Here you will find examples of assessment plans departments have been using on F&M's campus. The Fellows have identified plans whose features others would find useful as we move forward with the assessment process. Plans are listed with the persmission of their authors.
Readers will see that these departments have taken a wide variety of approaches to assessment; some have focused on a single course, others on the major, and others on a particular set of skills/outcomes within the major. All of these plans have relatively clearly stated goals. Most use at least some direct measures of student learning, but they vary from use of student work produced in classes (evaluated using a focused rubric) to work that is produced specifically for the purpose of assessment. They employ a variety of indirect measures, ranging from student self-reports to exit interviews to alumni surveys.
Please keep in mind that our model of assessment at F&M is intentionally diverse; there is no single “right” way to put together an assessment of student learning. (See our statement of “Guiding Principles”.) What matters is that our assessment efforts provide us with information that will enable us to gauge how well we are achieving our goals in our classes, and guide us in making improvements as needed. Note that these examples are not meant to serve as templates of what you MUST do; rather, they are offered as sources of inspiration. They are works in progress, as are all of our plans. Please also note that these assessment plans are for internal use by the faculty at the College and should not be distributed to people outside the College without permission from the appripriate Department or Program.
General comments about the 2012 plans are included below:
Biology: This is a departmental-level assessment with a topic focus - writing. It is an excellent starting point. They still need to develop and refine the assessment tool (perhaps a rubric), but they are exploring both direct and indirect data sources. This is a very thoughtful assessment, and it keeps with the long-standing strength of the department.
Economics: This is a course-level assessment. This department has two distinct introductory courses, so this type of plan makes sense. Responsibility for developing assessment tools lies with the facutly who teach the classes, so this is a decentralized model. This approach can work well as along as faculty coordinate their goals and results at some point.
English: This is a departmenal-level assessment. The statement of learning goals are included here - they are clearly stated, and serve as a good starting point for developing an assessment plan.
French: This is a course-level assessment. There is an excellent statement of goals in terms of what students WILL do. This is well laid-out and uses a good choice of focus (transitional courses) - using assessment to help them address a departmental concern.
German: This is a course and departmental assessment. This focuses on a single skill - language proficiency - and usess an "outside" assessment tool - the CEFR, a generally accepted measure in their field. Note, however, that use of this will require money and time to train faculty.
History: This is a course and departmental assessment. This is a great plan all the way across. It includes a skills matrix and assessment rubric. This is holistic, repeatable, and closes the loop. It's global and ambitious, yet, it may not be implemntable in a single year.
International Studies: This is a departmental-level assessment. Because the students come in at different levels and different goals, the use of verbs such as "enhancing" and "developing" (which can be muddy in other contexts) makes sense. They use innovative measures - asking students to develop and reflect on their own goals for the major. It might also be helpful to provide students with some guidance in developing their goals.
Physics: This is a department and course-level assessment. It centers around 9 clearly stated learning goals. It includes a strong statement, alignment of departmental and course goals, and plans for measurable assessment. It demonstrates a synergy between external review and assessment programs. It is global and ambitious, but has a clear starting point.
Spanish: This is a course-level assessment. The goals are clearly stated. It shows good examples of both direct and indirect measures; the survey (indirect measure) is interesting/valuable in its ability to help the faculty gain insight in potential mismatches between how students are performing and how students feel about their performance. It is also nice that students are responding to the same survey across courses, so change and development can be tracked across time if desired.