USM's Assessment Committee designed and organized the Assessment of Student Learning (ASL) plan for the purpose of collecting evidence of assessment activities being conducted at the department/program level. According to the NEASC accreditation commision, higher education institutions must be accountable for addressing student outcomes; that is, gathering and interpreting evidence regarding what and how students are learning, using these interpretations to enhance teaching and learning, and to inform institutional decision-making in order to continually improve student learning experience and their outcomes. To comply with the assessment accreditation standards, the new form/survey was developed and then distributed to each Department Chair at the end of the 2012-13 academic year. All departments were asked to complete the form, the best way they could, as a way to begin collecting assessment evidence from the academic degree programs. The information collected was incorportated in the Assessment of Student Learning Report (2012-13), which was used to give an update to the NEASC-Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE).
Going forward, the Assessment Committee will be providing guidance to any academic department that needs assistance with their program assessment process. Workshops for the faculty will be scheduled during each academic year which will include information and tools to help departments create assessment plans that can be implemented and sustained on an ongong basis. The Assessment of Student Learning Plan (see copy of the ASLP form below), will be the document used (annually) to collect updates and to report progress on how the USM academic programs are assessing student learning for improvement purposes.
NEASC Accreditation Standards....(Assessment of Student Learning Standards, page 12)