Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Outcomes Assessment?
  2. How does Outcomes Assessment work?
  3. What are the different levels of Outcomes Assessment?
  4. How is Outcomes Assessment different from evaluation?
  5. How do I do course level assessment?
  6. How do I use my outcomes assessment results?
  7. How do I organize my outcomes assessment findings, so I can share them easily with my colleagues and department chair?
FAQ´s Answers
1. What is Outcomes Assessment?
Outcomes Assessment is the process of systematically collecting, describing or quantifying information about student performance related to learning outcomes at the course, program and Institutional level.


2. How does Outcomes Assessment work?
Assessment is a multi dimensional process that works best when it is integrated throughout campus by answering the following questions: what are we saying we are doing; what are we in fact doing; and how do we know that we are doing it.


3. What are the different levels of Outcomes Assessment?
There are three levels of assessment that relate with one another.
Listed below are the different levels of outcomes assessment that are being conducted on campus.
  • Institutional Effectiveness — looks at how well the college as a whole is fulfilling its mission.
  • Institution Level Assessment — looks at student performance related to general education outcomes of college level proficiency expected of any our graduates.
  • Program Level Assessment — looks at student performance by examining evidence of student´ ability to integrate skills outlined in the program´s mission.
  • Course Level Assessment — looks the course objectives and student learning outcomes and then gathers information and data about student performance on each of those objectives and outcomes. The results are used by faculty to improve teaching and learning at the course. Detailed discussion and additional information about each step is provided in the Assessment Tool Box Power Point Presentation.


4. How is Outcomes Assessment different from evaluation?
Assessment is intended to assist faculty improve teaching and learning. Evaluation, on the other hand, is undertaken to obtain information that is used to make judgments about the worth, quality or impact of a program or activity.

OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT IS NOT EVALUATION.

Rather, outcomes assessment is a vehicle for faculty to document: what we say we are doing; what we are in fact doing; and how we know that we are doing it. This process also offers a way to clarify resource needs and other gaps in our delivery of programs and services.

Some experts use the terms assessment and evaluation interchangeably and consider the difference between the two a matter of technical jargon. However at OAA, we clearly make a distinction.


5. How do I do course level assessment?
OIR has developed the following 10 Steps to assist faculty in conducting Course Level Outcomes Assessment.

Step 1: Identify course goals.

Step 2: Identify course objectives.

Step 3: Articulate Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs).

Step 4: Align Goals/Objectives with the Outcomes at the course and unit or program level.

Step 5: Specify Assessment Instruments.

Step 6: Collect Data.

Step 7: Analyze data and review findings.

Step 8: Determine whether goals were met based on findings.

Step 9: Make changes to the course, as appropriate, based on findings.

Step 10: Asses the impact of the changes on subsequent learning (i.e., begin the Outcomes Assessment Cycle again).


Additional information about each step is provided in the Assessment Tool Box Power Point Presentation.


6. How do I use my outcomes assessment results?
Faculty members are encouraged to share their finding as a way of creating dialogue about teaching and student learning across courses and programs. It has been suggested that sharing results can further improve teaching and learning.

For example, some courses in Natural Science might serve as a foundation for learning in several Allied Health courses. So, faculty members in each department maybe interested in more than overall grades in the requisite courses and may instead be interested in areas of strength and weakness. This process of examining the total student population may help reinforce learning between disciplines and might help students build a better foundation in certain areas.

All examples are fictional and OIR and OAA are not implying any thing by using the above examples.


7. How do I organize my outcomes assessment findings, so I can share them easily with my colleagues and department chair?
OIR has adapted several assessment forms that can be found on OIR´s main page. These forms were designed to provide faculty with a helpful way to organize your findings. OIR staff adapted these forms to help you report your results easily.

One form in particular that you will find useful is the Course Assessment Matrix. It was generated to guide you through the process and organize your assessment findings.

The Course Assessment Matrix is organized into five columns to help you present your findings. The form can be used from semester to semester to document and share your findings.

If you are unclear as to how to fill out each column of the form please refer to the example form.

Once you have filled out the form for your course you may forward it to OIR by clicking the submit button in the right hand corner of the document. OIR would like to assist you in the development your assessment findings and strengthen the assessment process and every matrix you submit will be reviewed and returned promptly.


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