Degree-Level Assessment Process
Degree-level assessment is an open-ended proposition: as a collection of faculty specialists, what is a department most interested in learning about its students? What aspects of its courses or curriculum is a department prepared to revise based on evidence gathered through the study of student learning? To guide faculty efforts, the Center for Teaching Excellence has prepared a short set of questions for self-reflection about assessment as an inquiry-driven process.
Examples of Excellent Degree-Level Assessment Reports
Many departments at KU are engaged in the study of student learning, and their approaches to assessment involve a diversity of methods and practice. Indeed, there is no one best approach to assessment -- all departments have their different strengths, epistemological orientations, and curriculum structures. The examples below, therefore, are intended to be illustrative, but not exhaustive, of excellence in assessment at KU. Exploring these examples may be helpful as you work on your own department's plan.
- French and Italian
- Public Administration
- Speech Language Pathology
- Germanic Languages and Literatures
- Environmental Science
The Annual Reporting Process
Departments are asked to implement their assessment plans and write an assessment progress report by February each year. Departments should collect data on at least one student learning outcome or inquiry about student learning each year. Generally an assessment report will reflect data from the prior academic year. The report should provide information about progress made in evidence collection, results interpretation, and use of results. Below are questions to guide your thinking:
- What question did your department pose about student learning during the 2016-2017 academic year? That is, what were you interested in learning about your students through this process?
- What was your plan for collecting evidence of student learning the past year? Who in your department (i.e. chair, committee, support staff, graduate students, etc.) helped out?
- Please include a numerical or narrative summary of your results. For example, rubric-based data could illustrate the percentage of students in each category. Qualitative data could discuss major themes that frequently emerged in responses.
- Substantively, what have you learned about your students from the evidence you collected? Does this new knowledge raise additional questions or point to a need for additional types of data?
- What recommendations for course or curriculum revision have been generated from discussions of these results among the faculty? If no discusses have taken place, what recommendations do you, as the author of the report, have for course or curriculum revision?
The next degree-level assessment reports due date is February 21, 2020. Like last year, reports will be filed online through a simple Qualtrics survey.
To help units complete their assessment plans and reports, the Office of the Provost and Center for Teaching Excellence will provide continuous workshops, consultation, and support. In addition, the CTE's Documenting Learning Specialist, Joshua Potter (firstname.lastname@example.org), is available to help units through this process. Joshua will be offering assessment workshops and individual consultations to help units design and implement meaningful assessment plans and reports. Visit the CTE website for a list of workshops and other assessment resources.
Documenting, Reporting and Using Assessment Results for Program Improvement
The ultimate goal of student learning outcomes assessment is to enable faculty and programs to plan and implement program improvements to facilitate student learning. In order to achieve this goal, assessment needs to be a shared responsibility.
- Program faculty are expected to document how they have collected, analyzed, reviewed, and used the assessment results to enhance their programs as a whole.
- Department chairs and program directors are responsible for coordinating student learning outcomes assessment within their units. They are also responsible for engaging faculty in discussion and use of assessment results.
- Deans are responsible for coordinating student learning outcomes assessment within their schools. They are also responsible for establishing internal reporting processes and schedules that ensure that assessments are occurring on a regular basis, and that the results are being used to improve programs as appropriate.
- The Provost coordinates the assessment process, in collaboration with the documenting learning specialist in the CTE, and discusses general recommendations at the university level with deans, department chairs and undergraduate and graduate directors as needed.
- Faculty-led, university-level guidance for degree-level assessment process is provided by two bodies: the Faculty Advisory Board for Degree-Level assessment which convenes twice per academic year to advise on new policies, programs, and outreach strategies; and the Faculty Reviewer Fellows, a small group of stipend-supported faculty who review every annual assessment report and engage in peer-to-peer mentoring with colleagues on best practices in assessment.