Institutional and Programmatic Student Outcomes Assessment


Ephraim Schechter, a specialist in outcomes assessment, states that student outcomes assessment is for program planning and improvement as well as accountability reporting--"telling the story," with program improvement the primary goal. Many institutions of higher education have developed well-designed programs for institutional assessment that interconnect accountability and program improvement and have put this information on a website. The resources below provide information and Internet links on all aspects of student outcomes assessment at the institutional and programmatic level, with multiple examples of programs in place at colleges and universities throughout the United States and elsewhere. For student outcomes assessment in the classroom, please see other topics under assessment on this website.


General Resources

Nine Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning (American Association for Higher Education).
Guidelines for developing an effective student outcomes assessment program.

Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education: Some Concepts and Principles (The National Academy of Academic Leadership).
Reviews concepts, definitions, and methods to guide effective practices in institutional evaluation and assessment.
Also see for an annotated bibliography of assessment readings and websites.

Assessment at Slippery Rock University
A useful resource for designing a student outcomes assessment program. Links are in five categories: general, assessing student achievement in the major, assessing student achievement in general education, assessing student development and progress, and assessment at the classroom level.

Assessment Resources from Bucknell University
Contains information useful for developing student outcomes assessment plans including a list of sites that maintain workbooks/tool kits and examples by discipline of assessment plans currently in place at other institutions.

Assessment Resources from University of Massachusetts Amherst
This site offers online Course-Based and Program-Based Review and Assessment Handbooks designed specifically to provide support and guidance to faculty and Department Chairs in designing and implementing assessment activities. Click on Assessment Handbooks for access.

Brigham Young University's Learning Outcomes website
This award-winning website offers a video in which faculty discuss adapting to a learning outcomes approach and another video, made by a student, from the students' perspective. Click on the link to their Learning Outcomes Website, to access Guidelines for Course Learning Outcomes and Writing Course Learning Outcomes for a variety of disciplines.

Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment (North Carolina State University)
An enormous mega-site with annotated Internet links for all aspects of institutional and programmatic student outcomes assessment. Includes links to examples of outcomes assessment programs and rubrics from numerous higher education institutions throughout the United States and elsewhere. Copyright by Ephraim I. Schechter.

The Higher Learning Commission
This site offers information on postsecondary accreditation with links to information dealing with the HLC review process. Includes materials to download for the self-study in preparation for accreditation team visits plus other resources and reports.
Assessing Your Program-Level Assessment Plan” by Susan Hatfield, Winona State University (IDEA Paper #45, 2009).
This paper recommends that program-level assessment focus on student learning outcomes and provides fourteen fully explained key questions to guide the evaluation of a program’s assessment plan.

An Overview of E-Portfolios,” George Lorenzo and John Ittleson, edited by Diana Oblinger (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative, E11 paper 1: 2005). PDF.
This report describes 3 types of e-portfolios: student e-portfolios; teaching e-portfolios for faculty; and institutional e-portfolios for department, program, and institutional accreditation processes. Summarizes key issues in portfolio development; discusses material for inclusion; reviews e-portfolio technology; and provides links to examples of e-portfolio initiatives at several universities.

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Michigan State University Resources

MSU Director of Assessment
Kelly Funk

Academic Program Review, APR (Associate Provost for Academic Services at MSU).
Materials and annual calendar for Academic Program Review, including self-study questions and other useful resources.

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