About the Assessment Committee
Faculty and administrators on Assessment Committee study, review, and assess the College’s educational programs, curricula, and academic departments.
To these ends, members of the committee endeavor to accomplish the following:
- Create, implement, and oversee processes for assessment of educational programs of the College, particularly general education, for their on-going improvement.
- Convey findings and recommendations from assessment to appropriate members of the campus community, particularly the Educational Policies Committee.
- Establish guidelines, guidelines and timetable for regular external reviews of departments and programs; review actions taken subsequent to external reviews; and, when appropriate, consult with departments effecting changes prompted by external reviews.
About Academic Department Assessment Reporting
Every two years, departments submit a report assessing at least one learning outcome. These biennial reports guide the department’s ongoing administration, monitoring, and enhancement of its curricular program, closing the loop between report (data) and renovation (redirection).
These reports are reviewed by the Assessment Committee, which provides guidance and suggestions, and conveys both departmental report and Assessment Committee review to the assistant provost for teaching, learning, and assessment and the provost. A summary of departmental assessment reports is reviewed by the Board of Trustees, whose stewardship requires their confidence in the institution’s sustained and vibrant self-assessment. Departmental assessment reports may also be used in institutional assessment when their subject is related to institutional-level assessment.
In preparation for external departmental reviews (ten-year cycle), departments carry out a comprehensive self-study, which draws upon their 5 biennial assessment reports. External reviewers receive the department’s comprehensive self-study before they conduct their independent assessment, and their final report evaluates the department’s strengths and weaknesses in history of assessing of its curricular program.
In order to cultivate cross-institutional consistency and coherence, departments and units are encouraged to identify how their learning outcomes mightalign with and support the broader institutional learning outcomes. Effective institution-wide assessment demands a clear connection between unit learning goals and overall institutional goals. While departmental and program learning goals and objectives address the local needs of different disciplines and different program missions, the institutional learning outcomes capture the general profile of skills, abilities, and principles that we expect from a K graduate. To the extent possible, there should be meaningful calibration between unit and institution learning outcomes, each mutually supportive of the other. The adoption of new institutional learning outcomes provides departments with an opportunity to review and, perhaps, revise current departmental learning outcomes. A department may have additional learning outcomes that are not represented by the institutional learning outcomes, and may not assess all of the institutional learning outcomes.
Typically, each department assesses one or two learning outcomes every other year, although departments have effectively assessed more learning outcomes in a single year as well.
Learning outcomes are assessable. The Glossary of Assessment Language developed at Kalamazoo College (and included below) defines several ways to assess learning outcomes, including indicators (direct and indirect), outputs, benchmarks, and evaluation. Specific examples of assessment tools might be qualitative or quantitative and could include rubrics, surveys, examples of student work, exams, discussion evaluations, and more. Specific examples of Departmental Learning Outcomes and/or Departmental Assessments can be provided to departments by the Assessment Committee.
The assessment of learning outcomes should ideally lead to changes that are meaningful to the department, thereby closing the assessment loop (assessment -> changes -> implementation -> reassessment).