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Department/Program Assessment

The college assessment plan asks chairs or coordinators to coordinate regular assessments within their departments or programs. Each department and program should articulate its goals and objectives for student learning as the foundation for this work.

At the beginning of the academic year, each department and program should have a conversation about goals and assessment, informed by the previous year's final summary report. During this meeting the department or program should clarify the focus of its assessment and how it will carry out its plan for the year.  Each department and program should review the feedback from the Provost's Office about the previous year's report, and incorporate the suggestions into its work for the current year.

Guidelines for end-of-year meetings

The assessment plan for the academic program calls for each academic department to hold an annual meeting at the end of the spring semester. These meetings provide an opportunity for departments to:

  • Review and revise curricular goals for the program of the department and individual courses
  • Consider the progress of students towards meeting these goals and the effectiveness of the department's program
  • Review assessment activities concluded over the past year and reflect on what has been learned
  • Plan for assessment activities to be conducted in the following academic year.

Ideally, these discussions should take place after Honors orals and comprehensive exercises are completed so that data from these experiences can enlighten the department's consideration of student learning and performance. Ultimately, the department can determine what materials to use as input for its reflections. To make the meeting most useful the department should have articulated learning goals for its majors, minors and individual courses prior to the meeting.

In a given year, departments may choose to consider student performance in their program in general, or to focus on individual components of the program, such as introductory courses or Honors seminars. A component of the discussion should derive from the results of recently administered course evaluations, the results of which will be summarized, in general terms only, by the Chair.

End-of-year report

Following the end-of-year meeting the Chair or Coordinator will prepare a written report for the Provost that summarizes the departmental/program discussion and any actions that it will take. This report provides an opportunity to summarize assessment results and conclusions, and highlight any needs or issues that arose from the discussion.   The report must include:

  • a response to each of the seven questions below;
  • a confirmation that goals presented on the assessment website or accurate, or an appendix with the current version of your goals and objectives; and
  • any materials (for example, rubrics or instruments) used in collecting or analyzing evidence of student learning. 
  1. What goals or objectives have you assessed this year?
  2. How did you do it?  Be sure to describe at least one example of direct assessment.  
  3. What did you find? (Please do not include materials or records that would identify individual students.)
  4. What changes will you make as a result of this work?
  5. What plans have you made for assessment during the coming academic year?  What goal(s) will you focus on and what are your tentative plans for collecting and evaluating student work to reflect on those goals?
  6. What topics and courses did you cover in your course evaluations, and what were the nature and implications of your findings?
  7. What other issues were discussed by the department or program?

Here is a Word version of the report template which you may download and use: End of Year Assessment Report TEMPLATE.docx

Under normal circumstances, the report should be submitted to the Provost no later than June 15. The report is discussed as part of the annual meeting between the chair or coordinator, the Provost, and the President the following fall, and can serve as a reference point for future department/program activities and needs.