Program Review & Student Learning Outcomes Assessment

Otterbein University faculty and programs engaged in the hard work of re-imagining curricula and then implementing those curricula within a new semester calendar. At the same time, we revised and re-established our program review routines and procedures with a stronger emphasis on student learning. Such a focus helps us measure the effectiveness of our new curricula, improve our programs, and fulfill our responsibilities to students, accrediting agencies, and society at large.

To be meaningful and productive, assessment of student learning at Otterbein must be flexible, ongoing, authentic and evidence-based. Meaningful and productive program review requires us to use such assessment to then improve program quality and increase student learning.

Flexible
Assessment of student learning must occur in connection to the program’s relationship to University learning goals and to the program’s unique internally developed and/or externally mandated goals and structures. Our program review process acknowledges differences among programs and respects their decisions about what aspects of the program to examine at different points in time, what types of data to collect and analyze, and what results to apply toward future development.

Ongoing
Assessment of student learning must be continuous and interwoven into the daily life of the program. Such assessment allows the program to gather different data at different times and target its reflections about improvement. The goal is not to assess everything all the time, but to establish the habit of regularly choosing particular student learning outcomes to measure and then gathering and examining data for those outcomes.

Authentic
Assessment of student learning must include multiple types of data gathered at multiple points in time. Such assessment should be both qualitative and quantitative and occur in the context of everyday teaching.

Evidence-based
Assessment of student learning must be evidence-based. To be accountable for past efforts and to plan for the future, programs must measure and document student effectiveness in reaching goals and outcomes.

Conclusion

Program review at Otterbein grounds plans for improvement on flexible, ongoing, authentic, and evidence-based assessment of student learning. Guidelines and procedures for annual and periodic program review reinforces and supports these goals. Such an approach commits us to focusing on student learning, improving program quality, and delivering what we promise.