An academic unit can logically anticipate program review will lead to a clarification of the department’s curricular goals. Similar goals will likely be developed according to the scholarly expectations the academic unit might bring to its evaluation of scholarship and creative work.
Assessment may best be considered as two intersecting goals:
- The ability to discern the relative efficacy of an academic unit’s curricular goals and objectives
- The development of curricular assessment goals that are both effective and manageable
Program review and assessment are only as good as the academic unit’s ability to efficiently gather and analyze evaluative data without impairing the ability to conduct other essential functions. Faculty must therefore constantly weigh the desire for evaluative data against the ability to both generate that data and maintain its assessment goals.
Typically, faculty will select a single assessment goal to evaluate over the course of an academic year. A subcommittee will develop an assessment plan to address the student learning goal, gather evidence to use for the evaluation (i.e., examinations from courses that seek to develop the learning goal), and systematically evaluate the data sample.
Such assessment efforts need to be viewed as developmental tools: How can the faculty members involved in the teaching of a course more effectively achieve the desired student learning outcome? Assessment of student learning outcomes is intended to provide faculty with data that will aid the systematic improvement of the overall program and the effective achievement of the particular learning goal.
University Office of Assessment web page