Academic Program Assessment

Academic Program Assessment was institutionalized as an academic priority with the 1999 Academic Senate policy on program assessment. In 2002 the senate policy was revised to integrate four separate Academic Senate documents regarding assessment. 
In 2015, the University Academic Assessment Advisory Committee (UAAAC) developed four assessment report templates for annual assessment activity on campus, and a fifth report was added in 2017.  These five reports represent the steps needed for an assessment cycle of student learning in degree programs.  The cycle starts with a definition of the mission of the program and the learning goals students will achieve upon graduation (Mission Statement and Program Learning Goals).  Next, a curriculum map can be used to define the relationship of courses in the program to the program learning goals and help plan assessment of the learning goals (Curriculum Map).  Finally, the assessment of individual program learning goals can be done (Assessment of Program Learning Goal) and the results of that assessment used to improve courses, curriculum or learning goals as needed (Closing the Loop).   It is expected that once the first three steps have been taken, programs will cycle through the assessment of learning goals and closing the loop so that all learning goals for all degree programs are assessed on a five to seven year cycle.    Programs can choose for themselves which assessment report to submit each year.  Reports are typically due the third week of April to Academic Planning.  The UAAAC will review a subset of submitted reports in the next year to provide feedback to programs.

Assessment Report Templates

What are the purposes of assessment?

  1. To define the mission of the program (Mission Statement) and define the skills, attitudes and knowledge a student can be expected to attain upon completion of a degree (Prorgram Learning Goals).
  2. To evaluate the coherence of the curriculum, or the degree to which courses in the curriculum are coordinated to introduce, develop and master the skills, attitudes and knowledge defined by the learning goals (Curriculum Map).
  3. To assess how well students are achieving the program learning goals to inform the process of planning and improving programs, courses and the curriculum (Assessment of Learning Goals, Closing the Loop)
  4. To share information about student learning in the program with program faculty and students, with colleagues in other programs and the academic senate, and with administrators and external accrediting bodies.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

Learning outcomes are succinct, measurable statements that describe the knowledge, skills, understandings, and/or attitudes students will possess upon achievement of that outcome. Attention is focused on the specific types of understanding that students are expected to demonstrate.

Methods of Assessment

All departments are encouraged to develop assessment practices that are consonant with their own philosophies of teaching and learning. Science and social science disciplines typically use a quantitative social science model, while creative arts and humanities often take a qualitative approach. The use of both quantitative and qualitative data is encouraged.

Assessment methods consist of a variety of data collection strategies designed to measure the attainment of outcomes. All assessment plans should have at least 1 direct measure of student learning, along with indirect measures. Good assessment plans include details regarding the methods used to gather information in order to fully convey that department's process. In addition, samples of any rubrics, questionnaires, skill exams etc. used in assessment should be attached for clarity.

Assessment strategies and methods may include these strategies or a combination of them:

  • Assignments in capstone courses
  • Case studies
  • Content analysis (e.g., writing samples, papers, fieldwork or internship evaluations)
  • Departmental exams and essays specifically designed to examine a particular outcome
  • Focus groups, Interviews (e.g., midpoint, exit)
  • Matrices (e.g., charts summarizing relationships between program objectives & courses)
  • Course assignments or course syllabi
  • Portfolios, Performance Based Assessments
  • Reflective Essays
  • Scoring Rubrics (i.e., holistic rating sheets for student products, performances, portfolios)
  • Standardized Examinations
  • Student Projects (e.g., junior or senior projects)

Assessment Reports

(415) 338-2206


Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning
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