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).
NEASC Accreditation Standards....(Assessment of Student Learning Standards, page 12)
During the fall 2013, the ASL Plan (2013-14 form) will be distributed to the Department Chairs as a way for them to plan and document their assessment plans for the upcoming year. The ASL Plans will be reviewed, and the Assessment Committee will contact departments who may need some assistance with their assessment activities. At the end of the academic year, May 2014, departments will be asked to complete the official form about what assessment activities were completed.