Characteristics of a Good Department/Unit Assessment Plan
- The plan flows from the mission statement.
- The focus on on the major (i.e., degree program) as a whole rather than on individual courses.
- The number of critical learning objectives is small.
- The assessment plan is a product of input and discussion by the entire department/unit (faculty and students)
- The plan is integrated into the curriculum or services provided.
- The plan is ongoing rather than periodic.
- The plan is manageable.
- The plan uses multiple measures, both qualitative & quantitative and direct indirect measures.
- Students understand their role in assessment (how it will be used and how it can help them).
- The results of assessment activities are used by faculty/units to improve; they are seen as a means rather than an end.
How an effective assessment program benefits the department/unit
- Faculty/units become more clear about student learning objectives for their program/area. Thus, they can each or provide services more effectively.
- The rationale for curriculum design/coure sequencing is more clear so advising and teaching are improved.
- Faculty/units are able to show evidence to students, parents, colleagues, and other outside constitutents about what students are actually learning
How an effective assessment program improves student learning
- Students learn better when we and they are clear about what they are expected to learn (i.e., student learning outcomes for the degree program, each course, each service).
- Students learn better when they receive frequent, specific feedback about their work or skills acquired (e.g., rubrics, classroom assessment techniques, successfully finding educational resources).
- Faculty/units know more about student learning and can direct their teaching or service efforts accordingly.
Source: Concordia College; Ball State University; Higher Learning Commission (NCA)