What is an Assessment Plan?
assessment plan is an outline that includes all relevant portions of an
assessment project, tying together each step of an assessment project in
consideration of the context in which the assessment will occur.
Why Create an Assessment Plan?
There are a
variety of reasons why it is a good idea to create an assessment plan in your
program. A few examples are:
a well-written assessment plan reduces the amount of time you will ultimately
have to devote to conducting your assessment project, since it can clarify
tasks and timelines.
assessment plan provides a framework to guide your assessment project, ensuring
everyone is on the same page and is clear on their individual responsibilities
and the overall timeline.
- Allows for the consideration of all
parts of an assessment project and critical analysis of how the different
pieces fit together and can best be implemented to achieve the desired goals of
- May help predict potential issues with
the project, allowing for correction before implementation rather than
assessment plan provides a dynamic map for your assessment project, allowing
for better flexibility as you implement your project and more reasoned
responses to issues that may arise.
assessment plan is a good way to start conversations among relevant
stakeholders (i.e. faculty, staff, students) about not only assessment, but
also about teaching, learning, curriculum, etc. in your program.
assessment plans also provide dedicated time and space to consider the
continuity of your overall assessment plan:
- How does this year’s assessment
project connect to previous assessment and the program’s plans for future
- Is the program assessing all learning
outcomes in a reasonable amount of time (5-7 years)?
- How does assessment fit into other
aspects of the program and programmatic priorities for the future?
- Is your assessment program
well-aligned with external expectations (for example, strategic planning
initiatives or other institutional directions, professional standards, etc.)
assessment plan is an opportunity to ensure that you have “your ducks in a
- What resources will be required to
carry out the assessment project?
- Do you have the appropriate resources
(ex. faculty time, financial resources, space, etc.) lined up to implement your
Critical Elements of an Assessment
- What question(s) are you asking about
- Is there any literature to support your
assessment project (i.e. frame the question, provide context for your
assessment project, inform your methodology or analysis/interpretation)?
- How does assessment of the learning
outcome(s) you will assess fit into strategic directions for your program
(and/or the unit/college/institution)?
- When will each step of your
assessment project occur?
- It is important to be realistic about
- Who will be involved in the
- What will each individual’s
responsibilities be (tied to the timeline)?
- What learning outcome(s) are you
interested in assessing?
- Why is the assessment of the
particular learning outcome(s) timely for your program?
- How will you collect information
about students’ achievement of the learning outcome(s) of interest?
your methodology include at least one direct assessment?
- It is important to consider scope:
specific population of students will you assess?
the total population what percentage will be invited to participate?
the potential set of data adequately answer the assessment question?
- How will the data collect help you
understand how well students are achieving the learning outcome(s) you are
- What method(s) will you use to
analyze the data you collect?
- Data do NOT make decisions; YOU make
- Data must be restructured into
a balanced view of the situation
issues and establishes progress
relevant to and sufficient for addressing key issues
- How will interpret the results of
- Who will be involved in the
can you involve as many stakeholders (faculty, staff, students) as possible to
give you the best perspective on the results?
- How will you decide the implications
of your results?
- Who will determine the actions that
can or should you take based on the results you obtained?
- Who should receive the results of
your assessment project?
- How will you communicate your results
to different stakeholders?