Assessing Student Learning Outcomes
In line with Carthage College’s mission, Seeking Truth, Building Strength, Inspiring Service — Together, we value inclusive excellence and wide access to quality educational programs. We strive to promote educational experiences and assessment practices that authentically document what students know and can do, bringing an equity lens to the interpretation of data and the use of results.
Assessment is a collaborative, intentional and iterative process of gathering and analyzing information to improve student learning.
While this broad definition is applicable to a range of goals and contexts, the Provost’s Office supports the assessment of student learning outcomes in the context of undergraduate and graduate academic programs at Carthage. Program-level student learning outcomes assessment is a process of faculty identifying what students should be able to do and know by the end of an academic program, measuring progress toward meeting these learning outcomes, and using that information to inform decision-making about teaching, learning, and curricula.
Carthage College has developed and embraced a common set of student learning outcomes, and we are dedicated to documenting, advocating, and facilitating the use of learning outcomes assessment to improve student learning.
Questions? Please contact Maribel Morales, Associate Provost for Assessment and Accreditation, at email@example.com.
Institutional Learning Outcomes
Institutional Student Learning Outcomes (ISLOs) describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes that students should develop through any sustained experience with the college.
The core values and common student learning outcomes at the institution level include:
- Expansive Approaches to Knowledge — Students will be aware of and be able to explain multiple ways of understanding the world (scientific and cultural).
- Communication — Students will be able to exchange ideas effectively with diverse audiences through multiple modes of communication.
- Complex, Creative, and Critical Thinking — Students will be able to evaluate, interpret, integrate, and analyze information, concepts, and ideas to make reasoned decisions and generate original ideas or products.
- Exploring and Evaluating Traditions (Intellectual, Religious, Aesthetic, and Cultural) as part of a liberal arts education — Students will engage and explore fundamental questions of human life as they arise in their own and other cultures.
- Self-knowledge, Personal Ethics, and Civic Engagement — Students will be reflective of their values, their role in society, their own well-being, and the well-being of others.
- Disciplinary Expertise — Students will be able to demonstrate skill and knowledge in their major disciplines through the completion of a significant capstone experience or project.
Endorsed by the Academic Senate in March 2023.
Program Student Learning Outcomes and Assessment
Program-level Student Learning Outcomes (PSLOs) are defined as the knowledge, skills, abilities, or attitudes that students have at the completion of a degree or certificate. Faculty within a discipline meet to discuss the expected learning outcomes for students who complete a particular series of courses, such as those required for a certificate or a degree.
The focus of our assessment work for the 2023-2024 academic year is program-level student learning outcome evaluation for program improvement for all majors and minors. Curriculum Maps have been created, and they may be used to identify what SLO(s) the program will assess.
Department Chairs and Program directors are encouraged to use the Assessment Plan Guide during early conversations in the fall to create a plan for the academic year. This assessment plan guide is meant to help departments prepare for the 2023-2024 assessment cycle and the on-going revision of the student learning experience for your academic program. Follow the template to help you determine what will be assessed, when and how.
Assessment Day: April 4, 2024
Assessment Day is April 4, 2024, from 8 a.m. to noon. There will be no classes during that time to allow departments to focus on assessment efforts. Each department will decide how to make the best use of this time. Assessment Day allows some dedicated time for faculty to share data and experiences, and discuss ways to improve student learning. Of all activities departments perform related to assessment, a valuable part of the assessment process is the discussion with peers of what the data means to let it guide decisions for improvement. All departments are expected to produce an Assessment Report each year describing the assessment work that took place and the actions that will be taken as a result.
Annual Department/Program Assessment Reports
Annual Department/Program Assessment Reports are due by June 30, 2024. This deadline allows departments to submit their reports as we finalize the year. To submit the report, upload it to the Google form in MS Word .docx format.