Developing a Program Assessment Plan

The following steps can help you create a new or revised assessment plan in support of program outcome assessment. A robust assessment plan aids department faculty in using a standardized process to collect program assessment data and review it on a regular basis to better understand student learning, to make curricular or pedagogical changes in the interest of improving student learning, and finally, to define and explain the value and excellence of WSU's contributions to student learning at all levels.

A strong assessment plan can help program faculty make meaningful decisions about areas of strength and weakness in order to improve student learning.

Step 1: Identify program-based student learning outcomes

Meaningful and measurable student learning outcomes are the backbone of the assessment plan. Student learning outcomes reflect the goals and values of your specific program and distinguish your program from others. Student learning outcomes describe the knowledge, behaviors, skills, attitudes, and values that your students should be able to demonstrate as a result of completing your program. Good student learning outcomes are specific, measurable, and directly tied to your program's curriculum.

Additional information on developing and writing program-based student learning outcomes can be found here.

Step 2: Develop a curriculum map

With program-based student learning outcomes in hand, create a curriculum map/grid to identify the intersections between courses and program outcomes and experiences. The curriculum map can be furthered enhanced by indicating the level of mastery expected at each intersection, for example, where outcomes are introduced, developed, and mastered.

Careful review of the curriculum map allows the program faculty to ensure that students have multiple opportunities to develop and master learning outcomes and to identify gaps in coverage. This template can be downloaded to help you design your curriculum map.

Step 3: Align course-level outcomes with program-based student learning outcomes

Outcome-Assessment alignment tool

Step 4: Determine assessment measures that align to course-level outcomes

Step 5: Draft a complete program assessment plan

Step 6: Implement the assessment plan and revise as needed