Saint Martin’s University assessment plan
“Any genuine teaching will result, if successful, in someone's
knowing how to bring about a better condition of things than existed
earlier.” John Dewey
Purpose: The primary purpose of Saint Martin’s
University program assessment is to improve student learning. Faculty
members establish student learning outcomes for every course and major
by articulating the knowledge, skills and values we expect our students
to achieve upon completion of the prescribed curriculum. The assessment
practices are used to measure the effectiveness of that curriculum in
meeting the established student learning goals and objectives. Staff
members establish program outcomes to articulate goals and objectives
necessary to support student learning and departmental effectiveness.
Assessment practices are then used to determine necessary changes to
promote maximum success.
Assessment system: Our faculty/staff have developed an assessment
system that includes a:
- university-wide assessment of program goals
and objectives for all academic and non-academic programs/departments at
all site locations
- comprehensive plan that uses data collection,
analyses, discussion of implications, and changes based on evidence to
strengthen the overall curriculum
- unified assessment process that
utilizes a common format to document program assessment throughout all
disciplinary lines and institutional responsibility.
assessment system: SMU’s faculty members have gathered evidence to
answer the question, “How well are students learning?” Our assessment
activities are based upon the underlying principle of changes based on
evidence and triangulation from multiple measures used to assess our
courses and our overall curriculum. This assessment process is based
upon a model of scholarly teaching and reflects the organic nature of
teaching and learning. In short, the scholarly teacher identifies
relevant questions about teaching and learning, seeks answers to those
questions, and shares their observations for others to evaluate and
Non-academic program assessment system: Non-academic
(staff, administration) members gather evidence to answer the question,
“How well is my office/department supporting the learning environment
for our students?” Assessment activities are based on the assessment
cycle and the triangulation also found in the academic program
assessment system. Staff and administration identify important aspects
of their department/office; obtain data to provide measures of success
against those goals/objectives, reflect on the results, determine and
implement necessary changes. Department directors and other staff
members join faculty as they seek to make the boundaries between
in-class and out-of-class learning more fluid and permeable.
Assumptions: underlying assumptions of the SMU institutional assessment
plan and process:
- Draw upon the knowledge and experience of a
classroom or student service professional to decide what to assess, how
to assess it, and how to respond to the information gained through
- Encourage faculty and student services personnel to
support each other in improving teaching to meet rigorous objectives
that define the expected student learning outcomes.
- Rely upon a
formative process used continuously to improve the quality of
instruction in and out of the classroom.
- Develop into a mutually
beneficial process for faculty, student services staff and students to
create a campus climate conducive to learning.
- Invite students to join
a community of learning and help students change their behavior to
increase their learning potential
- In assessing university-wide goals and
objectives, the University has periodically participated in the National
Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Student Satisfaction Inventory
(SSI); and Cooperative Institutional Research Project – Freshmen and
Senior Surveys (CIRP).
- Prior to 2007 the University conducted these
measures at the main campus in Lacey, Washington. Beginning fall 2008
the extension locations will also be included in the administration of
the surveys. Results from those surveys will be available spring or
summer 2009 and will be used to inform the University’s program
Program measures: Individual programs have completed program
assessment for many years.
- Outside accreditation reviews: Several
departments conduct accreditation reviews on a regular basis (OSPI and
TEAC for the College of Education; and ABET for the School of
- External review program evaluation: Responding to a
5-year program review schedule with external review - departments have
prepared program evaluation documentation for review by an external
evaluator beginning fall 2008.
- Curricular reviews: Various academic
departments have reviewed components of their programs and have brought
resulting changes to the education policies and curriculum committee for
- Non-academic department/office reviews:
non-academic departments and offices have conducted reviews and produced
annual reports for internal and external purposes.
Individual measures: various measures are utilized for individual
courses, students, and faculty
- Individual courses have received
student course evaluations for many years. Results are distributed to
faculty, and appropriate dean, and the VPAA and used to improve course
- Individual courses include both direct and indirect
assessment of student learning. Measures are gathered in multiple ways
over time to ensure reliable and valid assessment of student learning
- Individual faculty prepare an annual summary of professional
activities which include: Teaching effectiveness, scholarly activity,
and service. The area of teaching effectiveness includes reflection on
course evaluations and often present plans for course change based on
- Individual faculty undergo an on-going pre-tenure and
post-tenure review process as described in the faculty/staff handbook.
Each process includes external feedback and internal reflection of
course and program change based on data analyses.
- A university wide assessment committee oversees the University
assessment initiatives. The committee was formed as an ad-hoc committee
in April 2007. The 11 members include representatives from each of the 6
academic divisions, library, graduate programs, dean of student
services, director of extension programs, and director
education. The vice president academic affairs
is an ex-officio member. A request to faculty affairs will be submitted
fall 2008 for revision of
the faculty/staff handbook to include the assessment committee as a
permanent handbook committee. A budget to support the initiatives of the
assessment committee has been established for 2008-2009. The budget
supports funding of the assessment committee chair (.25 FTE), faculty
representative stipends (summer and academic year), supplies,
university-wide survey costs, and (limited) staff support.
- University-wide, unified, comprehensive: all academic majors and
non-academic departments/offices university-side (Lacey and all
extension locations) are conducting program assessments that are unified
and comprehensive. All assessments are utilizing the same components for
a unified cyclic approach (mission, goals, objectives, alignment,
demographics, timeline/responsibilities, competencies, methods of
assessment, results, discussion/implications, changes based on
assessment cycle). Assessments are completed by all stakeholders and in
all locations for a comprehensive involvement.
- All documents (draft and final) are available on the
to faculty / staff / administration / Abbey / Board of Trustees.
Documents are revised on a regular basis and open for feedback and
include assessment templates for academic majors; assessment templates
for non-academic department/offices; program evaluations with external
review documents; various assessment/evaluation instruments, and
assessment documents/templates for NWCCU site visits.
- Documents establishing a schedule of assessment activities is
maintained and revised as needed. Schedules include: 25 year
university-wide surveys (NSSE, CIRP, SSI); 2008
component due dates; 5 year external program review