A Step by Step Guide to Preparing an Outcomes Assessment Plan

Writing a New Plan

1. Form a working group

Organize a series of discussions to review existing practices and determine what the college will assess. How complex is the assessment option you are considering? 'Guesstimating' the following may help you assess your planned assessment methods:

Likely cost Low Medium High
Extra work Low Medium High
Time required Low Medium High
Number of people required Low Medium High
Estimated complexity Low Medium High
Estimated value of assessment, if it works well Low Medium High
2. Identify the questions
  • What is the educational goal or mission of your program?
  • What general outcome are you seeking?
  • How could you measure each of the desired behaviors?
  • Who cares about your results?
  • Would would you do with the results?
3. Identify the types of assessment instruments your program wants to utilize
  • Student work samples
  • Collections of student portfolios
  • Capstone projects
  • Presentations
  • Alumni, employer, student surveys
  • Job placement statistics, etc.

4. Evaluate and share results 

Collect the information. How close does students’ actual learning come to meeting the expected outcomes? Evaluate what is found. Share the findings.

5. Make changes if needed 

What elements of the teaching/learning processes should be added, deleted, or changed to improve student success? Did the assessment plan for the academic unit produce results that have face validity? If not, why not?

6. Submit plans
Attach complete plan to new program proposal at time of submission to Faculty Senate.
Send electronic version of completed plan (DOWNLOAD TEMPLATE HERE.doc format) to the Provost's office attention to LaNora Tolman (latolman@alaska.edu) x2764.

 References & Examples

Per NWCCU Accreditation Handbook Standard 2.B - Educational Program Planning and Assessment - the expected learning outcomes for each degree and certificate program shall be published.

See the standard below.

From the NWCCU Accreditation Handbook

Standard 2.B - Educational Program Planning and Assessment- Educational program planning is based on regular and continuous assessment of programs in light of the needs of the disciplines, the fields or occupations which programs prepare students, and other constituencies of the institution.

2.B.1 The institution's processes for assessing its educational programs are clearly defined, encompass all of its offerings, are conducted on a regular basis, and are integrated into the overall-planning and evaluation plan. These processes are consistent with the institution's assessment plan as required by Policy 2.2

Educational Assessment

While key constituents are involved in the process, the faculty have a central role in planning and evaluating the educational programs.

2.B.2 The institution identifies and publishes the expected learning outcomes for each of its degree and certificate programs. Through regular and systematic assessment, it demonstrates that students who complete their programs, no matter where or how they are offered, have achieved these outcomes.

2.B.3 The institution provides evidence that its assessment activities lead to the improvement of teaching and learning.

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