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Blue Ribbon Faculty Committee on Undergraduate Outcomes POLICY STATEMENT

Colorado Revised Statutes 23-13-101, which establishes a higher education accountability program, states that institutions shall be accountable for "demonstrable improvements in student knowledge, capacities, and skills between entrance and graduation." It requires the University to institute by 1990 a system to assess "student knowledge, capacities, and skills," and to report results to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE). Assessment of aggregate student outcomes must involve, at least in part, measures of gains or improvements.

The UCB Strategic Plan (March 1987) furthermore states that campus policies will

  • "Encourage each department to examine critically the objectives of its curriculum and its contribution to general education requirements;"
  • "Enhance the review of curricula in the program review process;"
  • "Improve student skills in writing, speaking, qualititive analysis, and critical thinking;"
  • "Develop a process for the assessment of educational outcomes that will assist in the enhancement of curriculum and the improvement of teaching skills;" and
  • "Enhance the well-rounded self-development of students, both in and out of the classroom."

The committee agrees that outcomes assessment will

  • help University units evaluate their programs to identify strengths and determine areas for improvement,
  • help improve our communication with the University's public constituencies (e.g., students, parents, alumni, state citizens), and
  • assist in re-accreditation reviews.

In order to initiate a comprehensive and continuing assessment process that will benefit the entire campus and that will conform to the requirements of . the Colorado Higher Education Act CRS 23-13-101 and to the principles of the UCB Strategic Plan, the committee makes the following recommendations:

  1. Academic and support units that deal with undergraduates will participate in the undergraduate assessment process. This includes
    • academic departments, instructional programs not administered by departments, and schools/colleges, and
    • non-academic or support units such as the library system and Student Support Services units.
  2. Three main areas will be assessed:
    • general education,
    • ducation in the major discipline or specialty, and
    • activities that occur outside the classroom that help develop other skills and qualities the unit wishes graduates to have.
  3. Academic units will assess the aggregate achievements, outcomes, and gains of their undergraduates as a group, building on existing procedures and adding new ones as needed.

    Support units will use a similar process to measure the success effectiveness of their programs for undergraduates.

    Units at campus and school/college levels will assess the overall combined effectiveness of instructional and non-instructional units of the university, using surveys of student perceptions of the UCB undergraduate experience and broad measurements of general education skills, knowledge, and capacities.

    All units will

    1. explicitly state goals for undergraduates in terms of skills, knowledge, and/or capacities;
    2. examine current programs in light of those goals;
    3. choose (and/or develop) and implement ways to measure the achievement of those goals;
    4. use the results of assessment to strengthen programs; and
    5. use the results of assessment in regularly-scheduled program and accreditation reviews.

    Specific suggestions and notes on available resources are contained in the document "Recommendations for Implementation".

  4. The process will be a continuing one and will normally be integrated with the program review process.
  5. Every graduating senior will participate in at least one assessment in addition to those involved in courses required for graduation and for the major.
  6. Credit and GPA requirements will continue to serve as minimum standards of individual performance that every graduate must meet.
  7. Deans will coordinate and supervise the assessment processes of their academic units; appropriate vice-chancellors will coordinate and supervise the assessment processes of support units. A campus-wide coordinating group will oversee the process as a whole.
  8. Unit reports of assessment results, recommendations, and their implementation will be collected and summarized by deans and vice chancellors in a report to the Chancellor, who will in turn report to University central administration. Campus and central administrations will be responsible for communicating the findings to the public, the University Regents, the CCHE, and the legislature.
  9. The UCB administration will provide the resources and staff needed to accomplish these goals.

Last revision 06/02/04

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