An Academic Program Assessment Plan is an essential element for advancing a culture of learning improvement at NDSU. The primary goal of assessment is to improve future learning, and an assessment plan documents how an academic program will engage in assessment activities to determine the degree to which students have achieved the program learning outcomes (PLOs). This information guides the academic unit to implement curricular, pedagogical, and programmatic changes to increase achievement of the outcomes in the future.
An assessment plan should include the following elements:
- Mission statement. The mission statement describes the purpose of the program, which should align with and support the NDSU mission.
- Program learning outcomes (PLOs). PLOs represent faculty consensus on what students should know and be able to do by the end of the program.
- Curriculum map (undergraduate or graduate programs) or assessment timeline (graduate programs). A curriculum map identifies how often and in which courses the PLOs are developed in the curriculum. An assessment timeline identifies the sequence of assessment activities planned within a program and which PLOs are assessed by those assessment activities. Graduate programs may use either a curriculum map or an assessment timeline. Highly structured graduate programs (that is, the curriculum consists of required courses that most students take) will benefit from a curriculum map, and graduate programs with more flexibility will benefit from an assessment timeline.
- Assessment cycle. An assessment cycle is the time period in which PLOs will be assessed to determine the degree to which students have achieved PLOs. All PLOs should be assessed within a 3–5-year cycle, with at least 1-2 PLOs assessed each year. Some PLOs may be assessed annually. The assessment cycle should identify which PLOs will be assessed in the upcoming academic years.
- Assessment methods and measures. An assessment method is a demonstration of student learning (that is, a student task such as a paper, project, presentation, etc.). An assessment measure is how the student task will be reviewed to determine the degree to which students have achieved a PLO. Common assessment measures are rubrics or rating scales.
- Assessment oversight. Assessment oversight represents the individuals who have assessment responsibilities, such as an assessment coordinator or members of a curriculum and/or assessment committee, for the program.