Assessment at Carolina

Assessment in Academic Programs

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The purpose of Academic Assessment is to improve student learning through systematic, faculty-driven assessment of academic programs. It is a collaborative process that involves faculty, students, staff, administrators, and other campus stakeholders.

The academic assessment process involves:

  • Establishing student learning outcomes
  • Measuring, observing and documenting the degree to which outcomes are achieved
  • Findings ways to improve based on our measures and observations
  • Implementing improvement plans

Student learning outcomes describe the knowledge and skills we expect students to gain by the time they complete a course of study at Carolina.

The means of assessment should emphasize direct examination of student work such as papers, tests, and presentations.  These measures should provide evidence that students’ knowledge or abilities have increased since they have begun their course of study.

Indirect assessments such as course evaluations or surveys of alumni may also be used as supplemental measures. These types of assessments are useful in understanding how students believe they have benefited from their educational experience and how they have applied it. They can be helpful in informing decisions to changes to instruction or the curriculum, but they don’t provide direct evidence of what students have learned. Indirect assessments should gather information directly pertaining to the program – for example, course evaluations given to students at the end of the semester should include questions specific to the course itself and what was covered, rather than a generic evaluation.

Academic departments often address Program Outcomes in their assessment plans in addition to student learning outcomes. These outcomes may describe how the department is improving overall quality of the program, the impact of the program in the discipline, and related areas.  Graduation and job placement rates, the number of presentations and publications by students, or examination of the program by external reviewers are examples of appropriate measures.