Annual reviews give programs a process for making improvements that are ongoing and cumulative. They allow the program to articulate its (1) focus on learning, (2) plans for using the results of its assessment, and (3) relationship to the University and its goals. These reports allow programs to take yearly snapshots of how they are doing and where they would like to go, and as such, become the basis for the long-range program development report due every seven years.
Each annual planning report should summarize the following:
- Student Learning Outcomes
- what the program assessed, why, and how (for each major)
- what the program learned from what has been assessed
- what the program plans to do with what has been learned
- what the program plans to assess next year, why, and how
- how the program's assessment for the year relates to University Learning Goals
- Program response to a Question of the Year centered on an institutional issue
- Faculty, staff, and student accomplishments
During the fall and spring semesters, the program gathers authentic and evidence-based assessment data that allows it to see how well its students are reaching the program learning outcomes it has chosen to assess, and how these outcomes meet the University Learning Goals. (Such flexible assessment depends upon the program's own priorities, the program's own alignment of its goals with the University Learning Goals, and in some cases, the program's externally mandated requirements.) During the latter part of each spring semester, the program allots time for discussing that year's assessment results, any relevant data it has gathered in past years, and planning related to the discoveries made through assessment. In addition, all programs reflect on a Question of the Year. These conversations might occur in department meetings, advisory committee meetings, and/or school or division-wide meetings. At the end of each academic year, the program completes a brief electronic Annual Planning Report Form and submits it to the Institutional Effectiveness Committee and the appropriate Dean, who will review it to ensure the program's plans are workable and compatible with institutional plans and goals. In consultation, revisions may be suggested.
Programs are not required to assess everything, all the time, in all courses. However, each program should focus its assessment efforts on at least two student learning outcomes and at least one University Learning Goal (KMERI) per major, per year. For the long-range report completed every seven years, at least one student learning outcome should be assessed and reported on under each of the University Learning Goals. On a timetable determined by the program, all of the program's student learning outcomes should be assessed at least once across two long-range planning cycles. Thus, part of the program's annual discussion should include which assessment to continue, which to continue with revision, which to end for the time being, and which to begin.
To be meaningful and productive, assessment should be part of the program's daily life (ongoing), include multiple types of data gathered at multiple points in time (authentic), and measure and document student learning (evidence-based). Examples of ongoing data collection include but are not limited to course observation and evaluation (institutional and specialized); course syllabus review; regular identification and sharing of student work that represents levels of quality as defined by the program; focus groups of students, faculty and staff; and program meetings designated for data review, interpretation and reflection. Authentic assessment balances qualitative and quantitative, direct and indirect, and formative and summative measures. Evidence-based assessment documents program quality through, for example, samples of student work, survey results, rubric ratings, and/or grade point average analysis, but it may also include other assessment tools designed to gain tangible documentation.