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CTE - Assessment Workbook

This guide provides information, resources, and templates for assessing student learning outcomes at Central Penn College.

 

Program-level assessment is a cyclical process where various levels of the program are constantly being reviewed and if necessary, revised.  Departments should work to create a departmental assessment cycle that aligns with the institutional assessment cycle.  

 

Review the short video presentation below for a brief overview on program-level assessment.

 

 

To begin your program assessment, please see the process for reviewing your program mission statement and learning outcomes. 

 

The program mission statement should be a concise summary of

  1. the purpose, values, and principles that guide the creation of the curriculum
  2. the performance of the program’s students
  3. the standards for program’s graduates. 

An effective program mission statement will allow for the easy mapping of the program’s learning outcomes.  The program mission statement should align with the academic school’s mission statement, institution’s mission statement, and the institutional learning outcomes.  

 

Assessment Process

Departments should create an assessment cycle (three to five years) to review and revise the program mission statement and include the various stakeholders during the process. 

 

Reviewing the Program Mission Statement

Each department will be responsible for creating, documenting, and narrating their process for reviewing the mission statement.  When reviewing the program mission statement, departments should consider the following:

  1. Program and course assessments
  2. Stakeholder feedback, such as students, alumni, and faculty
  3. Accepted recommendations from advisory boards
  4. Current research on changes in the discipline

 

Revising the Program Mission Statement

Each department will be responsible for creating, documenting, and narrating their process for revising the mission statement. The department should use the information gathered during the review to begin the process and establish a timeline for revisions as well as a process for drafting, voting, and reporting on changes. Changes to the program mission statement will result in changes to the program learning outcomes, which will result in changes to the curriculum, curriculum maps, assessment plan, and embedded assessments.

 

Documenting and Reporting

Departments may want to create a specific ad hoc committee and assign a chair from within faculty to coordinate the documentation and reporting about the process. 

 

Departments will need to document and report on the following:

  1. minutes which include attendance and vote tallies from committee or departmental meetings where the mission statement is discussed.
  2. memos or formal communications about the mission statement assessment process.
  3. relevant working documents that contributed to the revision of the mission statement.

 

When making a programmatic change, the program / committee chair should use the program review process created by the Curriculum Review Committee of Faculty Senate.  All documentation should be submitted through that process for tracking and archival purposes.

 

Program learning outcomes (PLO) should be demonstrable goals for student behavior and performance and should include standards to measure these qualities.  These outcomes should be grounded in the mission statement and easily aligned to the vision outlined therein.  These outcomes should also align to the institutional learning outcomes (ILO) though they need not align to all. 

 

Assessment Process

Departments should create an assessment cycle (three to five years) to review and revise the program learning outcomes that directly follows the assessment of the program mission statement.  When conducting the assessment of the program learning outcomes, departments should include the various stakeholders in the process. 

 

Reviewing Program Learning Outcomes

Each department will be responsible for creating, documenting, and narrating their process for reviewing the program learning outcomes.  When reviewing the program learning outcomes, departments should consider the following:

  1. program mission statement
  2. program and course assessments
  3. stakeholder feedback, such as students, alumni, and faculty
  4. accepted recommendations from advisory boards
  5. current research on changes in the discipline

 

Revising the Program Learning Outcomes

Each department will be responsible for creating, documenting, and narrating their process for revising the program learning outcomes.   The department should use the information gathered during the review to begin the process and establish a timeline for revisions as well as a process for drafting, voting, and reporting on changes. Changes to the program learning outcomes will result in changes to the curriculum, curriculum maps, assessment plan, and embedded assessments.

 

When revising program learning outcomes, departments should ensure that the new outcome is measurable. Measurable outcomes will have the following qualities:

  1. explain the behavior the student should master as the result of completing the program. 
  2. determine standards students must meet to successfully complete the program.
  3. describe the specific performance students will complete to fulfill these desired behaviors.  

 

​Measurable outcomes usually contain two parts:

  1. Action verb
    1. Captures the expected student behavior
    2. Provides direction for student performance
  2. Content or skill
    1. Explains the standards for obtaining information and skills
    2. Allows for mapping specific courses

 

When revising program learning outcomes, departments should follow best practices:

  • Student-centered.  Learning outcomes are written for the students and measure student learning.  As such, outcomes should be written with students in mind as the audience. 
  • Instructive.  Learning outcomes should instruct students on the performance requirements for the program and the necessary skills and information they will need to be successful.
  • Specific.  Learning outcomes should specify an action or behavior that the student should complete.  These specific actions or behaviors will help faculty create curriculum maps.
  • Focused.  Learning outcomes should be focused on a specific content area or skill.  By doing so, departments will be able to establish clear benchmarks for student learning in other parts of the assessment process.

 

Documenting and Reporting

Departments may want to create a specific ad hoc committee and assign a chair from within faculty to coordinate the documentation and reporting about the process.  Departments will need to document and report on the following:

  1. minutes which include attendance and vote tallies from committee or departmental meetings where the learning outcomes are discussed
  2. memos or formal communications about the learning outcomes assessment process
  3. relevant working documents that contributed to the revision of the learning outcomes

When making a programmatic change, the program / committee chair should use the program review process created by the Curriculum Review Committee of Faculty Senate.  All documentation should be submitted through that process for tracking and archival purposes.

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