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Steps for Successful Program Assessment

Each degree program should provide measurable evidence of student learning. We will use the data to identify areas needing improvement and target resources and instructional planning according to student needs.

  1. Identify Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) for your program. (These are the major skills or dispositions we want our students to know upon graduation.) There may be four, five, or more PLOs for your program. The PLOs for each program are listed in the FSU Catalog.
    1. Please identify the source of the Program Learning Outcomes for your degree area.
    2. You can mention discipline-specific professional or national standards and faculty consensus as sources of PLOs.
    3. Please identify when the PLO was adopted or revised.
  2. Identify the assignment, project, or exam that will be used as evidence of student learning. Each PLO will need an assignment to demonstrate student proficiency.
    1. Choose a required course. (Upper level courses are useful, because they are more likely to serve your majors and demonstrate mastery of the learning goal.)
    2. Select an assignment, project, or exam that will provide evidence of student learning for one of the PLOs. Please provide a rubric if applicable.
  3. Identify the target percentage of students that you expect to demonstrate proficiency. Report the number and percentage of students who were actually proficient (passed the assignment, project, or exam).
  4. Based on the students’ outcomes, share suggestions for improving student learning (revision of syllabi, instructional strategies, course revision, adjustment of rubrics, etc.).
Helpful Hints
  1. Program assessment should answer the following questions:
    1. Is there any evidence that we reflected on the data collected?
    2. Is there any evidence that we used the results to improve?
  2. You will not have to assess every course, only the few selected to provide evidence for Program Learning Outcomes.
    1. Some courses may address one PLO, while others may cover two or three.
    2. It is possible to use one course for each PLO, or a few courses that address two or more PLOs.
  3. If a course is selected to provide evidence of student learning, all sections of the course should report their findings.
  4. You can use embedded questions in an exam in multiple sections of a course! For instance, the mid-term exam for each section may include a certain number of test items that measure student proficiency on a PLO. Each teacher’s test may be different, reflecting the learning or activities specific to each class, but they will include a few common test items. This allows us to preserve academic freedom while measuring student learning on a PLO!
  5. Suggested improvements do not always require drastic changes to programs each semester. The changes may be modest (syllabus or rubric revision) or significant (addition of pre-requisite course, alteration of curriculum, etc.), depending upon the data about student learning.
  6. If a selected course only occurs once a year, please measure student learning when you have the opportunity. We can use staggered reporting of PLOs, measuring a few in the fall semester and others in the spring.

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