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Course level assessment

Teaching and learning actually happen at this level, so it is possibly the most important level for assessment. All courses have master syllabi which contain course learning outcomes and major topics/skills that will be covered in the course. All assessments collect data on achievement of the course learning outcomes. Since these course learning outcomes are aligned with program and institutional learning outcomes, evidence from the course level can inform the program and institutional levels.

The course level assessment cycle

1. Identifying student learning goals

Course-level learning goals address both the content and skills that students should take away from a particular course. These goals are modified into course learning outcome statements that are measurable for the assessment process. These goals and outcomes align with the overall college mission and values and the institutional and program level goals and outcomes. They also help ensure that students in all sections of a course have the opportunity to master the most important knowledge and skills.

2. Aligning goals with courses

Once goals are established for programs, courses are identified in which those goals are addressed. Course learning outcomes are established and students have opportunities to master those outcomes through learning activities.

3. Gathering evidence of student learning

As students engage in learning activities, often they produce artifacts that provide evidence of learning and mastery of course learning outcomes. Student learning evidence can also be gathered through tests, quizzes and assignments.

4. Interpreting evidence of learning

Once assessment measures are implemented, faculty determine what the results mean about student progress toward mastering learning outcomes. The results should also indicate the consistency of results among sections and whether students are prepared for subsequent courses in a sequence or program.

5. Using evidence to improve learning

After faculty have interpreted assessment results, they need to decide whether the results indicate that instructional changes should be made to improve learning. Hopefully, faculty teaching different sections of the same course will exchange ideas and ensure that students in all sections are achieving at a high level.

Note: This assessment cycle has been adapted from Georgetown University.

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