Research shows that higher education faculty members spend the majority of their time teaching, so it is important to know whether students are learning what is taught. Program assessment gathers and evaluates data which can be used to answer this question.
At RIC, programs are free to determine their learning outcomes and the means to assess the extent to which students achieve these outcomes. The outcomes are published in the online version of the College catalog, and faculty members are encouraged to make the outcomes explicit on their syllabi.
The assessments can take the form of embedded course assignments (which are rated outside of the class context). Alternately, the assessments can take the form of tests or surveys which are administered to students independently of classes.
Assessments are administered and rated by departments annually, and submitted to CASO at the end of each academic year. Usually, departments assess only a subset of their learning goals each year.
Occasionally, faculty attend workshops and institutes offered by New England Educational Assessment Network to learn more about how to improve their program assessments.