Outcomes assessment is an important part of quality assurance for programs in the ET Department. First, some definitions.
- Program educational objectives are broad statements that describe the career and professional accomplishments that the program is preparing graduates to achieve during the first few years following graduation.
- Program outcomes are statements that describe what units of knowledge or skill students are expected to acquire from the program to prepare them to achieve the program educational objectives. These are typically demonstrated by the student and measured by the program at the time of graduation.
- Assessment is the systematic process of gathering, interpreting, and acting upon data related to student learning and experience for the purposes of course and program improvement. The connection between teaching and learning is a complex one, and it is necessary to use multiple measures to develop a comprehensive understanding of how curriculum design and delivery relate to student learning. Assessment is an iterative and adaptive process in which results inform changes to instructional and assessment practices. The critical element is the use of results in decision-making. Finally, the basis of good assessment practice is a shared understanding of program goals to ensure that all those involved in curriculum delivery are working toward the same ends.
Each program must utilize multiple assessment measures in a process that provides documented results to demonstrate that the program objectives and outcomes are being met.
Assessment measures typically consist of, but are not limited to, student portfolios, student performance in project work and activity-based learning; results of integrated curricular experiences; relevant nationally-normed examinations; results of surveys to assess graduate and employer satisfaction with employment, career development, career mobility, and job title; and preparation for continuing education.
Each program must demonstrate that the results of the assessment of program objectives and outcomes are being used to improve and further develop the program in accordance with a documented process.
Faculty Role in Assessment
Faculty are on the "front line" of the ET Department's assessment program. As an example, faculty participate in the assessment process in the following ways:
- participate in annual review of program objectives and assessment plans
- assist with collecting and interpreting assessment data as required by the departent assessment plan
- participate in annual review of program assessment results and resulting decision-making process
Faculty are encouraged to implement supplemental assessment strategies in their classes as a means of improving teaching and learning.