Assessment is a systematic process for measuring, analyzing, and reflecting on the quality of teaching and learning in order to make data-informed decisions about academic programs. At USF, the assessment process is faculty-owned and on-going. Each year in October, all academic programs (majors, minors, certificates) submit a summary of the assessment data, analysis, and future action plans through an Assessment Report.
The Assessment Report contains the following sections:
Student Learning Outcomes
The Assessment Report identifies the program-level student learning outcomes that are assessed for the year. Most programs assess two or three different outcomes each year, some programs assess the same outcomes each year but with a different set of data, and some programs assess all outcomes each year with all data. Write the program outcome at the top of the page as it appears on the USF Catalog.
The Assessment Report includes a list of “direct” and “indirect” assessments. This list includes course assignments/exams, departmental or institutional surveys, licensing exams, and any other assessment tool that measures a student’s achievement of the learning outcome. List each assessment separately, and aim to have a mix of direct and indirect assessments and also a mix of internal (USF-generated) and external (non-USF-generated) assessments.
Results and Interpretations
In the Results and Interpretations section, provide a description of the assessment (describe the survey or the course/assignment), a summary of the data for each assessment, and commentary about whether that data did not meet, met, or exceeded expectations.
- The description of the course, survey, or assignment can be about one or two sentences. It is based on the course description, course outcomes, and assignment requirements.
- The summary of the assessment results is often presented as an average score or as a number/percentage of students who did not meet, met, or exceeded expectations. For example, “98% of this year’s graduating class passed the NCLEX,” or “15 of 17 students (88%) received a score of 75% or higher on the assignment.” (This also requires that the program establishes benchmark targets or expectations.)
- The interpretation or commentary is an explanation of what the data means. In short, what does the data show? Are students successful or struggling? How do this year’s results compare to expectations? How do they compare to previous years? How do they compare to competing programs? Are interventions from previous years working? Are changes or new interventions needed?
Improvement Plans and Action Steps
Action Steps are plans or interventions the program will implement to promote continuous quality improvement as a result of the data. USF is committed to continuous improvement, so the program will need to add some kind of improvement plan besides “keep up the great work!” even if the data shows success. Common action steps are to align assessments to outcomes more effectively, to clarify assignment expectations, to provide more resources for students, to collect more data (for recent interventions), to implement a new intervention, to revise an outcome, etc.
For more information about Assessment Reports, contact your college’s faculty representative on the Assessment Committee, or contact the Dean of Teaching & Learning Outcomes. Click on the Assessment tag below or go to the Teach+Assess Blog to read more posts about academic assessment.