Assessment of academic programs is a best practice in higher education . . . Assessment is an ongoing process designed to monitor and improve student learning. Faculty explicitly define what they want students to learn, verify that the curriculum is designed to foster that learning, collect empirical data that indicate the extent of the learning, and use the data to improve the program.
Allen, M. J. (2006). Assessing general education programs. Bolton, Mass: Anker Pub. Co. p. 1.
Comprehensive program assessment plans are needed for all UAS certificate, associate, bachelor, and master’s degree programs.
The UAS Undergraduate Student Competencies are typically introduced in general education courses, and specific competencies will be further developed in individual upper division courses relevant to a particular degree program. The six competencies are not directly reflected in degree program learning outcomes unless specific to the degree, i.e. quantitative reasoning for B.S. Math, or communication for B.L.A. Communication.
Generally, it is the combination of courses the students have taken to degree completion. The emphasis is NOT on the individual courses. The assessment plan does not assess general education courses and developmental courses, but is focused on the learning outcomes of an overall degree or certificate program.
Graduate Student Competencies were adopted by the Graduate Curriculum Committee in Spring 2008. http://www.uas.alaska.edu/provost/assessment/Grad-comp.html However, it is expected that undergraduate competencies will be reflected in graduate students skills and behaviors.
Assessment vocabulary and definitions vary throughout the academic assessment literature. UAS policy indicates the use of the following definitions so that all faculty, staff and administrators will have a common understanding of the terms.
Definition of Terms
Goals – What students should learn, understand or appreciate as a result of studies. Statements found in mission statements, professional organization standards.
Outcomes –What students should be able to demonstrate, represent or produce? Three areas of outcomes: Knowledge (content), skills (abilities), disposition (professional behavior). Should identify what students
Curriculum Map – tracks where goals and outcomes are addressed (i.e., Introduced, Developed or Mastered) in the curriculum. The six UAS Competencies can be mapped separately or included in the degree program map.
Direct Measures- observation – Student work such as completion of capstone course, portfolio, tests, labs, presentations
Indirect Measures-perception – How students, employers, alumni feel about learning as through surveys, focus groups, time to degree, job placement data
Rubric – carefully designed rating chart or scoring guide by reference to goes, outcomes and expectations for proficiency. (Future rubrics designed by faculty)
Yes, if the course is taught to specific outcomes and if the performance and criteria are stated and shared among faculty (i.e., if the grade reliably represents learning of specific outcomes at an identified level of proficiency).
A new or updated comprehensive assessment plan reflecting program goals and student learning outcomes. This will typically include curriculum maps to determine which courses address particular learning outcomes and at what level. For example, how and when goals are achieved; assessment measures and the process for collecting and aggregating data; plan for reviewing assessment data to determine where changes are needed to address any concerns, and what the changes will be.