Continuous Assessment/Improvement



Mission Statement

Each program should create a mission statement that formalizes the philosophy and vision of the program as a clear and concise declaration.  With the institution’s stated goals of excellence in research, education, and service in mind, each unit should craft a mission statement emphasizing its uniqueness and strengths towards accomplishing each of the goals.  The mission statement should be no longer than two to three sentences, and should be crafted for long-term vision.  It should be re-evaluated every year to make sure that the unit adheres to the stated philosophy and vision.

Program Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes should be three to five sentences to describe the knowledge, skills, and abilities expected of the graduates of the program.  The departments may have separate learning outcomes for formative and summative assessment.  The formative assessment may be used to assess students just after completing their sophomore year.

Step 1: Establish Assessment Plan Benchmarks

Benchmarks are predefined standards to objectively measure the quality of learning outcomes.  The faculty should establish benchmarks for both formative and summative phases of assessment.  Benchmarks are essential to continuous quality improvement and help to overcome complacency.

The benchmarks will be dependent on the description of the assessment method and describe the criteria for success.

Step 2: Collect Data

The mode of data collection should be identified based on the assessment plan.  Data needs to be reported in the form of group data to preserve privacy of students as well as faculty.  The personnel involved in data collection should be identified, and data should be collected from different sources including the office of institutional research and individual faculty members.

Step 3: Analyze Results

The data collected should be summarized and reported in a meaningful way to the faculty.  The faculty members should reflect on this summary and provide input on how to improve the program.  The strong points of the program should be used to advertise the program to new students as well as to the employers.  This self-reflection should also help in analyzing the areas that need improvement.  This will help to improve the overall quality of the program.  

From the feedback of the faculty at large, the Committee should develop a recommendation for next steps including a plan and timeline to implement any changes.  It should also include the key personnel involved in data collection and reporting.

Step 4: Provide Final Report to Provost

The final report to the Provost will be routed through the appropriate Dean.  The report for each program will be provided on a form.

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As a hypothetical example, the set of program learning outcomes is shown in Figure 1 and an example report on one outcome is shown in Figure 2.

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Timeline TBD