Outcomes Assessment Process
In regards to the three main paths delineated above, the process of outcomes assessment is much the same. The first step is program identification and qualification. Whether it is the biology major, life in the residence halls, the student newspaper, or intramural sports, the University qualifies all existing programs as being a part of the “learning tapestry” and unique makeup of the institution. The second step of the assessment process is the careful articulation of intended student outcomes (or administrative objectives for service units). While faculty and staff generally maintain a set of 8-12 outcomes for the program, only 2-3 outcomes are assessed each academic year.
The next step in the assessment process is the identification of measurable/ascertainable criteria under each stated outcome. It is best to keep these to two-to-four per outcome. These criteria become the data that will be analyzed to see if students are meeting with the intended outcomes expected by the faculty. “Measurable” means that the data can be quantitative and “ascertainable” means that it can be qualitative – whatever is best called for from the assessment. Examples of intended student outcomes and measurable/ascertainable criteria are presented below:
English majors are able to demonstrate general acquaintance with literary history, including knowledge of chronology and periodization, knowledge of literary movements, and understanding of cultural and intellectual history.
Students in all disciplines who avail themselves of the Center’s tutoring services two or more times each semester will have a higher persistence rate than all students with fewer than two visits each semester.
Brass majors play their instrument professionally and their articulation is precise and musically appropriate.
Management & Leadership majors demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge and the ability to use concepts and tools from the major areas of business: accounting, economics, finance, human and organizational management, law, marketing, MIS, and operations management.
Students who receive instruction from the library will become adept at the skills associated with information literacy, including reference transactions and bibliographic documentation.
Students from all majors/disciplines will communicate effectively at a college level in both written and oral formats.
Once the data is collected, faculty analyze their findings and then decide at the program level what changes or adjustments should be made – usually in what is taught or how its taught. The staff goes through these same steps in order to assess the intended effectiveness of services provided.