Assessment of student learning in Ball State University's academic programs is an essential means of identifying areas for growth and improvement in those programs. Therefore Ball State colleges, departments, and schools engage in annual programmatic assessment.
Academic Program Assessment Reports
Program assessment reports are submitted from units within each college. While ongoing assessment is expected in all programs, college administrators work with their departments/schools to determine which of their program(s) to include in annual assessment reporting. Through either the specialized accreditation reporting or through the university program assessment reporting, programs in each college should be included in program assessment reports at least once every five years. Recent analysis of the feedback given to faculty regarding their program assessment reports is available HERE. The analysis suggests that overall, program assessment reports are meeting expectations outlined in the reporting template and feedback rubric. The program assessment reports from faculty, along with supportive feedback from members of the University Assessment Committee, help Ball State on its continuous journey of improvement.
Co-Curricular Program Assessment Reports
Co-curricular experiences are an extension of formal curricular experiences and allow students to explore their strengths and talents outside the classroom. Some co-curricular experiences are embedded in academic programs, while others are offered outside academic programs. The outcomes are defined by the unit, based on the co-curricular experience.
The process by which co-curricular outcomes are measured is uniquely tailored to the experience itself. Units determine their assessment reporting schedule for collecting data and assessing outcomes. Measures may include a combination of direct measures and indirect assessment. To close the loop, co-curricular experiences and outcomes are reported and discussed in unit-level meetings, and many are also reported and discussed in campus leadership meetings. The aims of co-curricular outcomes assessment are to continually improve the quality of the experiences and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of resources used to provide the experiences.
Program Learning Outcomes
Observable, measurable program learning outcomes explain what each program intends to achieve. Program assessment involves a series of activities designed to determine how well students achieve the stated program learning outcomes. Results lead to continuous improvements in student learning in the unit’s programs.
Curriculum mapping depicts where the outcomes are assessed among required courses. The process of curriculum mapping involves the creation of a matrix, with program learning outcomes along one axis and required courses along the other axis. Faculty use the matrix to discuss and align the program learning outcomes and required courses. See the Curriculum Map Video Tutorial below for more information.
Direct and Indirect Measures of Student Learning
Systematic collection and review of both direct and indirect measures is an ongoing process in each program. While each department/school determines how its assessment will be conducted, program assessment must include at least one direct measure of student learning.
- Direct measures of learning explicitly demonstrate how well students have acquired the program learning outcomes. Examples include comprehensive exams, standardized tests, licensing exams, evaluation of student portfolios and performances, and evaluation of student performance by practicum, internship, studio or clinical supervisors.
- Indirect measures of learning provide proxy information about student learning. Examples include student ratings of program quality, student surveys about instruction, student self-assessment, exit interviews, alumni surveys, and employer surveys.
The following resources are meant to aid in documenting the systematic approach to program review:
Reports are due Oct. 15 each year (unless your college has an approved alternate submission date). Reports should be uploaded using the Assessment Report Submission in Qualtrics.
Assessment is rooted in a philosophy of continual improvement of our learning environments. This checklist ensures continued excellence in assessment procedures.
For more information about the annual program assessment process, consult the Faculty and Professional Personnel Handbook.