Purpose and Core Values of Educational Assessment
Grounded in the Mercy College mission to provide motivated students with the opportunity to transform their lives through education, our mission regarding educational assessment is to guide and support faculty and staff in their efforts to improve the quality of courses, programs and the student learning experience by clarifying expectations and using reliable and valid measures of learning achievement to determine the impact of pedagogical and support strategies.
Below are the core values of our educational assessment process:
Continuous quality improvement
Faculty-driven assessment processes
Assessment as an integral part of the teaching and learning process
Scholarship of teaching and learning
Use of optimum quality, meaningful, and purposeful assessment measures and evidence that are faculty-centered
Integrating technology toward operational efficiency
Promoting transparency in assessment policies, processes, and activities.
Types of Assessment
Academic Program Self-Study
The program self-study is a reflective tool for faculty under the leadership of the Academic Unit Head in each program. Its purpose is to identify the program's strengths and weaknesses, resource distribution and needs and potential areas for improvement.
While academic programs complete an annual assessment of their key courses and program results, the formal program self-study is required every five years to facilitate profound reflection and investigation by Academic Unit Heads and their faculty. The self-study report generated by the programs includes:
- Brief overview
- Curriculum and student learning assessment
- Student demographics, enrollment, and retention
- Faculty and staff
- Facilities and equipment
- Informational and student support resources
- Program marketing
- Summary of the program's needs and prospects
- External review of program self-study
Upon completion, the self-study report is reviewed by the appropriate curriculum committee. Informed by the evidence in the self-study report, and with a particular emphasis on student learning outcomes assessment data, the committee submits a summary of its findings along with recommendations for program development and improvement to the Academic Unit Head, Dean, and Provost. The Deans use this information for planning for the school. At the start of the following school year, the curriculum committees hold a meeting at which the Deans and Academic Unit Heads discuss what advances have been made on the committees' recommendations for program development.
Program Learning Outcomes
All academic programs have learning outcomes which provide expectations for student learning and are published on the program websites.
Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs) are assessed over a five-year period. On an annual basis, programs create an assessment plan which identifies the PLOs it will assess, as well as the appropriate assessment measures and assessment methods for each. As shown in the figure below, the process requires academic programs to collect evidence of student learning at least 25% of their PLOs in each of the first four years of the cycle; with analysis, interpretation and implementation of changes occurring each year, as necessary. In the fifth year of the cycle, faculty in the academic program conduct a comprehensive self-study (rooted in a variety of performance indicators, including student learning) that guides programmatic change.