Academic Assessment Process
Academic programs follow a six-year assessment cycle. All programs are required to annually report on their results and show how results are used to improve the effectiveness of their programs.
Assessment is a continuous process of gathering, evaluating and communicating information for continuous improvement. Assessment involves defining a program or a unit’s mission, developing desired outcomes, monitoring progress toward those outcomes, communicating results and using those results to make improvements. The assessment provides evidence of how well the University is meeting its objectives, helps identify areas where improvement is needed and provides useful information to help guide decision-making and resource allocation.
Developing an assessment plan facilitates documentation of assessment activities, allows for university-wide communication, and increases the effectiveness of the assessment implementation process, including the utilization of the findings. Assessment plans also serve as a source to help with self-study and program review processes, in addition to being evidence for accreditation requirements by demonstrating that the university is continuously striving to improve student learning.
AUC is committed to assessment as a tool to improve student learning, enhance institutional effectiveness, and provide demonstrable evidence that the University is achieving its mission. The AUC assessment process requires all academic programs to submit annual assessment reports, reflect on their assessment results and the extent they are achieving their intended outcomes, and finally explain how results will be used for improvement.
Each program must submit an assessment plan at the beginning of every assessment cycle (6 years), providing updates if necessary in the annual assessment report.
Assessment Plan Components
Programs are only required to submit an assessment plan every six years; however, updates (if any) should be provided within the annual assessment report. The following elements are included in the assessment plan:
Briefly describe how the program will support the University’s mission.
1. Program Learning Outcomes
State the main learning outcomes (most important) of the program. At least 3-5 student learning outcomes should be identified for each academic degree program. Learning outcomes should be specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, and time-bound. Each student-learning outcome should be associated with at least one program goal.
2. Learning Opportunities
State what courses or experiences provide students with the opportunities to achieve this learning outcome.
3. Assessment Methods/Measures
List the direct and indirect methods you will use to measure how well students are achieving these outcomes.
4. Target levels/benchmarks
Describe the desired level of performance or criteria that represents success at achieving your outcome.
5. When assessment will be conducted and reviewed
Discuss when data will be collected and reviewed.
Assessment Report Components
Programs must submit annual assessment reports based on their approved assessment plans. When reporting on your results, the following elements are included in the report:
1. Assessment plan verification
Include any updates (if any) to the assessment plan. Programs should review their existing assessment plan to determine whether revisions to the plan are required based on the findings.
2. Achievement of target levels/benchmarks
State to what extent students have met the previously established target levels/benchmarks.
3. When the assessment was conducted and reviewed
State when data was collected and reviewed.
Report on the most important results and findings.
5. Analysis and Action Plan
Explain how results will be used to improve the program and how they will be communicated. Also, explain what changes were recommended to improve the program and when they will be implemented.
- March: Programs submit assessment plans (for upcoming assessment cycle)
- November: Programs submit assessment reports (on the previous year) and any updates (if any) to assessment plans.
- September through August: Programs conduct the assessment process.
- The department chair, or designee, is responsible for initiating assessment planning and reporting within the department/program.
- Assessment of a program is the responsibility of those who provide the program, beginning from the development of outcomes or objectives, establishment of criteria for success, and development of systematic ways to improve student learning based upon the results of an assessment.
- Assessment plans and reports are to be submitted on Compliance Assist (planning and assessment software) and updated periodically, and in particular after major changes to a program’s curriculum.
- SMIE conducts gap analyses and quality reviews annually to ensure the effectiveness of the assessment process.
- Assessment results will be used in planning and implementing program improvements. Program faculty are expected to document their assessment activities; i.e., how they have analyzed, reviewed, and used the assessment results to enhance their programs.