Developing Program Outcomes Assessment Plans

Every TU degree program must have an assessment plan that describes expected student learning outcomes for the degree program and the methods used to evaluate student achievement of those outcomes.

Basically, an assessment plan articulates what faculty expects students to know and be able to do upon degree completion. It identifies appropriate tools for evaluating the extent to which students are achieving those outcomes and describes how faculty will act on the resulting information. An assessment plan also describes how faculty will evaluate student achievement in the program’s expected learning outcomes and use the information in order to work towards a continuous improvement of the academic programs.

What to include in Assessment Plans

The following information should be provided in the plan for program outcomes assessment. Program outcomes assessment refers to the measurement of students’ achievement of program-level expected learning outcomes and the use of the results of these assessments to improve the program.

  • Name of the degree program(s) covered by this assessment plan.

Every TU degree program must have an assessment plan that describes expected student learning outcomes for the degree program and the methods used to evaluate student achievement of those outcomes. Please provide the name of the author of the plan and the date the plan was approved by program faculty.

  • Program Rational and Marketing Statements

What is the purpose for this degree program and who is the target market for the program? In other words, why is the program needed and who will benefit. The rational and marketing statements should guide the assessment process. Assessment should provide feedback on the extent to which the program is accomplishing its publicly stated goals.

  • Program goals and classes where goals are taught.

What are the primary student learning outcomes for this program? What do faculty members expect students will know and be able to do upon degree completion? A program may have many expected outcomes; please provide 3-5 statements of assessable student learning outcomes that program faculty believe to be most important. The plan may include more than five if it is believed that they are essential for the program or if an accreditation process requires more. However, the most important outcomes should be listed first and it is expected that reported assessment activity will reflect the relative importance of various outcomes.

In developing these goal statements, consider the curriculum – where are students “getting” this knowledge and these skills? For a program-level outcome, one assumes they might get “pieces” of it in various courses. These “pieces” may define the criteria that should be used for assessing achievement of the outcome. There may be some work (project, paper, exam) that requires students to “put the pieces together” so that their level of knowledge/skills at the program level can be assessed.

  • Intended student learning outcomes

These are basically a restatement of the program goals describing what students will know or be able to do upon degree completion.

  • Methods and assessment criteria

What Assessment Methods will be used to measure student achievement of these expected outcomes? What types of activities will be used and in which class(es). If the plan is to use multiple measures for one outcome, please describe all methods. If one method will be used to assess multiple outcomes, please list that method for all expected outcomes it will be used to assess. Both direct and indirect measures can be included. Examples of direct measures (such as certification exams, subject tests) and indirect methods (exit interviews, alumni satisfaction surveys) can be considered.

What Assessment Criteria or standard will be expected to determine if students have met the learning goal? How will faculty determine the extent to which students have achieved the outcomes? What rubrics or other evaluation instruments will be used.

  • Timetable to identify goal assessment rotations.

Please indicate the timeframe for each assessment to be conducted (each semester, annually, in alternate years)

Tips

  • Include faculty members in the development of the assessment plan, particularly those involved in curriculum planning.
  • Create a plan that is reasonable to implement. Use a timetable to identify annual assessments and bi-annual or tri-annual assessments.
  • Send a copy of the assessment plans to the Dean of Outcomes Assessment for approval prior to new program proposal or curriculum changes.
  • Assessment plans should be updated periodically to reflect program changes in expected student learning outcomes or assessment methods. Assessment plans do not need to be updated yearly.

The Dean of Outcomes Assessment keeps on file a copy of all program assessment plans for the schools, each major and each concentration. Only when a program assessment plan is changed is it necessary to submit the “new” plan to the Dean of Outcomes Assessment. “New” plans are due by July 1st each year. Reports should be submitted in Microsoft Word format and sent as an email attachment.

Taskstream

Tiffin University uses Taskstream to collect assessment data (LAT) and record any and all changes made to academic programs based on assessment findings (AMS).  Taskstream is available to faculty through their Moodle shell and assessment courses (usually two-to-three per program each academic year) are identified at the beginning of each term.  Faculty who teach an assessment course are notified by their department chair at the beginning of the term, data is collected during that term, and the collective faculty for that program review those data, as well as any qualitative details and information, to decide what changes should be made to the program moving forward.  Changes can be curricular, pedagogical, or even an update to program material that reflects the changing times and needs in the workplace.  Taskstream has proved to be useful, pragmatic, and efficient in the outcomes assessment process at Tiffin University.

More Assessment Plan Information

General Education Curriculum Assessment

Student Learning Outcome

Samples from TU Programs

Intended Uses of Assessment Results