Program Level Outcomes Assessment Plan (PLOAPs)

Developing a PLOAP

All academic programs at RIT are required to have a Program Level Outcomes Assessment Plan (PLOAP). The goal of an academic program assessment plan is to facilitate continuous program improvement. The PLOAP 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. The PLOAP articulates:

  • Program goals
  • Measurable student learning outcomes
  • Direct and indirect assessment methods to demonstrate the attainment of each outcome
  • 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 

RIT academic programs use a common PLOAP template which was developed by the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee. A program assessment plan should be developed collaboratively among faculty who teach in the program. Programs should consider the following questions when establishing an assessment plan.

  • Does the program have clear, explicitly stated goals that can guide the assessment of the program?
  • What opportunities do the students have to achieve the intended learning outcomes?
  • What assessments does the program conduct to determine whether students are meeting the learning outcomes?

Developing Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) describe specific learning behaviors that students should demonstrate as a result of their completion of a course or program.

Use the following questions to guide the development of program SLOs:

  • For each of your stated goals, what specific student behaviors, knowledge, skills, or abilities will tell you this goal is being achieved?
  • What evidence needs to be present, or what specific behavior needs to be visible, to see that your students are achieving the major goals you have established?
  • In your experience, what evidence tells you when students have met these goals? How do you know when they’re “getting” it?

Resource: The Rubric for the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) will help you assess the quality of your student learning outcomes.

New Academic Programs

New academic program proposals include a program level outcomes assessment plan (PLOAP) developed in consultation with program faculty and the Office of Educational Effectiveness Assessment. PLOAPs summarize how programs will organize, collect, and analyze student achievement results to inform program improvement.   

New PLOAPs must be approved by the Director of Educational Effectiveness Assessment to include with the new program proposal prior to the submission.

Curriculum Mapping

Curriculum mapping is a method to align instruction with desired program goals and student learning outcomes. It can also be used to explore what is taught and how.

The Curriculum Map:

  • Documents what is taught and when
  • Reveals gaps in the curriculum
  • Helps design an assessment plan

Benefits of Curriculum Mapping:

  • Improves communication about curriculum among faculty
  • Improves program coherence
  • Increases the likelihood that students achieve program level outcomes
  • Encourages reflective practice

 Sample Curriculum Map:

The following sample highlights a completed Cultural Resources Program curriculum map. For additional information, use the Curriculum Mapping Guide to help facilitate your program-level planning.

PLOAP Resources

These templates and quick guides will help you get started, while the planning guide gives step-by-step instructions for program-level assessment planning. The rubric will help determine the stage of your program level outcomes assessment plan.

RIT Essential Learning Outcomes

Programs align student learning outcomes to RIT’s five Essential Program Outcomes: critical thinking, global interconnectedness, ethical reasoning, integrative literacies, and innovative/creative thinking. These Essential Program Outcomes are embedded in every academic program at RIT. 

Read more about RIT’s five Essential Program Outcomes

A more specific focus, appropriately applied to career goals and professions, is defined by individual undergraduate and graduate academic programs. Likewise, the sophistication and complexity of the expected outcomes are reflective of the degree level obtained.