The Institutional Plan for Implementation of Student Outcomes Assessment

Overview

  • WestConn’s Assessment Plan calls for ongoing collection, analysis, and dissemination of information on student learning outcomes in every degree program, together with annual reporting of the status of program assessment.
  • The Assessment Update for each degree program is an integral part of the annual report of each school, department, and division.
  • Administrative implementation of policy on learning outcomes assessment begins with the Academic Dean, is carried out by department Chairs, is reported to the Dean, and finally goes to the Academic Vice President, with a copy to the Assessment Committee for policy review.
  • Time and complexity can make assessment a burden. Complexity is not mandated, however, either by Assessment Committee guidelines or by NEASC. Departments can meet basic requirements with a simple plan, provided it gives evidence of assessing student learning outcomes in each program, responding to data that shows a need for curricular change, and repeating the assessment cycle for continuous improvement.
  • For satisfaction and success, departments should choose options appropriate for their
    programs. It is unlikely that a single approach to assessment will be suitable for all
    programs. Measurement can be qualitative as well as quantitative. NEASC recognizes a
    broad range of valid options for providing evidence of student learning (see Appendix 1).

Procedures and Responsibilities

  1. Academic Dean
    • Review the assessment status of all programs in the school or division.
    • Give the Chairs of departments already successfully assessing learning outcomes copies of the NEASC statements on evidence. Agree on format for the Assessment

      Update to be included in each department’s annual report.
    • Confer with the Chairs of departments whose programs need better assessment. Explain how policies can be implemented. Give the Chairs copies of NEASC guidelines and agree on format for the Assessment Update to be included in the department’s annual report.
  2. Department Chair
    • Chairs will work with their program faculty at every stage of development. Some Chairs, especially at the graduate level, may delegate responsibilities to program coordinators. However, the Chair remains responsible for the department’s annual report.
    • Assessment Guidelines for Departments should be helpful as Chairs and their faculty begin, complete, and resume the five-stage assessment cycle:
      1. Determining program goals and objectives
      2. Gathering direct evidence of student learning outcomes
      3. Interpreting the evidence
      4. Making changes for improvement
      5. “Closing the loop” of the cycle

        It is critical that departments complete and report on all five stages and not stop short. The only way to make assessment effective is to complete the cycle.
    • As recommended by the Assessment Committee, a separate Assessment Update section will
      be included in each department’s Annual Report to the Dean.
  3. Academic Dean
    • Review the annual reports of departments. Check to be sure that each includes a complete Assessment Update section. If needed elements are missing, return reports to departments for completion.
    • Submit completed reports, with the Dean’s report, to the Academic Vice President.
    • Submit copies to the Assessment Committee for governance review and recommendations.
    • Work with departments to continue the effective assessment of student learning outcomes.
  4. Academic Vice President/Assessment Committee
    • The Vice President reviews the reports for academic standards and compliance
    • The Assessment Committee reviews the reports for implementation of policy
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