Frequently asked questions about collecting program learning assessment information

Beginning in the fall of 2023, the University of Delaware will beging a new process of collecting learning assessment information from each academic unit. As recommended by the Task Force on Learning Goals & Assessment, this is a flexible process that honors disciplinary values and knowledge.

How can I get help or more information?

CTAL is here to help! We have collected examples of assessment plans and self-guided modules for faculty working to revise or develop program assessment plans. During the 2022-2023 academic year, we are offering support series during the fall, winter, and spring. Faculty and staff are also welcome to request individualized support from CTAL to work with you. These consultations may include briefings at faculty meetings, guided workshops, review of drafts, assistance in identifying examples and disciplinary resources, or other interactions and support services.

How is assessment information being collected?

Beginning in the fall of 2023, program learning assessment information will be collected using a new Webform. This approach was recommended by the Task Force on Learning Goals & Assessment as it is a flexible and familiar tool with excellent support from the university.

What assessment information is being collected?

The Task Force on Learning Goals & Assessment recommended that the following questions be used in the webform:

  • Which educational goal(s) have you elected to assess?
  • Briefly describe the evidence collected to evaluate student learning related to the above goal(s).
  • Describe the results of your review.
  • Describe the process you used to disseminate these results to your program faculty and the process to facilitate discussion to determine curricula changes, actions, etc.
  • What changes are you making, if any, as a result of your assessment? Such changes may be at the course, program, or department level.
  • What type of support or resources, if any, are needed to make the changes at the course, program, or department level?
Why is this information being collected?

Program learning assessment information is being collected because we have a legal and ethical responsibility to understand and improve the effectiveness of the education we offer at UD.

This process began during the University’s preparations for our 2021 reaffirmation of accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and was further informed by UD’s 2019 Task Force on Learning Goals and Assessment.  In their final report, committee members of this task force wrote that “we currently lack a clear, shared practice of ongoing and authentic program educational goal assessment.” Moreover, the task force also reported that “the University of Delaware can use program assessment to help demonstrate the value of its degrees to students. In addition, an improved culture of assessment would provide a set of common tools, resources, and processes. These would not only foster greater transparency for students, but also assist faculty in making curriculum and program decisions.”

When is assessment information being collected? When is it due?

Program learning assessment information will be collected each fall beginning in 2023. Precise details about the timing during the fall semester is still being decided but a mid-semester process, likely in October, is what was recommended by the Task Force on Learning Goals & Assessment.

(The task force originally recommended this begin in 2022 but the COVID-19 pandemic changed these plans and pushed them back one year.)

Who will be required to provide assessment information?

Every unit that has primary administrative responsibility for one or more degree-granting programs will be required to submit assessment information.

How many programs and goals do I have to assess each year?

The number of programs and goals each unit should assess each year will depend greatly on many variables, particularly the number of programs in the unit and the number of goals for each program. Our recommendation is to create a plan that will allow you to assess each goal in each program at least once, preferably twice, before your next academic program review or accreditation report. Additional consideration should be given to the relative importance of some goals, the relative complexity of different goals, and the amount of overlap or interconnectedness between different programs. For example, a department may have several programs that share many goals so assessing those goals may be a priority with additional time needed to assess the unique goals of each program.