National University Learning Outcome Assessment and Program Review

Program Learning Outcome Assessment

Program Learning Outcomes Assessment is based on a multi-year planning cycle that culminates in a Five-Year Program Review. Select Program Learning Outcomes are assessed with direct and indirect measures on an annual basis, and within the Program Annual Review (PAR) faculty members provide recommendations for ongoing program improvement and resource allocation. In addition, as part of the program development process, program learning outcomes are mapped to institutional learning outcomes.

The use of a multiple-assessment approach is a best practice, and it is encouraged and widely exercised at National University. Both qualitative and quantitative data are critical components of the PAR. Commonly used data, evidence, and information include, but are not limited to, analysis of exam results, student portfolios, signature assignments, program exit reviews, and surveys conducted of students, alumni, and employers. Faculty review and reflect on any gaps and provide plans for improvement in their action plans. Based on assessment findings and feedback from the school assessment committee, department chair, and dean, the program director will develop and implement changes, ensuring that changes made are re-assessed to close the loop. Final recommendations to improve student learning and improve program quality are also considered during the normal budgeting cycle.

National University programs are required to assess a minimum of 20 percent of Program Learning Outcomes annually. Programs participating in a Five-Year Program Review are not required to complete a Program Annual Review for the same academic year, unless required by specialized or disciplinary accreditation bodies. In addition, programs with enrollment less than ten students are not required to participate in the Program Annual Review due to low data.

Program Review

Five-Year Program Reviews are based on an inquiry process in which program faculty create an overarching question that will result in a study of a current issue to inform program change. In addition, faculty review and analyze data on retention, graduation, and other program indicators. The program is also review for relevancy, currency, quality, and rigor. Program support services are reviewed to ensure adequate student support is available. External reviewers are required for the Five-Year Review process to review resources, curriculum and assessment plans.

A final set of recommendations is developed by the program faculty, taking into account comments from the external review and the appropriate councils. These recommendations are presented to the Provost, and together with the faculty, dean and council representative, a Memorandum of Agreement that includes approved recommendations and budget allocations is developed. Final MOAs are reflected on in the annual Program Assessment Review.