Faculty Assessment Resources

Assessment Planning

We have a series of workshops to begin standardizing the assessment plans for the academic programs. The goal is that a written plan will aid the program in “closing-the-loop” in assessing all of their Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) over a five-year period. Workshops are offered bi-annually in January and May.

Material from the January 2020 Workshop

Assessment Reporting

Academic programs complete an Annual Report each year and submit it to the Director of Assessment by June 1. The Annual Report template is designed to capture evidence of student learning for internal reporting purposes as well as meeting the requirements of our regional accreditor.

Non-Teaching units in the area of Academic Affairs complete an Annual Report by June 1st and an action plan by June 1st.

Fitchburg State University conducts Program Review for academic programs without external accreditation every seven years. The process begins with a Program Review Workshop in the Spring semester prior to the writing of the Self-Study Report. Once the Self-Study Report is complete, an external reviewer is invited to campus in late spring of the self-study year to conduct an on-site visit. The faculty in the program will use the comments of the reviewer to create a five-year Action Plan for the program. Program review includes all levels, degrees, courses, modalities and locations.

Program Review Cycle

  • 2019-20
    Business Administration: Re-accreditation IACBE (7 yr. cycle)
    Environmental and Earth Science
    Computer Science and Computer Information Systems: Re-accreditation ABET (6 yr. cycle)
    Education: Re-accreditation CAEP (7 yr. cycle)
    Geographic Science and Technology
    Industrial Technology
    Nursing: CCNE Five Year Interim Report
    Political Science
    Sociology
  • 2020-21
    Game Design
    Humanities (Interdisciplinary Studies)
    Human Services: Re-accreditation CSHSE (5 yr. cycle)
    LA&S Review
  • 2021-22
    Chemistry
    Economics
    Occupational/Vocational Ed. Technology
    NECHE Ten Year Review/Visit
  • 2022-23
    Library
  • 2023-24
    Early Education and Care*
    Education Licensure Programs (DESE approved)(AAQEP)
    Education Non-Licensure Programs (Internal Review)**
    English Studies
    Honors Program: Five Year Review by DHE
    Mathematics
    *New Program as of 2018
    **Added to Program Review Cycle June 2022
  • 2024-25
    Biology
    Criminal Justice
    Educational Studies*
    History
    Public Health Science*
    *New Programs as of 2019 
  • 2025-26
    Communications Media
    Computer Science and Computer Information Systems ABET (6 yr. cycle)
    Exercise and Sports Science
    Human Services: Re-accreditation CSHSE (5 yr. cycle)
    Mental Health Counseling
    Nursing: Re-accreditation CCNE (10 yr. Visit)
    Psychological Science
  • 2026-27
    Business Administration: Re-accreditation IACBE (7 yr. cycle)
    Environmental and Earth Science
    Geographic Science and Technology
    Engineering Technology
    Applied Science and Technology
    Political Science
    Sociology
    NECHE 5 yr. Review
  • 2027-28
    Game Design
    Humanities (Interdisciplinary Studies)
    General Education
  • 2028-29
    Chemistry
    Economics
    Occupational/Vocational Education

Program Review Workshop

Program Review Documents

Student Learning Outcomes identify the knowledge, skills, or attitudes that students will be able to demonstrate, represent, or produce upon successful completion of an assignment, course, or program.

Student Learning Outcomes Assessment is a process wherein the institution engages in full circle closed loop assessment as described in the following graphic:

Successful Outcomes Assessment

  • Review the learning that takes place in your course.
  • Review syllabus and other course materials.
  • Prioritize that learning. Align learning priorities with key documents including program learning outcomes.
  • Review examples of learning outcomes from other sources such as similar courses or institutions.
  • Make sure all outcomes are measurable and can be assessed (see below for guidance in creating outcome statements).
  • After developing learning outcomes for your students develop an assessment instrument (a test, essay, or project, etc.) and a scoring rubric.
  • Administer the assessment to your students. 
  • Evaluate your students’ performance on the assessment instrument.
  • Assess your students’ mastery of the learning outcomes given their performance on the assessment instrument.
  • Reflect on why students did or did not master the learning outcomes, and develop strategies for improvement

Structure of Learning Outcomes Statements

The central element to learning outcomes assessment is the development of outcome statements. Begin with an action verb that denotes the level of learning expected. Terms such as know, understand, learn, appreciate are generally not specific enough to be measurable. Levels of learning and associated verbs may include the following:

  • Remembering and understanding: recall, identify, label, illustrate, summarize.
  • Applying and analyzing: use, differentiate, organize, integrate, apply, solve, analyze.
  • Evaluating and creating: Monitor, test, judge, produce, revise, compose.

Consult Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy for more details.

Continue with a Learning Statement – The statement should describe the knowledge and abilities to be demonstrated. For example:

  • Identify and summarize the important feature of major periods in the history of western culture.
  • Apply important chemical concepts and principles to draw conclusions about chemical reactions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge about the significance of current research in the field of psychology by writing a research paper.

Do the Learning Outcomes specify what all students who complete the assignment, course, or program should be able to complete?

Is each Learning Outcome stated from the perspective of the learner? Although we often use the terms goals, objectives, and outcomes interchangeably, Learning Outcomes reflect a student’s knowledge, skills, and abilities whereas goals shape the assignment, course, or program design.

Are the Learning Outcomes comprehensive, representative of both the depth and breadth of the assignment, course, or program? One of the challenges when constructing these statements is to capture the right level of specificity. Consider this Learning Outcome as a good outcome,

“By the end of the program, a student should be able to write a persuasive essay”

AAC&U VALUE Institute

Fitchburg State University has been participating in the AAC&U VALUE Institute national artifact collection and scoring since 2016. Our involvement includes the participation in the Massachusetts state-wide consortium of institutions in which our faculty providing a total of up to 100 artifacts aligned with the Critical Thinking VALUE Rubric (PDF). Faculty train as scorers and receive professional development via assignment design as part of their involvement in this initiative.

Professional Development 2021-2022

Tools for Equity in Assessment Series:

Equity in Assessment
Presenters:  Junior Pena and Dr. Cate Kaluzny

Tuesday, September 28 from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Center for Teaching and Learning located in the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library 212
Or join remotely via Google Meet at the following link:   meet.google.com/wbi-ffbd-hfd

Tools for Equity in Assessment: Rubrics for Teaching and Learning  
Presenters:  Dr. J.J. Sylvia and Dr. Cate Kaluzny

Tuesday, October 26 from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Center for Teaching and Learning, 2nd Floor, Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library, 212
Or you remotely via Google Meet at the following link:  meet.google.com/vdd-wfco-mjo 

Tools for Equity in Assessment:  Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
Presenter:  Dr. Kisha Tracy

Thursday, February 10 from 3:30  - 4:30 p.m.
Join remotely via Google Meet at the following link:  meet.google.com/vox-uuyx-iqe

Tools for Equity in Assessment: The Why and How of Transparent Assignment Design
Presenter:  Dr. Laura Garofoli

Wednesday, March 2 from 2 - 3 p.m.
Join remotely via Google Meet at the following link: meet.google.com/tsz-sgqx-whm 

Assessment Planning and Reporting Series:

Assessment Planning from the Experts
Presenters:  Panel Presentation
Tuesday, April 12 from 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Writing Your Annual Assessment Report
Presenter:  Dr. Cate Kaluzny
Tuesday, April 26 from 2 - 3 p.m.
Center for Teaching and Learning located in the Amelia V. Gallucci-Cirio Library 212
Or join remotely via Google Meet at the following link:  meet.google.com/jpd-merq-ekn?hs=224

Upcoming AMCOA Conference

The upcoming tenth annual AMCOA Assessment Conference (sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education) will be held on Friday, April 29, 2022 from 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at the Westborough Doubletree by Hilton Boston at 5400 Computer Drive, Westborough, MA.

The conference features two keynote presenters:

  • Morning (9:15 a.m.) Plenary Session: Dr. Tia Brown McNair, American Association of Colleges & Universities, The Use of Assessment as a Means to Achieve More Equitable Outcomes
  • Afternoon (1:00 p.m.) Plenary Session: Dr. Jennifer Hill, Duke University, Practical Frameworks and Techniques for Promoting Anti-Racism in Student Learning Assessment

There will be workshops with presenters from public and private universities sharing their expertise including a presentation by Dr. J.J. Sylvia, Dr. Kisha Tracy and Dr. Cate Kaluzny on Tools for Equity in Assessment. There will also be peer to peer learning and hot lunch and refreshments.

Link to register and for more details of the AMCOA conference.

If you would like to attend please contact Cate Kaluzny at ckaluzny@fitchburgstate.edu to organize reimbursement for your travel mileage.

New England College Assessment Conference

The New England College Assessment Conference has Preconference sessions on June 1 at New England College in Henniker, NH and main sessions on June 2, which are virtual.

For more details visit: bit.ly/NECAC22

If you would like to attend please contact Cate Kaluzny at ckaluzny@fitchburgstate.edu as the OIRP will be covering registration fees for the New England College Assessment Conference.

Professional Development Resource Videos:        

Tools for Equity in Assessment Series:

Professional Development and Resources on Assessment

Assessment - “Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about educational programs undertaken for the purpose of improving student learning and development.” (Palomba & Banta, 1999)

Assessment Plan - A document that outlines the (1) program mission/goals,desired student learning outcomes (or objectives) and their relation to overarching (institutional priorities) and/or general educational outcomes, (2) learning processes (e.g., courses, activities, assignments) that contribute to students’ abilities reach the program’s outcomes (this may be shown in the form of a curriculum map), (3) and long-range timeline.

Assessment Report - The Annual Report template is designed to capture evidence of student learning for internal reporting purposes as well as meeting the requirements of our regional accreditor.

Closing the loop - Using assessment results for improvement and/or evolution.

Curriculum Map - A matrix showing the coverage of each program learning outcome in each course.

Direct Assessment - Collecting data/evidence on students’ actual behaviors or products. Direct data-collection methods provide evidence in the form of student products or performances. Such evidence demonstrates the actual learning that has occurred relating to a specific content or skill. (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2007). See also: Indirect Assessment.
Examples: exams, course work, essays, oral performance.
 
Focus Group - A qualitative data-collection method that relies on facilitated discussions, with 3-10 participants who are asked a series of carefully constructed open-ended questions about their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Focus groups are typically considered an indirect data-collection method.

Formative Assessment - Ongoing assessment that takes place during the learning process. It is intended to improve an individual student’s performance, program performance, or overall institutional effectiveness. Formative assessment is used internally, primarily by those responsible for teaching a course or developing and running a program. (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2007) See also: Summative Assessment.
 
Indirect Assessment - Collecting evidence/data through reported perceptions about student mastery of learning outcomes. Indirect methods reveal characteristics associated with learning, but they only imply that learning has occurred. (Middle States Commission on Higher Education) See also: Direct Assessment. Examples: surveys, interviews, focus groups.
 
Learning outcomes - Statements that identify the knowledge, skills, or attitudes that students will be able to demonstrate, represent, or produce as a result of a given educational experience. There are three levels of learning outcomes: course, program, and institution.
 
Rubric - A tool often shaped like a matrix, with criteria on one side and levels of achievement across the top used to score products or performances. Rubrics describe the characteristics of different levels of performance, often from exemplary to unacceptable. The criteria are ideally explicit, objective, and consistent with expectations for student performance.
 
Summative Assessment - The gathering of information at the conclusion of a course, program, or undergraduate/graduate career to improve learning or to meet accountability demands. The purposes are to determine whether or not overall goals have been achieved and to provide information on performance for an individual student or statistics about a course or program for internal or external accountability purposes. Grades are the most common form of summative assessment. (Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2007) See also: Formative Assessment.
 
The above are in part adapted from University of Hawaii at Manoa glossary of assessment terms.