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Program Assessment Step by Step

Steps for Programs Conducting Program Learning Outcomes Assessment

  • Write Program Learning Outcomes (PLO's) that identify what students will learn, be able to do, or care about as a result of their work in the program. Each program should have 4-5 student learning outcomes that use active verbs (see Bloom's Taxonomy).
  • Map or identify which courses in the program curriculum contribute to students learning the outcome. This is the Curriculum Map and it identifies where the PLO is introduced, developed, and mastered by the student.
  • Collect evidence of student learning and the information that demonstrates how well students are achieving the program learning outcomes. This information is either Direct Evidence or Indirect Evidence of student learning.
  • Select at least 2 PLOs to assess using existing Direct and Indirect Evidence.
  • Review the evidence of student learning using an assessment tool or methodology such as a Rubric.
    • Test or "anchor" the rubrics with sample student work to make sure the rubrics, and the way they are written, work.
    • Select a representative sample of work. The sample size and the identification of the sample size will vary based on the size of the program. See Sample Size Guidelines.
    • "Norm" the rubrics or assessment tools with the faculty. In other words, discuss the meaning of the rubrics and how faculty will interpret and apply these rubrics.
    • Complete a Pre-Scoring Preparation template and submit to the "Curriculum Maps & Assessment Plan" folder for your program in the Assessment Archives.
    • Organize the data for the sample (at the appropriate sample size), assemble a scoring team of at least 2, and score the student work with the rubrics during this workshop. Bring appropriate number of copies of rubrics to score each example of student work.
    • Complete the Scoring and Results template.
  • Analyze the data collected from the assessment to evaluate how well and how many students are achieving the Program Learning Outcome. Engage in analysis and interpretation of the data with others.
  • Set goals to improve the level of achievement and/or numbers of students achieving the PLO.
  • Make changes or request resources (budget, etc.) to support improvements to student learning and achievement of the Program Learning Outcome.
  • Document this cycle of assessing Program Learning Outcomes in a Program Assessment Report.