Policy on Academic Assessment

As a primary means for evaluating and improving the curriculum and learning process, academic assessment at Central is the ongoing activity of determining the extent to which students meet goals for learning outcomes and using findings to improve programs and services. The primary purpose of assessment is to provide faculty and staff with information that can be used to make improvements and adjustments; compliance with external mandates is a secondary, though necessary, purpose of Central’s assessment system. As such, each academic department implements an assessment program that clearly articulates outcomes for student learning, measures the extent to which students demonstrate these outcomes, analyzes the findings to identify areas of strength and areas for improvement, and uses the results for curricular or programmatic enhancements or adjustments.

As a part of their critical role in the teaching and learning process, faculty in each department have the primary responsibility for determining the scope and appropriateness of student learning outcomes in each credential-granting program in accordance with standards from their field of study. These outcomes should encompass what faculty deem most important for students to demonstrate in cognitive, behavioral and/or affective domains as a result of completing the program. Using primary measures that extend beyond final course grades, faculty in the department or other qualified professionals designated by the faculty (e.g. internship supervisors or external examinations, but not self-evaluation by students) evaluate the extent to which students demonstrate they have achieved each of these outcomes. In consultation with the Academic Assessment Committee, which is responsible for providing feedback about assessment in academic programs and coordinating the overall assessment program for general education, departments are also responsible for assessing student learning outcomes in general education courses they offer.

On an annual basis, departments provide either a Full, Interim, or Summary report to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment. New programs will provide a New Program report in each of the first three years of the program. These reports will be placed on a password-protected website accessible to all instructional faculty, as well as Deans and the Provost.

Following the principle of peer review and to identify promising assessment practices, the Academic Assessment Committee will provide feedback and support to departments by reviewing these reports on a multi-year cycle.

The results from assessment of student learning outcomes may not be used for the evaluation of faculty or administrators.

Approved by the ad hoc Assessment Committee 2/28/2008

Approved by the Committee on Committees 3/31/2008

Approved by the Faculty Senate on 4/14/2008