Subcommittee on Institutional Assessment and Assessment of Student Learning
Fundamental charge: This subcommittee has one of the most critical charges, that of detailing how UAlbany assesses both its broader institutional mission and goals, and student learning. As such, this subcommittee is asked to review and document the degree to which UAlbany has developed and implemented an assessment process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals, and its compliance with related accreditation standards. At the very heart of the academic enterprise is student learning. This subcommittee is also asked to gauge the degree to which UAlbany has policies and procedures in place to ensure at graduation, or other appropriate points in time, that its students have the knowledge, skills, and competencies the University professes to instill in them.
Part I - Institutional Assessment
- How have UAlbany's assessment processes evolved over the self-study period, and how has this been impacted (both positively and negatively) by the frequent changes in senior administrative leadership?
a. How does UAlbany evaluate and improve its total range of programs and services, in relation to its mission and goals? How are these assessment processes documented, organized, and sustained to achieve this end? In particular, is the assessment process aligned with UAlbany's mission; does it contain clearly articulated institutional, unit-level, and program-level goals that encompass all programs, services, and initiatives; are the goals and programs appropriately integrated with each other?
b. Is the process systematic, sustained, and thorough in the use of multiple qualitative and/or quantitative measures that clearly and purposefully relate to the goals they are assessing?
c. Are the assessment measures of sufficient quality that results can be used with confidence to inform decisions?
- Do assessment processes contain clear and realistic guidelines and a timetable? Are they also supported by appropriate investment of institutional resources?
- Are there provisions for periodic evaluation of the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of UAlbany's assessment process?
a. Are the evaluations performed in a timely manner?
b. How well are the provisions working?
- What types of assessment plans or evaluation procedures exist in each of UAlbany's administrative units?
- For units with formal assessment plans:
a. Are assessment plans based on the unit's mission and goals, in relation to overall University mission and goals?
b. Do the unit assessment plans focus on specific outcomes that are related to their mission?
c. Are faculty, staff, and/or students from outside the unit involved in the unit's assessment efforts?
d. Do unit assessment efforts maximize the use of existing data, but also gather additional data if needed?
e. To what degree are assessment results shared within and outside of individual units to inform both unit and campus-wide planning and resource allocation?
f. Are goals, objectives, and timetables for unit assessment plans reasonable, and are they supported by the needed resources to execute activities?
g. What evidence exists to demonstrate that administrative units are "closing the loop" in terms of using assessment results to reflect on and adjust programs and/or services, and to also re-examine and adjust the assessment process itself?
- For units without formal assessment plans:
a. To what degree do units without formal assessment plans evaluate their performance and goal achievement? How do they do this, if that is the case, and what are the parallels with formalized assessment processes? What specific evidence can be brought to bear on this question?
b. What are the obstacles to developing and/or implementing assessment plans in these units?
c. Can current assessment procedures in other administrative offices be adapted?
d. Are alternatives to formal assessment plans, as will be detailed in the answers to the items noted above, sufficient to meet Middle States' assessment standards, or are formal assessment plans absolutely required in all administrative units, regardless of the cost/benefit of so doing?
e. What University or vice presidential supports are needed to assist offices in developing assessment plans and activities?
- What evidence is there that faculty, administration, staff, students, and external constituencies are involved in the assessment efforts?
Part II -Assessment of Student Learning
- Are there articulated statements at the institutional, program, and course levels that clearly state expected student learning outcomes?
- Are the educational outcomes at the program level appropriately integrated with broader institutional learning outcome goals, and are they consonant with the institution's mission, and with the standards of higher education in the relevant disciplines?
- To what extent does UAlbany employ a well documented, organized, systematic, and sustained assessment process to evaluate and improve student learning? Is it marked by the use of multiple qualitative and/or quantitative measures that maximize the use of existing data and information?
- Do assessments of student learning clearly and purposefully relate to the goals they are assessing, and are they of sufficient quality that results can be used with confidence to inform decisions?
- Do assessments of student learning include direct evidence of student learning?
a. Is the evidence of student learning sufficient?
b. Is the evidence of student learning used?
- To what degree do assessments support collaboration between and among the faculty at-large, the administration, and faculty governance?
- To what degree are students expected, or invited, to help shape student learning objectives and assessment of those objectives?
- What is the degree of regularized, collaborative institutional processes and protocols for ensuring the dissemination, analysis, discussion, and use of assessment results among all relevant constituents, within a reasonable schedule?
- Do assessments have clear, realistic guidelines, assign responsibility to individuals or appropriate bodies for specific activities, contain reasonable timetables, and are they supported by appropriate investment of institutional resources?
- Are assessments sufficiently simple and practical, but have enough detail and ownership by the program faculty to be sustainable and useful?
- What is the extent to which UAlbany periodically evaluates the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of its student learning assessment processes?
- Do assessment results provide sufficient, convincing evidence that students are achieving key institutional and program learning outcomes?
- To what extent is student learning assessment information shared and discussed with appropriate constituents and used to improve teaching and learning? When assessment of student learning uncovers deficiencies, to what extent is the program supported by the administration to make the appropriate changes that will eliminate those deficiencies and improve student learning?
- To what extent is student learning assessment information used as part of institutional assessment?
Fundamental elements of integrity to weave into discussions:
- Is information on institution-wide assessments available to prospective students, including graduation, retention, certification and licensing pass rates, and other outcomes as appropriate to the programs offered?
- Is institutional information provided in a manner that ensures student and public access, such as print, electronic, or video presentation?
Data available: MSCHE Periodic Review Report (2005); Institutional Assessment Plan; Compact plans; Program review guidelines, self-studies and academic assessment plans of academic units; Vice presidential assessment reports; school/college annual assessment reports; Assessment summaries created by the director of program review and assessment; minutes of the Provost's Assessment Advisory Committee; reports and minutes of the Council on Academic Assessment (CAA); and other data and documents that may be requested by the subcommittee.
Methodologies: This subcommittee will begin its work by reviewing the inventory of assessment-related documents and reports. It may, through the course of its activities, interview various campus officials, including department chairs and administrative office heads to gather additional evidence and perceptions about campus assessment processes.
Please click PDuchessi@uamail.albany.edu to contact Dr. Peter Duchessi, chair of this subcommitee, to provide input or comments.