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Academic Program Assessment Policy

These policies regarding academic program assessment were approved by the Academic Council on October 13, 2016. 

Policy Statement on Purpose, Responsibility, and Authority
Academic assessment is a continuous process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves communicating our expectations: setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how student performance meets/exceeds academic program expectations and standards; and use the resulting information to document, explain, and improve student success. (Thomas A. Angelo, AAHE Bulletin, November 1995, p. 7.) Program-level academic assessment is a faculty-driven, quality and improvement-oriented process, facilitated by the university with staff support, training and other resources.

The faculty in a program: 

  • Identify appropriate program student learning outcomes: faculty define student learning outcomes at all levels and communicate them to students. Accrediting agencies may shape some program and university learning outcomes.
  • Select or design instruments and methods to collect evidence of student learning, including, but not limited to, evidence of students' overall levels of achievement. Programs define which instruments and methods are used to assess their programs' student learning outcomes. Instruments and methods will vary depending on the context. Regarding general education and institutional outcomes, faculty members participate in selecting and developing instruments and methods. 
  • Collect evidence of student learning. In order to interpret and use assessment results, background information on students is often required while ensuring that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is not violated. Faculty members ensure that all assessment reports protect the confidentiality of individuals involved. 
  • Interpret and evaluate evidence of student learning. Programs develop an improvement plan or a plan for the next cycle of assessment studies grounded in evidence-based discussions of student learning or concrete data. 
  • Report and use results to guide program decision-making and changes if needed. 
  • Document student engagement in the assessment process appropriate to the program.
  • Review the assessment process and methods routinely and revise as needed.
  • Recommend resources necessary to enhance assessment efforts and outcomes. 

Program-level assessment processes and documentation are an integral component of program review.

Required Assessment Documentation
For every academic program, documentation will be collected and managed in the university's assessment management system to demonstrate assessment of student learning and program effectiveness. Within a program review cycle, all outcomes will be assessed.

Documentation of academic program assessment includes:

  1. Program Learning Outcomes
  2. Alignment of Program Learning Outcomes and/or accreditation standards where appropriate
  3. Curriculum map: including the mapping of program learning outcomes to courses
  4. Assessment plan: including formative and summative assessment and student engagement as appropriate
  5. Assessment reports

Uses of Assessment Data and Results
Assessment data are used by faculty to evaluate and maintain or improve on program effectiveness and student learning.

Program assessment reports are used by faculty and reviewers as part of periodic program review. Program assessment results and reports will not be used for program closure.

Assessment data and reports are aggregated and used to report educational effectiveness and student achievement as required by accreditation and federal regulation.

Assessment reports and feedback are used to review and revise the Academic Assessment Guidelines as needed.