Program Assessment Guidelines & Best Practices
Overview:

Through the planning and conduct of annual program learning outcome assessments, faculty from each NYIT degree program make the improvement of student learning a continuous effort.

For each program, faculty is required to:
  1. Articulate expected program learning outcomes.
  2. Identify where and how in the curriculum or co-curriculum faculty create learning experiences for students to achieve the program learning outcomes.
  3. Gather evidence of student learning with regard to expected program learning outcomes using either quantitative, qualitative or both approaches.
  4. Draw conclusions from the evidence and plan ways to improve student learning.
The Guidelines and Examples of Good Practice:

Below are guidelines for conducting each of the components above, which are intended to help faculty to improve their assessment processes. They are derived from standards and criteria published by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the National Institute of Learning Outcome Assessment (NILOA), and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s (CHEA).
At the end of each component, links are provided to examples of good practice.
 
1. Articulate expected program learning outcomes
  • The program learning outcomes should clearly state what knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes students should be able to obtain upon completion of the academic program.
  • The program learning outcomes should be consonant with standards of higher education and of the relevant discipline. (The Degree Qualification Profile by Lumina Foundation is a good reference for academic program to measure this standard)
  • Statements of program-level learning outcomes should be made available to current and prospective students, and to the public through website or brochure.

Examples of good practice:

2. Identify where and how in the curriculum or co-curriculum students encounter or are required to achieve the stated program learning outcomes
  • Curriculum review (mapping) is an important exercise in identifying where and how the program learning outcomes are addressed in the curriculum, and (or) co-curriculum. It also clarifies how multiple courses are related to each other in contributing to the program learning outcomes.
  • Course syllabi should include statements of expected course-level learning outcomes, as well as the course’s contribution to developing program-level learning outcomes.

Example:

  • Majority of academic programs at NYIT used "outcome matrix" to identify...Click here to find out.
  • Course syllabi from School of Education include statements of expected course-level outcomes, as well as the course's contribution to developing the program-level competences by accreditation standards. Take a look of the example here

3. Gathering evidence of student learning

Evidence of student learning outcomes plays an increasingly important role in discussion of higher education accountability, quality and effectiveness.
  • The evidence of student learning should be clearly linked to program learning outcomes.
  • Evidence can be the result of quantitative and qualitative approaches to gathering information. They may include:
    • Faculty-designed comprehensive or capstone examinations and assignments
    • Performance on external or licensure examinations
    • Authentic performances or demonstrations
    • Portfolios of student work over time
    • Samples of representative student work 
  • Multiple approaches to collecting evidence of student learning are essential to give faculty confidence in making appropriate decisions. Listed above are direct measures. Faculty can also use indirect measures such as surveys, interviews, focus group, and students’ reflections to supplement direct measures. 
  • Review of the validity and reliability of faculty-designed comprehensive examinations or capstone project should be part of program assessment.
  • Performance on external or licensure examination will allow programs to benchmark where they stand in achieving the targeted learning outcomes.
  • Based on the evidence collected and analyzed, report and share the program’s conclusions about the extent to which students have achieved the program learning outcomes; identify program strengths and weaknesses.

Examples of good practice:


4. Take Evidence-Informed Actions to Improve Student Learning:
  • Take evidence-informed actions or make changes in pedagogy, curricula and instructional activities to improve program learning outcomes with assigned personal responsibility and timeline for their implementation.
  • Reassess the effectiveness of the evidence-informed changes for continuous improvement.
  • Sometimes assessment results may lead faculty to change the learning outcome and/or the process by which it is assessed.
  • Reporting on program learning outcomes should be both accessible to and appropriate for the relevant audience.

Examples of good practice: