Dear Faculty Members, Department Chairs, and College Deans,
This quarter marks the beginning of the renewal of CSUSB's commitment to academic program assessment of student learning outcomes. The redesign of this Outcomes Assessment webpage reflects this renewed commitment. We are working to provide useful resources for assessment on the Outcomes Assessment webpage links that can facilitate assessment planning at all levels. We look forward to working together to help bring our campus' outcomes assessment activities to a new level, where faculty-driven inquiry into student learning contributes to the development of an assessment process that faculty find meaningful, manageable, efficient, and effective in promoting continuous program improvement.
Associate Vice President for Assessment & Planning
Reevaluating the Effectiveness
Of Your Existing Academic Program Assessment
Some departments find value and meaning in their assessment of student learning outcomes, regularly discussing their assessment findings widely among their faculty, and making routine use of assessment data to shape and improve their curriculum. Other departments may have limited motivation to engage in student learning outcomes assessment as they have in the past because they see little or no observable impact of their assessment work on program quality, or their current approach to assessment imposes too great a burden on their faculty. If you are dissatisfied with the way that your academic program assessment approach is working, you are encouraged to engage your colleagues in evaluating the overall effectiveness of your existing assessment plan and work to find ways to improve the assessment process in your department.
Factors to Consider in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Assessment Plans
Assessment plans may have become outdated
- Assessment plans were developed a decade ago or longer but most have not been revised or updated; these plans do not reflect the evolution in best practices in assessment occurring in recent years
- Just as assessment should provide evidence for use in continuous program improvement, assessment plans themselves should be evaluated and improved over time (see Assessing Your Program-Level Assessment Plan, by Susan Hatfield, 2011)
Faculty involvement may be too limited
- In the absence of widespread faculty involvement, it is unlikely that the assessment process can result in meaningful improvements in the quality of an academic program; successful assessment depends on the collective contributions of the entire faculty (see The Faculty Role in Assessment, by Doug Lederman, 2010)
- For many departments, the task of program assessment may have ultimately been relegated to a single faculty member working in isolation from other faculty and from the department as a whole
- Many faculty may simply not be familiar with contemporary approaches to student learning outcomes assessment; this unfamiliarity may breed distrust in the process and a reluctance to participate (see The Faculty and Program-Wide Learning Outcome Assessment, by Gary Gigliotti, 2009)
The connection between assessment processes & program improvement may be weak
- Some departments may see only a negligible impact of student learning outcomes assessment on program improvement; this may reflect ineffective assessment strategies or limited faculty investment in the process
- Assessment findings may not be shared and actively discussed among the faculty, in which case potentially valuable changes in pedagogy or curricular design cannot be developed or implemented
- In re-evaluating your assessment process, special attention should be paid to ensuring that departments "close the loop" by using assessment findings to make informed programmatic changes where appropriate (see Closing the Assessment Loop, by Trudy Banta & Charles Blaich, 2011)
Be sure to explore the newly updated assessment resources in the links on the menu
at left for help in revising and improving your academic program assessment!