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CU-Boulder fall 2000 submission, for funding 2000-01
Graduation Year Undergraduate Assessment Program
Plan to reinvigorate the assessment in the major discipline
We plan to revise and enhance our current processes, not replace them. In this section we outline the
responsibilities of the several actors involved: The Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education
(AVCAA-UGE); Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA) and its institutional analysis area; a new campus-wide
Assessment Oversight Committee; academic programs; and students. In the list of responsibilities below
we have noted whether each is new or continuing, and whether it is ongoing or one-time.
The Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (AVCAA-UGE)
- Recruit and chair the oversight committee. New, ongoing.
- With the VCAA, set the charge for the oversight committee. New, one-time.
- A preliminary list of items in the immediate charge is below, listed under committee responsibilities.
All these items focus on assessment of graduating seniors' knowledge and skills in the major discipline.
- Eventually the charge will be expanded to include undergraduate general education, graduate education,
student development, and student satisfaction with university services and life. It will also include
reporting to the NCA on assessment activities in all areas.
- Manage the assessment budget, with advice of the oversight committee. Allocate funds to academic programs
and other uses; request new funds as necessary. Continuing, ongoing.
- With PBA, consult with individual academic programs on their assessment activities. New, ongoing.
- Apprise and consult with campus officials and organizations about assessment activities. Obtain any
necessary approvals for policies and recommendations made by the committee. New, ongoing.
Campus-wide Assessment Oversight Committee (AOC). Committee is new, ongoing.
Note: All activities listed here are relevant to assessment of graduating seniors' knowledge and skills in
the major discipline. As noted above, eventually the committee's charge will expand to include undergraduate
general education, graduate education, student development, and student satisfaction with university services
and life, plus reporting to the NCA on assessment activities in all areas.
- Committee members are listed in Appendix A. The inaugural meeting will be in November or December 2000.
- State requirements for academic programs for assessing graduating seniors' knowledge and skills in the major
discipline, including both ongoing work and periodic reporting. State requirements for documenting use of
assessment information in program improvement. Set and state consequences of not meeting these requirements
(to date there have been virtually no consequences). A preliminary version of the requirements is listed under
academic program responsibilities. Previously these requirements were stated in the campus policy adopted in
1988. A formal revision to the policy may be needed, with regular review and revision as necessary.
- State requirements for assessment activities that are most appropriately administered by a campus-wide unit
such as PBA rather than by individual academic programs. Survey research and standardized testing are two
candidates. In formulating the requirements focus on utility for programs with the largest number of graduating
seniors. A preliminary version of these requirements is listed under PBA responsibilities.
- State requirements for students, if determined necessary. As an example, current requirements for the BS
in computer science include 1. course requirements, 2. requirements concerning the total number of credit hours,
3. grades, 4. hours completed on campus, and 5. a requirement to take part in a senior exit exam and
- Solicit and oversee reviews of submissions from academic programs, and reports from PBA. Provide feedback
to academic programs and to PBA, especially about additional opportunities for communicating assessment
results and actions, and for using the results in program improvement.
- Develop methods of and guidelines for using information from academic programs on assessment activities
in the unit merit component of the Academic Affairs budget allocation process. Merit would be judged by
the effectiveness of the program's collection and use of assessment results for program improvement, not
by the results themselves.
- Advise the AVCAA-UGE on use of the assessment budget.
- Increase faculty and student awareness of assessment activities, methods, and especially use by campus
academic programs. Incorporate assessment activities into routine campus processes such as unit merit.
Make use of assessment information more visible on campus, with greater integration into course and
curriculum revisions, advising discussions, and other forums focussing on undergraduate education.
In doing so, build faculty support and involvement in assessment.
- As part of increasing awareness, advise on special kick-off events during calendar year 2001.
Possibilities include attendance at the annual assessment conference of the American Association
of Higher Education, to be held in Denver June 23-26, 2001;
and inviting outside experts in for consultations. Names mentioned to date include Peter Ewell
of NCHMS, Karl and Karen Schilling from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and
Miami University of Ohio, local scientist Elaine Seymour, and Ephraim Schechter of North Carolina State.
Planning, Budget, and Analysis
- Staff the work of the AVCAA-UGE and of the committee. Continuing, ongoing.
- With the AVCAA-UGE, consult with individual academic programs on assessment implementation plans.
Continuing, ongoing. Even though this is a continuing responsibility, it will be carried out in a
more aggressive manner than over the prior five years.
- Serve as liaison to CCHE on assessment. Continuing, ongoing.
- Carry out (or coordinate) assessment activities that are most appropriately administered by a campus-wide
unit rather than by individual academic programs. Ensure that each academic unit receives and understands
information relevant to these activities. This is a continuing, ongoing responsibility with some new
activities. Activities anticipated now include
- A continuing cycle of standardized tests. PBA will test, or work with departments to test,
representative samples of about 40 students per major, rotating through relevant majors on a three-year
cycle. New, ongoing. Use of standardized tests presents details.
- A continuing cycle of student surveys evaluating individual courses (the faculty-course questionnaire),
academic degree programs, and the campus as a whole. Continuing, ongoing.
- Maintain and enhance the outcomes assessment website. Include information on requirements, methods,
activities, results, and use. Include materials for departments, materials supporting committee work,
and summaries of activities by each academic program. Design the site to serve audiences including
coordinators in academic programs, the oversight committee, students, parents, employers, and the public.
- Ensure that skill and knowledge goals for students in the undergraduate program are published in the
university catalog, and are reviewed and revised periodically. Continuing, ongoing.
- Ensure that the program can state, and document, how well it has been able to help students achieve the
stated goals. The process of documentation is the first step in the ultimate goal, use of the information
in program improvement. Continuing, ongoing.
- Publish any assessment requirements for students. Continuing, ongoing.
- Use assessment information - collected by the program, plus survey and test results collected by PBA
-- to consider and design changes, as deemed necessary and desirable by program faculty, to courses and
curriculum, instructional practices, course assignment practices, instructional facilities, student
support services, and other components of the undergraduate program. Continuing, ongoing.
- Submit to the oversight committee, in writing, on the requested schedule, sufficient information to
demonstrate conformance with the first four requirements - stated goals, stated requirements for
students, collection and documentation, and use of assessment information. Include in the submission
results, and departmental use of results, of any standardized tests and surveys. Continuing, ongoing.
- Provide the committee with other followup information as requested. Continuing, ongoing.
The direct responsibilities of programs are limited to the above list. Programs will have latitude to
use whatever assessment methods fit them best, and can request funds for assessment from the AVCAA-UGE.
However, the AOC will offer guidelines and suggestions to help programs accomplish assessment efficiently
and effectively. Samples are listed here for illustration.
- Guidelines: Programs should ensure that
- Some assessments cover papers, exams, and survey responses from students who are representative of
all students in the program, not just of a subset who take honors, go on to graduate school, or are
in a particular course.
- The processes of teaching/instructing and evaluating/assessing work are divorced, not always carried
out by the same individual.
- Periodically - at least once each xx (to be determined by the AOC) years - individuals external
to the department or program are involved in assessment.
- Suggestions: Assessment tools to consider
- Surveys and exit interviews
- Post graduation surveys, followups
- Employer and/or graduate school surveys
- Student portfolios
- Close examination of a sample of papers and exams from classes
- Authentic performance assessments
- National exams
- A matrix relating each course taught by the program to each skill and knowledge goal (example:
California State Sacramento, sociology)
- Participate in graduation-year assessment activities stated as requirements by their academic program.
- Offer thoughtful, honest, and constructive feedback to their programs about courses, instructors,
curricula, requirements, advising, and the like.
Graduation Year Undergraduate Assessment Program
Undergraduate Outcomes Assessment main page