Creating an Assessment Plan

Assessment Plan

An assessment plan outlines the specific assignments that provide evidence of student learning for each of your program's learning outcomes, as well as the courses in which students complete those assignments.

While there are no set rules for how to format your program's assessment plan, the example below can be used as a starting point.

Organization of the assessment plan

A convenient way to format an assessment plan is to create a table for each of your program's learning outcomes. In each table, the rows correspond to the courses that address a given outcome, while the columns contain information about the relevant assignments from each course. An additional column indicates whether students are expected to be introduced to knowledge represented by the outcome, further develop it, or master it by the end of the course.

Here is a template for the assessment plan; and here is a hypothetical example, for a single outcome:

Learning Outcome 1
101 Introduction to Discipline I   Oral presentation Final exam  
201 Methods in Discipline D Research paper      
399 Capstone Project M Capstone paper Capstone presentation   Student Survey

 * I = Introduced, D = Developed, M = Mastered

Developing the plan

Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding what evidence you will use to assess a given outcome:

  • Consult your curriculum map: If you need to determine what evidence is available, consult your program's curriculum map to see which courses address the outcome in question.
  • Types of evidence: Consider what mixture of evidence is most appropriate for addressing a given outcome - a paper? An exam? A multimedia project? Or multiple forms of evidence?
  • Level of learning: Assess students' understanding at points where the outcome is supposed to be introduced, further developed, and mastered, using assignments appropriate to each level of understanding.
  • Same evidence, multiple outcomes: Where possible, use the same student work for more than one outcome, to make the process of collecting evidence easier.
  • Inclusivity: Find ways to provide all students with fair opportunities to demonstrate a given outcome, e.g. by giving students the option to use different media for projects that address "content" or "subject matter" knowledge.

Assessment Schedule

Once you have an assessment plan that outlines the evidence and methods you will use to assessment each of your program's outcomes, you will need to create a schedule for when you will assess each outcome. The schedule simply indicates which academic year you will assess each outcome - including collecting and scoring student work, analyzing and interpreting the results, and making any necessary programmatic changes.

Here is a template for the assessment schedule; and here is an example of what such a schedule might look like:

Learning outcome2021-222022-232023-242024-252025-262026-27
Outcome #1 X       X  
Outcome #2   X       X
Outcome #3       X    
Outcome #4     X      

Creating a schedule that your program can manage and sustain is essential. Here are a few ideas for how to do this:

  • Choose to focus on only one or two learning outcomes per year.
  • Allot two years for an outcome with a more complicated assessment process - i.e., collect and score student work in one year, then analyze/interpret results and make decisions the next year.
  • Keep in mind that the purpose of assessment is to improve student learning. Staying focused on this goal can help you stay motivated.