in the department.  At the end of the year, departments develop an annual report to the Dean of the College.   

Academic program learning outcome assessment.  Academic major programs maintain a curriculum map, an assessment map, and an annual assessment process to evaluate program effectiveness connected to student achievement of program-level learning outcomes. 

Guidelines for Learning Outcomes Assessment can be found in the Quick Guide to Academic Assessment.

Curriculum map. A visual representation of the curriculum elements connected to program-level learning outcomes to ensure the learning is taught at multiple points in the students’ course sequence for introduction, emphasis, and reinforcement of essential learning consistent with guidelines.

Assessment map. A matrix promoting clear communication of where program-level assessment takes place. This enables faculty to effectively plan for and conduct assessment capturing information about student learning that best informs program improvement. Academic programs develop the assessment map using guidelines for consistency.

Annual learning outcomes assessment process.  The components of the annual student learning outcomes assessment process in academic programs are: 

  1. Program mission statement connecting the program to the College’s mission statement.
  2. Specific and measurable program-level student learning outcomes.
  3. Assessment mechanisms the program uses to measure each outcome.
  4. Achievement targets for each measure connected to learning outcomes.
  5. Findings based on student performance on measures and discussion of findings, if appropriate. 
  6. Judgment of target completion based on findings (met, partially met, not met). 
  7. Analysis Question #3--Use of Results (If a target is partially met or not met, program action is recommended.  In some cases, where the findings suggest multiple actions are needed, programs are encouraged to focus on only one or two changes per year to determine if change was effective).