Every graduate program assessment plan should have the following key components:

• Program Learning Outcomes
• Method/s for Annual Data Collection
• Methods of Assessment and Analysis
• Use of Assessment Data

1. Program Learning Outcomes

PLOs are the accumulated knowledge, skills, and attitudes that
students develop during a course of study in the program. Essentially, PLOs tell us what
students will learn in the program. PLOs should be written as specific, measureable
statements describing what students will be able to do upon completion of the program. Each
PLO should contain an action verband a learning statement. (For help in developing learning
outcomes see “Program Assessment Overview”, under Resources on Provost Page:

2. Program Description

Depending on the program plan (A: Thesis; B: Professional, or C: Course
Work) will define the nature of your PLO’s. Ideally plans would include assessment that would
cover all plans, but that would depend on the nature of your Master’s program.

3. Methods of Assessment

Every assessment plan needs evidence to demonstrate student
learning at the program level. This evidence can be in the form of a direct measure of student
learning or an indirect measure of student learning.

  • Examples of Direct measures include data that show specific student progress in achieving
    the student learning outcomes (SLOs) set by the program. For graduate programs,
    examples of direct measures could include:
    • a comprehensive or qualifying examination
    • research project
    • professional paper
    • defense (oral and written)
    • thesis or dissertation
    • manuscripts/ published peer-reviewed articles by the student
    • other papers, reports, course exams
    • examinations and presentations that demonstrate mastery of the knowledge,
      skills, and professionalism that a student is expected to learn in the program
  • Examples of Indirect measures include information related to the student’s learning.
    Examples could include:
    • course evaluations
    • annual reviews about the student’s progress, the results of a satisfaction or exit survey
    • focus group feedback
    • student placement data
    • rate of completion time

Both direct and indirect assessment data must be associated with the program’s student learning
outcomes, and collected within a timeframe determined by the program.

4. Timeframe for Collecting and Analyzing Data

Ideally, assessment data should be collected
throughout the year on an annual basis. At the minimum, faculty should schedule an annual
meeting to review these data and discuss student progress toward the PLOs. All of which
should be outlined in the Assessment Plan.

5. Use of Assessment Data

In the Assessment Plan, The Department/School must identify how
assessment data will be used by the program. Data should be shared with appropriate groups
(as defined with in the Assessment Plan), for which feedback and continuing improvement
plans can be developed. Program changes and improvements are then reported in Assessment
Reports, where recommendations in response to the analysis of assessment data are
documented. If assessment recommendations include changes to measures, items assessed,
or means of assessment, updates to the Assessment Plan will be necessary.