Outcome Assessment

Outcome assessment is defined as:

Student learning outcome assessment is an activity in which institutional and instructional effectiveness is certified by evidence of student learning. Specific measurable learning behaviors are identified and assessed, and the results of the assessment are used to improve programs, courses, and services. Assessment, in this context, is not an evaluation of individual students or faculty.

There are several other concepts implicit to assessment:

  • Its primary purpose is to improve student learning
  • It is a faculty-driven, collaborative process
  • It is a process that is on-going and cyclical
  • It does not encroach upon academic freedom
  • The results are used constructively, not punitively
  • Identifying learning goals and accompanying objectives in accordance with a school/college of business (or program’s) mission statement;
  • Developing rubrics, methods of assessment, and instruments;
  • Assessing the achievement of students' learning for each goal;
  • Sharing the results of measurable outcomes with all appropriate stakeholders; and
  • Assuring a meaningful utilization of measurement results for continuous learning improvement.

It is a process by which individual student learning outcomes are defined at the institutional, program, and course level. For a particular outcome, expected student achievement is compared with actual outcomes, using predetermined benchmarks. If the results are lower than what has been determined to be acceptable, a plan to improve student learning is developed and implemented.

Assessment, in this context, is not related to grades or faculty evaluation. Although students provide evidence of learning, this is not an assessment of individuals, but an assessment of curriculum design and institutional best practices to the end that students are successfully learning. 

Assurance of Learning

The heart of outcome assessment is assurance of learning. Every program can highlight a couple great students who have gone on to be exceptional alumni. However, the assurance of learning requirement forces programs to determine whether faculty, courses, and the institution are in fact meeting the goals and mission. The assurance of learning process is a faculty-driven process whereby faculty identify what they want students to learn (consistent with the program’s mission), test for progress, and evaluate the results with an eye for continual improvement. This process is not a onetime step, but conducted on a regular basis to maintain academic quality.

This process can be broken down as follows:

  • Identifying learning goals and accompanying objectives in accordance with a school/college of business (or program’s) mission statement;
  • Developing rubrics, methods of assessment, and instruments;
  • Assessing the achievement of students' learning for each goal;
  • Sharing the results of measurable outcomes with all appropriate stakeholders; and
  • Assuring a meaningful utilization of measurement results for continuous learning improvement.

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