Program-Level Assessment

Indirect Assessment

  • Student surveys
  • Focus groups with students, with faculty, with administrators
  • Individual interviews
  • Alumni surveys
  • Employer surveys

Direct Assessment

  • Course-embedded — This is DIFFERENT from course assessment in itself. Because course grades measure other variables besides demonstrated knowledge or skills pertaining to specific program learning outcomes, grades collected directly from courses do not bear directly on assessment of Program Learning Outcomes.
  • Instructors who teach a program’s courses should also be involved in program-level assessment discussions that ask: Where is the program today? Where would we like the program to be in five years? How will we get the program there? How will we know we got the program there?
  • To create course-embedded program-level assessment: Form a faculty committee with expertise in the learning outcomes measured. Charge the committee with discussing the relevant program learning outcomes and creating a set of benchmarks appropriate for the program—not for individual courses! The committee will also create a rubric outlining standards and describing what exceeds those standards, what meets those standards, and what is below those standards.
  • Demonstration assessment — With direct benchmarks established for a program, students can demonstrate mastery of program learning outcomes. This demonstration could be a capstone project, or a standardized test taken in the field of study.

These tables will help you get started planning assessment at the program level.