Curriculum Assessment

An important aspect of our educational program is the ongoing analysis of how our curriculum fulfills the ideals and goals of the college's mission and the learning objectives set forth by each department and program. Analysis based on learning objectives and learning outcomes plays a crucial role in assessing our programs while maintaining faculty autonomy and creativity.

Annual assessment reports provide the opportunity for departments and programs to reflect on the dynamic role of learning outcomes in developing and implementing curricula, and how departments and programs are meeting their learning outcome objectives. Ideally, an ongoing cycle of assessment reports will inform your five-year Curriculum Committee review, thus making assessment and use of feedback from assessments a natural part of the curricular work of your department.

The Assessment Report, due by June 30 each year, is your opportunity to describe how you evaluate student achievement of departmental or program student learning objectives and how your assessments are incorporated into curriculum planning.

In your annual report please provide the following information:

  1. List your department or program student learning outcomes, expressed as statements that clearly articulate what students should be able to do, achieve, demonstrate, or know upon graduation.
  2. Select one or two student learning outcomes for analysis for the current academic year. (If you have five or fewer outcomes, analysis of one per year is sufficient; if you have a longer list of outcomes, you may need to select a couple for analysis each year in order to be able to review the full set in a five-year cycle.)
    1. Please list the most significant elements of your program and curriculum that contribute to development of student achievement of the selected learning outcome(s).
    2. Please list the most significant information and processes your program uses to understand the degree to which students achieve the selected student learning outcome(s).
    3. What has your program learned about student achievement with respect to the selected outcome(s) this year?
    4. Based on what you currently understand about the degree to which students achieve the selected outcome(s), please list the most significant changes your program has recently made or is considering for the future. These can be changes in an expected learning outcome, program and curricular elements related to the learning outcome, or ways of understanding the degree to which students achieve the learning outcome.
  3. Which learning outcome(s) will you analyze in the coming academic year?
  4. What information do you need in order to conduct a helpful analysis?

Please note that effective, meaningful assessment of learning outcomes does not need to be burdensome. Whatever the process, the establishment of meaningful "feedback loops" to discuss and act on data is key to the usefulness of outcome assessment.

The Institutional Research Report Repository is a great source of valuable data for your department or program. One among many additional resources is Assessing Outcomes and Improving Achievement, edited by Terrel Rhodes and published as part of the AAC&U VALUE series.

Please contact Lisa Ferrari (lferrari@pugetsound.edu) with questions, comments, or concerns.

Thank you for your on-going assessment work.