Assessment and Outcomes

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Measurement, Evaluation, and Reporting

The whole point of assessment to establish an ongoing, systematic mechanism for assessing, reviewing, and improving programs. Therefore each program assessment plan must include explicit procedures for determining which outcomes will be measured; when they will be measured; who will measure them; who will analyze them; what results will be reported, to whom; and how results have been implemented.

This is the step in the assessment cycle that makes assessment relevant, and it is the step which is likely to be most scrutinized by outside agencies. The "accountability" aspect of assessment is the requirement to document how assessment findings have been used to guide program improvement.

Currently Western is using an annual survey of academic departments to gather information on program assessment plans. This procedure is likely to be modified in the future into a uniform reporting format that includes program mission, goals, objectives, outcomes, and procedures, along with a cumulative listing of program improvements that have been made as a result of assessment findings.

Therefore, this section of each plan must show not only how results have been applied to program improvement in each annual cycle, but also must analyze what results say about program effectiveness and about the impact of assessment-induced changes on program effectiveness over time.

At present Western has no common assessment activity reporting requirement or format for academic units. In the past, assessment information has been gathered from units via an online survey, and data from the survey has been collated and used to construct assessment reports for accreditation and for the State.

In the future it is quite likely that Western will adopt some common reporting format for academic units, which will generally follow the structure described in this section and shown in the figure below:

Outcomes Assessment Plan

  1. Program mission statement
  2. Program goals consistent with mission statement
  3. Multiple learning objectives (intended learning outcomes) for each goal
  4. Measurement of multiple outcomes for each learning objective
  5. Assessment criteria for each learning objective
  6. A framework for data analysis and program improvement
  7. Documentation of how assessment results have improved both programs andassessment criteria and procedures