Our Institutional-level assessment is designed to answer the question “As an institution, are we doing what we say we do, and are we doing it well?” Grounded in our institutional values and mission, our Learning Goals were created as general guidelines for knowledge, skills and cognitive abilities that graduates of Columbia College are expected to obtain. For assessment purposes, these goals were converted into institutional outcome statements. All programs of the college have program outcome statements aligned to these institutional outcome statements, and courses have course outcome statements which are aligned with program outcomes statements.
The institutuional-level assessment cycle
1. Identifying student learning goals
Outcomes statements were crafted from our institutional learning goals to facilitate assessment. These address the preparedness of students for the complexities of twenty-first century living. These outcomes and goals adhere to the overall institutional mission.
2. Aligning goals with courses
All programs and courses are aligned to the Institutional-level outcome statements through their outcomes statements. The assessment that occurs in courses is aligned to institutional outcomes due to this alignment structure, therefore assessments at the course level can show our success in meeting our institutional goals.
3. Gathering evidence of student learning
Evidence of student learning across the institution involves multiple sources. The assessment office is primarily responsible for direct learning assessments in courses, but a complete learning picture also includes examinations taken for graduate or professional school admissions, licensure or certification.
4. Interpreting evidence of learning
Full-time faculty members analyze assessment data from all learning venues of the college to determine how well the programs and courses facilitate student achievement of the institutional goals and mission.
5. Using evidence to improve learning
Institutional-level evidence should reveal what students know and can do when they graduate. The evidence should be used to guide the design of the institution’s undergraduate and graduate programs. It should be used to understand the value added by the college’s undergraduate and graduate programs to discover the interactions among various programs (e.g., general education and the majors), especially in how they help students achieve institution-wide learning goals to guide and support decisions about resource allocation, faculty hiring and professional development to demonstrate to external stakeholders the institution’s effectiveness in educating students.
Note: This assessment cycle has been adapted from Georgetown University.