Assessment: Continuous Improvement of Student Learning
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Undergraduate Degree Programs

Michigan Tech has eight Undergraduate Student Learning Goals (USLGs) . The first USLG is "disciplinary knowledge" and is specific to each degree program. The remaining goals are competencies all students should develop regardless of major, and are developed within both the degree and general education programs.

Degree Program Report Depository: Current assessment cycle status, assessment reports, and curriculum maps are available here (log in required).

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Assessment of Undergraduate Student Learning Goals

Degree programs engage in the assessment of both the USLGs and degree program goals. Degree programs assess USLGs according to the following schedule:

  • 2013-14 USLG5 Communication
  • 2014-15 USLG6 Information Literacy
  • 2015-17 USLG3 Global Literacy
  • 2017-19 USLG4 Critical and Creative Thinking
  • 2019-21 USLG8 Social Responsibility and Ethical Reasoning

Since 2015, degree programs have been allotted two years to engage in assessment activities for the undergraduate goal being assessed university wide, as noted in the above schedule. Degree programs spend the first year planning and reporting only their planned assessment methods. During the second year, degree programs implement their assessment methods, report assessment results and identify action plans for improvement if warranted. Action plans that emerge from this process can then be implemented with re-assessment reporting taking place in future years.

Degree programs should expect to assess using the undergraduate USLG rubrics as specified in deliverable instructions. Units are also encouraged to develop their own criterion for assessment. The reasoning here is to promote and generate unit input as to how undergraduate goal is best handled for degree programs.

Assessment of Goal of Choice

Degree programs also engage in the assessment of a Goals of Choice (GoC). This goal can be either a degree program learning goal or another USLG that has not been assessed recently. Degree programs are asked to identify and use an assessment rubric when assessing their Goal of Choice.

Timeline

Degree Programs engage in assessment activities and submit reports according to the following timeline, which was revised in Spring 2016:

Semester Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall
Year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Submit Plan for: USLG 3   USLG 4   USLG 8  
Submit Assessment Results for:  

USLG 3 +

GoC

 

USLG 4 +

GoC

 

USLG 8 +

GoC

Submit Reassessment ("close-the-loop") Report: as appropriate   as appropriate   as appropriate  
Submit Reflection on Assessment Activities for: Cumulative up to Fall 2016   2016-2018 summary   2018-2020 summary  

This timeline reflects a two-year schedule for USLG assessment and degree program goal assessment taking place in units across the university. This timeline spaces the assessment collections so that alternate years can be used for reflection and to close the loop on interventions and changes that are driven by prior assessment results and are intended to improve the degree program’s curriculum. This makes evident the overarching objective of assessment (to improve student learning) and allows time for continuous improvement to happen.

Preparing for Degree Program Assessment

To prepare to engage in assessment, all departments need to do the following for each degree program they offer:

1. Develop learning goals for each degree program.

Identify what the students will know or be able to do at the end of the course or program. For example, the biology degree program identified the following program learning goals:

All graduates in Biological Sciences will:

Goal 1 have knowledge of the molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological levels of organization.
Goal 2 increase critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Goal 3 employ the scientific method to synthesize and report results.
Goal 4 apply knowledge to broader global issues.
Goal 5 be aware of the ethical and moral issues in biology.

 

For additional information and instructions, refer to this workshop presentation on learning goals.

2. Map these program learning goals onto USLGs.

Place program goals into “best fit” for undergraduate goals. Identify where/how this goal is currently assessed. Identify gaps (USLGs which are not currently achieved in the program).

Example

Biological Science Program Goal Undergraduate Student-Learning Goal
Students will... maps to...
have knowledge of the molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological levels of organization. USLG 1: Disciplinary Knowledge
increase critical thinking and problem solving skills. USLG 4: Critical & Creative Thinking
employ the scientific method to synthesize and report results.

USLG 5: Communication
USLG 6: Information Literacy

apply knowledge to broader global issues. USLG 3: Global Literacy
be aware of the ethical and moral issues in biology. USLG 8: Social responsibility and ethical reasoning

3. Build a Curriculum Map for each student learning goal.

Identify which required courses in the curriculum meet which learning goals (disciplinary program goals as well as the non-disciplinary USLGs). This will help you to discover quickly whether there are goals which are not met by your curriculum, or courses offered which do not meet any goals. It will also help you identify where assessment could take place.

Assessment Support Resources for Degree Programs

Each degree program has a faculty assessment coordinator. Workshop and other announcements are sent to degree program coordinators.

The Canvas course, Resources for Degree Program Assessment, has been established to provide additional information about goal alignment, curriculum mapping, assessment reporting and deliverables due. Materials include tutorials, reporting templates, past presentations as well as report examples.

Need Help?

Degree program coordinators as well as other faculty and staff are encouraged to contact Jeannie DeClerck or our other Assessment Support experts for assistance.