Outcomes Assessment is based on the premise that we build curriculum to achieve student learning outcomes. How do we know when our students have achieved these outcomes? By assessing their performance. This practice can take many forms and is most effective when the results of the assessment provide feedback and guidance for students to improve and real evidence for faculty to judge the effectiveness of the strategy as well as students learning.
Each of our colleges has college-wide student learning outcomes and each certificate and degree also has its own more specific learning outcomes. Accreditation reports and visits evaluate our success in articulating these outcomes and our students' success in achieving them. Our accrediting agency is the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU @ http://www.nwccu.org/). At this website you can view the new standards by which we are evaluated.
So what can we do?
- Learn about and practice effective strategies and techniques for writing effective learning outcomes and developing effective assessment practices. Faculty can act as a community of learners in this endeavor.
- Take this tutorial Getting Results to get a good overview of how to develop learning outcomes and to evaluate teaching and learning.
- Watch for faculty development programs that address teaching and learning practice.