Kingsborough Community College Assessment
Academic Program Assessment
Assessment of Student Learning in academic programs is particularly important to ensure that students are able to meet the expectations for the program and have the knowledge and skills they need when they enter the workforce or continue their academic career. When conducting program assessment, the general process is:
- Develop Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs)
- Create a curriculum map, which outlines where in the program students will gain the knowledge and skills laid out in the Program Learning Outcomes
- Assess each Program Learning Outcome
- Use the results of the assessment to identify gaps or overlap in the curriculum and ensure that students are meeting the PLOs
This page contains more detailed information about each of these skills, as well as templates and resources for each departments’ annual reporting.
The process of developing Program Level Outcomes (PLOs) is in many ways the same as developing Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs):
They both describe what students will know and be able to do as a result of completing the educational unit.
Each LO should be assessed on a regular basis to ensure that the LOs are being met.
Though the PLOs are encompassing the whole program rather than just one course, it’s helpful to still limit the number of PLOs to between four and six. That means that the PLOs will be broader than the CLOs. Additionally, when creating PLOs it is also important to consider the role of student choice in the program. If students can choose from a list of courses, their experiences may differ somewhat, and the PLOs should be written in a way that they can incorporate the variety of different learning trajectories a student can take.
Curriculum maps are an important tool in the assessment tool box. Curriculum maps can help assess whether a program is providing sufficient opportunities for students to acquire each PLO or whether there are courses that are redundant or need to be redesigned.
Materials from Spring 2021 Workshops on Curriculum Mapping
As a part of the Academic Program Review process, programs should be conducting an assessment project each academic year. It is suggested that programs select one PLO each year to assess, ensuring that each PLO is measured at least once every program review cycle. Programs can develop an assessment plan that works for them, or use the template below:
The Assessment Liaison for the program will work with instructor(s) of the course(s) to identify an assignment that best assesses the target PLO, and develop the method for assessing it (e.g., developing a rubric for assessing an essay, lab report, presentation, discussion board post, or other similar artifact, or developing a set of multiple-choice exam questions to assess content knowledge).
Assessment liaisons can use the guidance from the Creating Rubrics and Analyzing and Interpreting Results sections above to develop rubrics and gather information from instructors.
In cases where the course being assessed has more than one course section, it is recommended that the course develop a common rubric and (preferably) assignment to assess. It is manageable if instructors cannot decide on a common assignment, but it is important that each assignment be assessed using a similar rubric.
When conducting assessments of a course or program, consider whether it’s better to include the results of all students (a census) or just a subset of them (a sample). Either one can be appropriate depending on the size of the course or program and the goal of the assessment. When the assessment consists of an assignment that is embedded in the course or something easy to grade like a multiple-choice exam, using the full census may be feasible; however, for more in-depth assessments that go beyond normal class activities, a sample may be sufficient. This document provides more information about whether sampling or census is appropriate for an assessment project
Interpreting results for program assessment is similar to assessing an individual course, but rather than only incorporating information from one course section, it will aggregate information from multiple courses or course sections. A few considerations when interpreting results for program assessment:
Assessment of student learning is not about assessing individual faculty or students.
The goal is to get a big-picture view of the program as a whole. While detailed examples and in-depth qualitative analysis of student performance can be helpful for illustrative purposes, it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees. The performance of a few students may not be representative of the student body as a whole.
The report template and instructions below can provide additional guidance for the interpretation and reporting of program assessment work.
For programs that contain concentrations, each concentration should have 1-2 Concentration Learning Outcomes in addition to the Program Learning Outcomes. The purpose of these LOs is to identify what the students will know or be able to do in addition to the base PLOs.
The Concentration LOs can then be added to the Program-level Curriculum Map if applicable, or can each develop their own curriculum map that aligns Concentration requirements with the PLOs and Concentration LO. See this template (PDF) for examples of each type of curriculum map.