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.
AY23/24 Assessment Faculty Fellow Positions Now Open
Assessment Faculty Fellows will play a central role in capacity building and direct faculty support related to learning outcomes and assessment at the University of Connecticut. The University of Connecticut is currently building infrastructure for and resources toward creating a sustainable culture of assessment, with a specific focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The University aims to develop this culture across academic programs and throughout the Common Curriculum.
For the academic year 2023-24, three fellow positions will be available: 1 for the new Common Curriculum and 2 for Academic Programs. The Common Curriculum fellow will work directly with faculty who teach within the Common Curriculum, the Common Curriculum Committee, and the Common Curriculum faculty navigators to align assessment activities with the curriculum’s learning objectives. The academic program fellows will serve as a resource to support development of meaningful and measurable program-level student learning objectives, curricular maps, and assessment plans, while promoting assessment innovation and transformation.
These fellowships provide an opportunity for interested faculty to strengthen their skills in team-management, to deepen their expertise in this area of teaching and learning, and to participate in developing a purposeful culture of assessment at an institutional level. Fellows will have support for professional development during the fellowship, with the aim of deepening the skills related to assessment and learning objective development at the University.
Application information can be found here. Applications close January 25, 2023.
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 is currently reviewing software integrated into HuskyCT that will support assessment, data collection, and analysis of program-level learning objectives. The faculty-led committee is reviewing software only with the objective of finding solutions that can support making processes easier.
Assessment software would not be mandatory but would be a tool that programs can make use of to support their specific needs. Once this software is available, staff support will also be available for training and to assist with entering necessary information.