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Students already demonstrate their performance through testing, quizzes and multiple choice exams. Isn't that enough?

The good news is that you can use those demonstrations of performance (i.e., assessments) under certain circumstances. If those assessments directly address one of your PLOs, they may be an excellent source of information as to what your students know and are able to do as they progress.

In these cases, analyze these assessments across the population (or subpopulations) of students who performed it and look at levels of achievement on that PLO to provide data about student success. Additionally, assess PLOs more than once during your program so you know that they're achieving outcomes along the way, and not just at the end.

What is the difference between Academic Program Review (APR) and Annual Assessment? Why do we need to do both?

For each academic unit, APR occurs every 5-7 years. Annual assessment of Student Learning Outcomes, however, is part of a unit's self-study, and is often an area where academic units need support. Regular participation in annual assessment will make participating in Academic Program Review more meaningful and less stressful. Annual assessment reporting on student learning outcomes is a formative process that offers you a valuable opportunity to reflect on meaningful evidence that your programs are achieving their intended learning goals.

Do I have to report on all of my PLOs each year?

Assessment is a continuous process that guides your instruction, so you will always be monitoring the experience of your students in your program. We recommend reporting on and assessing 1-2 PLOs/year. An assessment plan and curriculum map that indicates when you plan to assess each outcome within a program will help you stay on track.

I need help writing my PLOs. What do I do?

You have options. You can reach out to the assessment lead in your academic unit, look for resources on this website, watch a video from our FOTL session, or you can fill out a Help Request Form and someone will contact you.

I am the Unit Assessment Lead. What resources can I use to help my unit?

Please refer to the resources page or consult your CLAS Advisor.

How do I assess the PLOs I have?

When aligned with program learning outcomes, you can use course-embedded tests, quizzes, capstone projects, and specifically developed course assessments for assignments (that may include rubrics).

This document will help you get started. Also see the Resources section of the website as we will keep adding to it.

Do I have to assess all of my programs each year? That’s too much!

No, you do not! We recommend that you establish a schedule of when you will assess each program to get feedback on them. Your assessment plan will be informed by when your unit goes through APR. If you have some very similar programs, you may decide that the feedback you received on one of them applies to another and you do not need specific feedback on a given program. We do recommend assessing undergraduate programs and graduate programs in separate years. 

What are the benefits of annual assessment?

Annual assessment of program learning outcomes tells you what all students in your program know and are able to do as a result of engaging in your program. It brings clarity to whether your curriculum is doing what you intend it to. Assessment also informs you which student populations in your programs are successful and which are not. The assessment process can engage your faculty in deep discussions as how they can provide more opportunities for student success. In this way, assessment provides critical fuel for continuous improvement.

Faculty assess student learning in the courses already. Why do we have to do more?

It may not be a matter of doing more, but rather focusing efforts to ensure they are tracking progress towards PLOs. Course-embedded assessments may do double duty as program assessments. The upcoming 2023 CLAS workshop sessions on Mapping PLOs to your Curriculum will help you understand how this can work.