Program Level Assessment focuses on what and how an academic program is contributing to the learning and development of students as a group. Assessment helps programs:
- Discover through empirical evidence "what students are learning"
- Identify gaps in student learning areas
- Inform teaching pedagogy by aligning best practices with learners’ needs
- Make informed decisions; guide curriculum, course action, and revision
- Demonstrate overall program effectiveness; showcase student learning ‐ "what works"
(Adapted from 9 Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning)
The PLOAP (Program Level Outcomes Assessment Plan)
In order to establish a consistent and strong assessment foundation campus-wide, each program completes a Program Level Outcomes Assessment Plan (PLOAP). The goal of creating an academic program assessment plan is to facilitate continuous program level improvement. A program level outcomes assessment plan provides faculty with a clear understanding of how their program is assessed (e.g. what is being measured and when, who will collect the data and how the results will be used) with the ultimate goal to foster student learning. A quality assessment plan articulates:
- Specific program goals
- Measurable student learning outcomes
- Direct and indirect assessment methods used to demonstrate the attainment of each outcome
- Well‐articulated plan for timely implementation
- Clear timeline including the intervals at which evidence is collected and reviewed
- Individual(s) responsible for the collection and review of evidence
- Plan for use of findings to inform, confirm, and support program level change
Guidelines for program level assessment planning and step-by-step instructions are available in the Academic Program Assessment Planning Guide. Click here to review some of RIT's high quality Program Level Outcomes Assessment Plans.
Developing a PLOAP
RIT academic programs use a common PLOAP template which was developed collaboratively by the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee. A program assessment plan should be developed collaboratively among faculty who teach in the program. Huba and Freed (2000) established the following key questions to consider when establishing an assessment plan.
- Does the program have clear, explicitly stated goals that can guide the assessment of the program?
- What opportunities do we provide for students so that they can achieve our intended student learning outcomes?
- What forms of assessment do we use to collect student learning outcomes data?
Use the RIT RUBRIC FOR ACADEMIC PROGRAM LEVEL ASSESSMENT PLAN rubric to help determine at which stage your program level outcomes assessment plan is.
Program Level Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Data Collection
There are various ways to collect program-level student learning outcomes assessment data. Program Directors and Department Chairs determine the best method within their programs. Program faculty contribute to gathering data from individual courses or program-level experiences (senior thesis and project, capstone, or experiential learning). The attached Data Collection Form is available as one method to support the collection of assessment data.
Quick Guides and Samples:
- Guide to Program Assessment for New Chairs and Directors
- Let's Get This PLOAP Started - A Quick Guide
- Program Assessment Plan Implementation Checklist
- Sample PLOAPS
Template and Forms
Comprehensive Guide and Rubric: