Assessment of Student Learning Objectives
UConn is known for providing an excellent academic experience for its students. Assessment of student learning objectives plays a crucial role in maintaining the high quality of education that our academic programs are known for. To that end, academic administrative units and departments are working together over the next several years to shape learning objectives and assessment activities to support continuous program improvement.
The goal is to create a simple, sustainable process that leverages existing structures and resources. Programs will receive individual support at the department level as well as broader professional development opportunities to help you with the work. This should be a process that helps reach already-existing program quality goals within a defined framework that supports flexible and differentiated approaches defined by each program.
Why Learning Objectives and Assessment?
Program-level learning objectives articulate what students are expected to learn in that program. They are short statements that provide clarity to students and faculty about what students will learn within a particular program of study. Learning outcomes then provide a framework for understanding whether, and to what level, students met these objectives.
Being clear about what the learning objectives of a program are, and then assessing how well students are achieving them, is essential for supporting equitable and inclusive student learning. Knowing the extent to which students are meeting learning objectives helps programs understand where their strengths are, and where there may be areas to target improvements. The assessment of student achievement allows faculty within an academic program to gather information about what and how students are learning and whether learning is equitable among all students. These findings help to inform program-level continuous improvement efforts to enhance the educational experience of all UConn students.
Information regarding the University of Connecticut Assessment Institute for Spring 2024 will be posted here when it becomes available. The agenda from the Spring 2023 event is available below for reference.
Year One: Developing Learning Objectives
Define program-level learning objectives (what we want students to learn)
Create a map aligning the objectives with the courses in which they are taught
Determine how we are or can measure student outcomes (what students have achieved at the end of the program)
Learning Initiatives and Program Assessment’s staff and Assessment Fellows will assist in guiding programs to identify meaningful and measurable student learning objectives that are assessed through direct and indirect means.
Year Two: Learning Outcome Reporting
Whenever programs reach the second year of the initiative , and in each subsequent year, they will submit a short report to the UConn Student Learning Assessment Committee (USLAC) that explores outcome data for at least one program-level learning objective. The report will consist of:
- Reflection on impact of changes from the previous year’s findings (the initial report will not include this reflection).
- Analysis of outcomes data from course assessments or other assessment measures for at least one learning outcome.
- A plan for addressing any changes that might be made to address findings from the outcomes data analysis. This plan should usually outline steps to be taken during the next academic year.
The UConn Student Learning Assessment Committee selected Blackboard’s assessment solution, known as Blackboard EAC, as an option for faculty to collect data pertaining to student outcomes. The software aligns course-based assessments already in Blackboard (HuskyCT) with program-level objectives to create easy and visual reports. Program-level objectives can align to a rubric, a row of a rubric, individual questions on an exam/quiz, a pool of questions, an assignment, an exam/quiz, or a grade center column.
Use of the software is not mandatory but programs and individual faculty are welcome to take advantage of this offering. Support for this software is available through the Office of Academic Program Assessment (OAPA) (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please reach out to OAPA with questions about the software, for a demonstration, or to align assessments to program-level objectives.