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Assessment Resources: FAQs

Assessment Planning FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions Teaching & Learning Committee (TLC) members received during the program-level assessment planning process. If you have questions or would like to discuss your program-level assessment activities further, please contact Yuriko IkedaDavid RusbasanTony Ribera, or any of the members of the TLC Planning & Reporting Subcommittee.

What are some effective strategies for sharing program-level learning outcomes with students?

In the Political Science program, program-level learning outcomes are shared during SOAR, advising sessions, and courses. Course-level and program-level learning outcomes are highlighted in course syllabi and on Canvas. Newly revised program-level learning outcomes are presented in every course syllabus in the Languages and Cultures department. In addition, the department actively highlights course-level and program-level learning outcomes at the beginning of courses and refers back to them during the Cross-Cultural Research Symposium and Senior Research Presentations. Students also have opportunities to reflect on their progress and mastery of program-level learning outcomes throughout the curriculum. Learning outcomes should be reinforced and assessed throughout the learning experience. Programs are also strongly encouraged to share learning outcomes with students as well as others involved with the program, such as adjunct faculty and internship supervisors.

What are some good examples of direct program-level assessment activities at Marian?

Direct assessment involves the examination or observation of actual student work. Examples include a student presentation and group research paper. Direct assessment of program-level learning outcomes occurs throughout the Graphic Design & Studio Arts curricula. However, a focus is placed on three strategic points in the program: (a) Foundation Portfolio Review during the first semester of the sophomore year; (b) Junior Portfolio Review during the second semester of the junior year; and (c) Senior Portfolio Review during the final semester. Visual and written products are submitted by students and scored by faculty using a standard rubric. For example, the Senior Portfolio Review includes artifacts from their senior project exhibition as well as written products, such as values statements, biographic statements, and annotated bibliographies.

What are some good examples of indirect program-level assessment activities at Marian?

Indirect assessment focuses on perceptions of student learning rather than actual student work. Examples include student surveys, interviews, and focus groups. The indirect assessment plan for the Social Work program focuses primarily on the collection and use of meaningful qualitative data. The program plans to hold town hall meetings that will include semi-structured focus groups with students, fieldwork supervisors, community partners, employers, and/or faculty. These focus groups will be conducted to better understand student achievement of all program-level learning outcomes, how the program respects diversity, and how the program creates supportive learning environments. The program is also currently exploring instruments from the Social Work Education Assessment Project (SWEAP) and the possibility of administering these to students. St. Joseph’s College has established a student ambassador program to gain student feedback. With their “Earn and Learn” curriculum, St. Joseph’s College also relies on employers to provide both direct and indirect assessment of student learning.

How are programs at Marian sharing findings from direct and indirect assessment activities with others?

The Biomedical Sciences program shares findings from direct and indirect assessment activities with faculty and administrators during program meetings and via e-mail. Data summaries are used to promote reflection and program improvement. Previous assessment summaries have resulted in modifications in the curriculum and changes to the program offerings. Select data summaries and action items are also shared with students to help close the loop and ensure students recognize the importance of their feedback and the role students have in program improvements. In the Nursing program, school administrators and faculty regularly utilize learning outcomes data to improve, maintain, and enhance program effectiveness. The program has developed several effective collaborations with community partners to address identified issues and provide further opportunities for student education. Programs are strongly encouraged to share aggregate findings from direct and indirect assessment activities with those involved with the program (e.g., students, faculty) as well as other faculty and staff on campus as they might benefit from learning about the program’s assessment efforts.

Who should be involved in program-level assessment?

Programs are strongly encouraged to engage various stakeholders in their assessment processes. Several individuals and groups are involved in program-level assessment in the Osteopathic Medicine program. With support from the Curriculum Committee, faculty develop course-level measures to assess student learning and competence. Faculty review student performance as a group and examine trends. Administrators and academic support staff also review student performance data and make recommendations. In addition to providing regular and ongoing feedback, students are engaged in discussions about assessment practices and protocols.