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EIU Office of Student Affairs Assessment

Program Assessment Steps

Examining the following six steps before beginning the assessment project can help you visualize how your assessment cycle will work for your department or program.

  1. Define your purpose: what are the program goals and/or missions?
  2. Identify outcomes: what do you want the outcome or the population to learn based on your program?
  3. Determine your setting: where will the program/learning opportunities take place?
  4. Begin the assessment process: choose your method of collection; collect and evaluate the evidence; analyze and interpret the evidence.
  5. Share and use assessment results - close the loop!
  6. Continue the cycle: educate, clarify, collaborate, coordinate, celebrate, be flexible, and keep it simple. 

Supplemental Materials

Two helpful guides/workbooks with step-by-step information:

  1. Program-Based Review and Assessment: Tools and Techniques for Program Improvement.  Office of Academic Planning and Assessment.  University of Massachusetts Amherst.  (2001)
  2. Tools and Techniques for Program Improvement: Handbook for Program Review & Assessment of Student Learning.  Office of Institutional Assessment, Research, and Testing.  Western Washington University. (2006)

Assessment Office workshop presentation slides and handouts (PDF)

  1. What is Assessment? (June 2014)
  2. Rubrics (July 2014)
  3. Student Learning Outcomes (September 2014)

Create a Department/Program Assessment Plan

An assessment plan that can be written and distributed within or among departments can be helpful in clarifying the overall assessment mission.

  1. Use this template to create the department/program assessment plan.  (University of Hawaii at Manoa Assessment Office)
  2. Evaluate your plan by using this rubric. ("Rubric for Assessing the Quality of Academic Program Learning Outcomes" by WASC)

Plan an Assessment Activity/Project

Once the department/program creates its master assessment plan, the department/program can then decide which outcomes they'd like to evaluate each year.  Some programs will choose to evaluate one outcome per year, while other programs may evaluate multiple at the same time.

The following template can be used to develop an assessment project for your department or program.

  1. Choose an Assessment Type
  2. Assessment Project Template (University of Hawaii at Manoa Assessment Office)

Characteristics of Good Assessment

 Good Assessment...

  1. Is used:  It is planned with a purpose, focused on goals, and the results are used by multiple entities.
  2. Is cost-effective: Realistic given the financial, technological, and human resources that need to be involved.
  3. Yields reasonably accurate and truthful results: Developed thoughtfully with a clear goal and purpose.
  4. Is valued: Results inform important decisions and are part of an institutional culture that values asking questions and using information to make decisions.
  5. Focuses on and flows from clear and important goals.

(Adapted from: Yousey-Elsener, D. K. (2013). Successful Assessment for Student Affairs: A How-To Guide. Little Falls, NJ: PaperClip Communications.)

Related Pages

Contact Information

Student Affairs Assessment

Fax: 217-581-8330

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