What is Academic Program Assessment?
"Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development." (Palomba & Banta, 1999).
"Program-level assessment looks at how well all students in a program have achieved program-level learning goals". (Suskie, 2018, p.17).
Program assessment measures Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) derived from program goals. SLOs are defined as specific observable and measurable statements that indicate the knowledge, skills, abilities, and values that a student is expected to attain upon completion of a learning activity.
Program Assessment answers the following questions:
- What do we want our students to learn in our program? (program mission, goals, outcomes)
- How are we helping them learn? (Curriculum maps)
- How do we know that our students are learning what we want them to learn? (Data/Evidence)
- What have we learned about student learning to further improve student learning/program? (Use the Results)
- Did the changes made improve student learning? (Implement change & Reassess)
Why Assess Academic Programs?
At York College, the primary purpose of Assessment is to continuously improve student learning thus programs. The aim is to not only collect and examine evidence of student learning but to also use the results to make informed decisions regarding curriculum, pedagogy, resources and the assessment process itself. Program assessment provides an opportunity to identify strengths and weakness. Program assessment is also important for external reasons including compliance with the Middle State Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and other respective disciplinary agencies.
Academic Program Assessment at York
At York College, the Academic Program Assessment is part of the Institutional Effectiveness Structure. Assessment is faculty driven and is led by the Academic Assessment Committee (AAC) and supported by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.
Sources: Banta, Trudy W., and Catherine A. Palomba. Assessment Essentials, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2014. ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/yorkcol-ebooks/detail.action?docID=1782543.
Suskie, Linda. Assessing Student Learning, a common sense guide 3rd edition, 2018.
News and Views
AALHE Intersection Winter/Spring 2018 (focus on specialized accreditation programs)
York College presentation at Drexel University Fourth Annual Assessment Conference September 13-15, 2017
Four Reasons Assessment Doesn't Work and What We Can Do About It July 24, 2017 Faculty Focus
Emerging Dialogues in Assessment July 12, 2017 AALHE
NILOA Perspectives, Moving Toward a Philosophy of Assessment May/June 2017 Assessment Update