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What's Next


CU-Boulder's undergraduate outcomes assessment process is fairly mature. The ongoing growth is mostly fine-tuning rather than major change. This is a good time to look at possible future developments. The ideas in this section are suggestions, not concrete plans. They indicate areas in which the program might begin to move in new directions. They are of two general types: making the current process more efficient and effective, and adding assessment of areas that we have not focused on so far. They are certainly not all of the possible directions for growth, but are examples of things which might be useful and interesting to consider.

Making Better Use of the Current Process
  • One improvement might be to make assessment information more accessible to the university's various constituencies. These include students and parents, faculty, staff, and administrators, and members of the local and statewide communities. A variety of approaches might be tried; putting this document on the Web was the first step.

  • The university could decide to be more active in rewarding units which make creative and effective use of outcomes assessment in curriculum planning. Rewards could range from public recognition to increased support for program development.

  • More effective use might be made of information that the university collects for purposes other than formal undergraduate outcomes assessment. A few units already incorporate information from the university's Faculty Course Questionnaire (course evaluations) in their assessment processes, or examine how assessment results are related to students' course-taking patterns. In addition to more use of this kind of information by the academic units, administrative research offices such as PBA might become more active in helping units obtain and use the data.

Assessing additional areas
  • It might be possible to develop cross-unit assessments in areas such as general education, in addition to the unit-based ones already in place. This would have to be done in such a way that it did not disrupt units' control of their own assessment processes.

  • Degree-granting programs serve non-majors as well as their own majors. For some units, this service role is quite large. With few exceptions, unit-based outcomes assessment at CU-Boulder has focused on majors. Evaluating how units serve non-majors might require beginning a whole new process, starting with goal statements for a unit's service component.

  • Similarly, outcomes assessment so far has focused primarily on seniors and degree recipients. Future efforts might assess the performance and satisfaction of lower-division students as well, and help units think about students who do and do not remain in their programs.

CU-Boulder's undergraduate outcomes assessment program is dealing fairly well with the questions it was designed to pursue--performance within units and degree programs, and general student satisfaction with the educational experience. The information has both confirmed things in those areas that are working well and helped to identify areas for improvement. It may be effective to leave the current process as is, except for necessary adjustments to state-level changes. It might also be useful to consider enhancing the current process or expanding it, gradually, into new areas.

Last revision 06/02/04


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