Assessment responsibilities at NAU
Roles and Responsibilities for Learning Outcomes Assessment at NAU
Adapted from Marymount University Assessment Handbook (2015).
For learning outcomes assessment to be truly effective, it must be connected to curriculum, under the stewardship of faculty, and a University-wide process. At NAU, faculty, academic unit leaders, support staff, faculty on college committees, and faculty on Faculty Senate committees are directly involved with assessment in the following ways:
Faculty develop learning outcomes, assess student performance, and provide the necessary analysis to understand the achievement of learning outcomes in their programs.
- Academic unit chairs, directors and coordinators manage the assessment process within their programs and ensure consistent progress on curriculum and assessment is achieved through submitting annual Curriculum & Assessment Reports.
- Academic unit chairs, directors and coordinators compile data, facilitate conversations with faculty concerning findings, and submit the Self-Study Report during their Academic Program Review. The Self-Study Report provides evidence of student learning and plans for future curriculum and assessment actions.
- The Office of Curriculum, Learning Design & Academic Assessment coordinates and supports the overall assessment effort and provides methodological and technical support throughout the process. This office collects and posts purpose and learning outcomes in the Academic Catalog, and annual and periodic reports in the SharePoint Archives. It compiles reports for the Provost, Deans, college committees and university committees showing NAU’s progress in achieving curriculum and assessment requirements for NAU’s regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission.
- Faculty on College Curriculum & Assessment Committees provide feedback on curriculum proposals submitted for the academic catalog to ensure the new and changing curriculum achieve the marks of high-quality established by the faculty in the Degree Program Expectations.
- Faculty on the University Undergraduate Committee and University Graduate Committee (Faculty Senate Committees) review and provide feedback to units concerning the quality of their curriculum design and assessment practices as part of the Academic Program Review process.
- Faculty on the Curriculum & Assessment Coordinating Committee (a Faculty Senate Committee) review feedback concerning the process and identify approaches to ensure that our processes are resulting in evidence that will achieve the requirements of NAU’s regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission.
The Cyclical Nature of Learning Outcomes Assessment and NAU’s Six Step Assessment Cycle
Adapted from Marymount University Assessment Handbook (2015)
Since the primary goal of program learning outcomes assessment is continued improvement of the quality of education offered by NAU, the process is cyclical in nature. Assessment is an ongoing process that should evolve and change as programs and students evolve and change.
There are six steps to NAU’s learning outcomes assessment cycle:
- Develop/revise purpose statements, learning outcomes, curriculum map, course design (covered in other Degree Program Expectations)
- Determine where/when to conduct assessment
- Design outcome measures (assignments, tests, etc.)
- Collect data
- Analyze, interpret and evaluate findings
- Use findings: Select actions to take based on assessment findings and develop a plan to implement actions
Figure: Program Learning Outcomes Assessment Cycle
The resources provided on this website will assist you in completing the Self-Study Report Template. For each step, the website:
- Provides a basic overview of the goals and purpose of the step,
- lists the specific activities for units associated with the step, and
- offers suggestions and potential strategies for effectively completing the step.
The ideas and suggestions for completing the steps are intended to provide useful information for faculty and department chairs. Meaningful assessment practices are anything but a one-size-fits-all approach. For assessment to be useful, it needs to be tailored to fit each academic unit and program. Since each academic department or school and its degree programs differ in terms of size, approach, and outlook, it is important to ensure that the assessment approach matches the needs of the program, the faculty, and students. Staff from the Office of Curriculum, Learning Design, & Academic Assessment are available to discuss any thoughts or ideas to help programs build a learning outcomes assessment approach that fulfills NAU’s assessment requirements and meets the needs of your faculty and students.