The program assessment planning process is related to the following ABET Accreditation Criteria:
- ABET Criteria 2: Program Educational Objectives
- ABET Criteria 3: Student Outcomes
- ABET Criteria 4: Continuous Improvement
Establish Purpose and Set Goals
Institutional Mission Statement
Assessment planning begins with the institutional mission statement which describes the communities that are served and the institutional purposes and other characteristics that define the institution.
Develop a Timeline
Each assessment leader, along with any pertinent faculty or administration should develop a plan of action and timeline to ensure departmental goals are met in a timely fashion.
Define and Refine Objectives and Outcomes
Program Educational Objectives
Program Educational Objectives are broad statements that describe what graduates are expected to attain within a few years of graduation. Program educational objectives are based on the needs of the program’s constituencies.
Student Outcomes describe what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the knowledge, skills, and behaviors that students acquire as they progress through the program.
Student outcomes should be defined in order for faculty to have a common understanding of the expectations for student learning and to achieve consistency across the curriculum, as measured by performance indicators. Performance indicators represent the knowledge, skills, attitudes or behavior students should be able to demonstrate by the time of graduation that indicate competence related to the outcome.
Design and Conduct Assessments
Assessment is one or more processes that identify, collect, and prepare data to evaluate the attainment of student outcomes and program educational objectives. Effective assessment uses relevant direct, indirect, quantitative, and qualitative measures as appropriate to the outcome or objective being measured. Appropriate sampling methods may be used as part of an assessment process.
Educational Practices and Strategies
Understanding the alignment between educational practices and strategies promotes efficient and effective assessment practices. This can be accomplished by mapping educational strategies (which could include co-curricular activities) to learning outcomes.
Strategies for data collection and analysis need to be systematic and consistent that focus on assessment related to the performance indicators.
Evaluate Assessment Findings
Evaluation is one or more processes for interpreting the data and evidence accumulated through assessment processes. Evaluation determines the extent to which student outcomes and program educational objectives are being attained. Evaluation results in decisions and actions regarding program improvement.
Use Results for Decision Making
The feedback process is critical to creating and maintaining a systematic quality assurance system. When successfully implemented, all elements of the quality assurance process interact with one another.
ABET offers practical resources to assist you in assessment planning, including webinars, articles and tools, and assessment events.