In effective systems of student learning assessment, programs regularly complete the assessment cycle by using what was learned from assessment to inform or influence program decisions. Faculty and instructors play critical roles in evaluating student work and then interpreting and discussing results, so that program-level assessment can contribute to decisions about curriculum, instruction, professional development, and assessment processes. » More …
Senior exit surveys and interviews give students an opportunity to “weigh in” on their undergraduate experiences. Questions may include those about curriculum, faculty, offices and services, social opportunities, and career preparation. Academic programs can use students’ responses to inform decisions and improve student learning.
The School of Biological Sciences (SBS) has conducted exit surveys or interviews with graduating seniors for over five years. Their goal is to understand students’ perceptions of strengths and weaknesses of the program, and to get student input on how to adjust to make the program more effective. Larry Hufford, Director of the School of Biological Sciences, describes the practice as “very informative.” Based on what they have learned from students’ feedback along with other information, the program has made the following adjustments:
- created workshops for students on research and career opportunities,
- shifted teaching assignments,
- worked with individual faculty to make adjustments to courses, and
- made other curricular adjustments.
Curriculum mapping is an activity that visually aligns the program’s courses with its student learning outcomes, allowing faculty to identify strengths, gaps, redundancies, and places in the program to assess student learning. An important aspect of curriculum mapping is the faculty discussion which occurs in the process of creating and refining the map – a forum for dialog and the chance to deepen connections among assignments, learning activities, and departmental approaches to teaching. A faculty-developed curriculum map can also help each instructor understand how his/her course is situated in the curriculum, and the essential contributions that course makes toward student learning outcomes for the degree. » More …