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Program Assessment

Program assessment involves providing evidence of the effectiveness of your courses and curriculum. While reporting this evidence may be used to fulfill accreditation requirements, it is also useful for determining whether your college, department, or faculty is achieving student objectives that you have identified.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges (SACS), yet assessment practices at the university extend beyond SACS to include many other accreditation agencies as well as our own practices of assessment.

In accordance with SACS requirements, student learning must be assessed each year, although specific outcomes need not all be assessed in the same cycle. The assessment cycle for programs serves as a how-to guide for faculty and staff as they go about thinking through the process of evaluating and developing their programs. Each component of the assessment cycle has links that clarify the purpose for that particular part of the process and how to implement it.

A timeline of assessment reporting activities (i.e., when annual reports are due, etc.) can be found below:

  • Decide what students in the department should be able to do.
  • Determine which assessments will best help students demonstrate these competencies and develop a plan for how these assessments will take place.

  • Carry out the assessments.
  • Collect the data.

  • Analyze and interpret results.
  • Compare results with last year’s results, if applicable.

  • Analyze and interpret results.
  • Compare results with last year’s results, if applicable.

  • Submit previous academic year’s report in Compliance Assist. This is done every year.

Other important resources for program assessment can be found below:

Southern Association of Colleges & Schools

UT Office of Institutional Research & Assessment

Assessment FAQs

Writing Clear Learning Outcomes

Top 10 Considerations When Reviewing An Assessment Report

Top 12 Considerations When Writing the Annual Assessment Report

The Assessment Cycle for Programs

Ask yourself the following questions when assessing programs:

Step 1: Outcomes
What will your students learn and achieve?

Step 2: Curriculum
Where in the curriculum will they learn and achieve what you want them to?

Step 3: Assessment
How and when will students show their learning and achievements? What assessment do you use?

Step 4: Analysis of Results
What is your analysis about the results of the evaluations? What are your conclusions?

Step 5: Program Enhancement
How will you use these results to make changes in the curriculum?