L&S Assessment FAQ: What is the L&S approach to "Assessment"?
This document attempts to convey a few fundamental principles that guide assessment activities in the College of Letters and Science.
- Systematically understanding academic programs helps departments monitor program efficacy, providing a rational foundation for enacting and observing the effect of curricular change.
- Careful analysis of academic program operations helps departments make the most effective use of limited resources.
- Information obtained through efforts to assess and improve student learning is essential to college-level decision-making processes, as when the L&S Curriculum Committee considers requests to change program requirements (see Changes to Program Requirements (Major, Option, or Certificate) ), or when the L&S Academic Planning Council considers requests to create new programs (see New Majors, Certificates, and Formally Transcripted Options ).
- Assessment provides information essential to Academic Program Review, which takes a broader look at what students are learning (see Academic Program Review - An Overview ).
- This process provides assurance to many audiences (faculty, administrators, the public, parents, students) that our students have not merely completed degree requirements, but that in doing so, they have mastered a body of knowledge or acquired a set of skills. In many ways, assessment is used to understand and certify that UW-Madison programs have the capacity to, and do in fact, produce graduates who are ready to assume places among an educated citizenry, whether they enter the workforce or pursue further professional or scholarly studies.
- On a related note, UW-Madison is required to have processes that evaluate student learning in academic programs; these activities are required for accreditation; accreditation is required for the university to receive Federal funding (from grants to student financial aid).
- Many “ordinary” processes of academic life are evaluative. When approached systematically, from an analytical perspective, these activities can serve as important ongoing forms of assessment.
- Academic assessment supplements but does not replace curricular, departmental, and other types of ongoing review for improvement.
- Our programs have a wide array of learning objectives; therefore, L&S does not have a “one-plan-fits-all” assessment approach.
- Departments and programs are central to academic assessment: faculty and staff develop and implement plans that align learning goals with their departmental missions, using tools appropriate to their available human, financial, and technical resources; and results are used to achieve or expand upon improvement.
- Non-academic and student service units play an important role in supporting student learning; they can also help us evaluate our students’ integrative, practical, and other critical thinking skills.
- Faculty ownership and participation in assessment activities is essential.
Questions or comments about L&S Assessment activities may be directed to the Associate Dean for Academic Planning, Elaine M. Klein (elaine.klein<at>wisc.edu).
- L&S Assessment: Tips and Terminology
- L&S Assessment FAQ: What is the L&S approach to "Assessment"?
- L&S Assessment Plan
- L&S Department and Program Assessment Plans - Archive for 2013 and Prior
- L&S Assessment FAQ - What does an "Assessment Plan" look like? What should an "Assessment Report" convey? How is this information used?
- L&S Assessment FAQ: Why Assess Student Learning?
- Academic Program Review - An Overview
- L&S Guidelines for Program Review
- L&S Policy on Review of Certificate Programs
- L&S Academic Program Review - Frequently Asked Questions
- Changes to Program Requirements (Major, Option, or Certificate)
- New Majors, Certificates, and Formally Transcripted Options
- Restructuring or Discontinuing Majors/Programs
- How Do We Change the Name of Our Academic Program or Department?